In the summer of 2020, HBS Career & Professional Development (CPD) partnered with Flatiron School to provide students with an opportunity to gain practical skills, statistics fundamentals, and real-life data science project experience. This full-time, intensive eight-week remote learning program was designed for students with basic technical background, and culminated with a two-week, capstone project for which students worked directly with clients on a real-world, high-impact issue. We connected with some of the boot camp participants to hear more about their summer experience.

First row, from left: Adebodun Aina, Kyle Betts, Thomas Crispi, Lingxi Juang, Jay Kim
Second row, from left: Joshua Rodriguez, Paige Tsai, Rocio Wu, Yuki Yaguchi, Cathy Xu


Paige Tsai (MBA 2020): Flatiron did a great job sourcing projects that were very aligned with our goals and research interests. A classmate and I partnered with Young Invincibles, a non-profit research and advocacy group, to better understand the drivers of voter turnout among young adults. Using census demographic data and surveys about voter behavior, we helped Young Invincibles focus their voter engagement strategy by developing a granular data-driven understanding of youth voter turnout. I loved putting my new skills to work for such a worthwhile cause!

Joshua Rodriguez (MBA 2020): For our first project, we were given the hypothetical task to pitch a go-to-market strategy for a new movie studio to a major technology company. We analyzed publicly available movie data using our newly learned Python and SQL skills. Our second project was the capstone project, and I worked with Birchbox (an HBS founded company!) on analyzing their customer churn.

Jay Kim (MBA 2020): I was paired with a beverage start-up based in Miami and helped the company make the pivot from B2B sales to DTC sales in the face of COVID disruptions by analyzing its marketing and the sales data.

NOTE: Full list of client partners included Calendly, Branch Furniture, Coconut Cartel, Halen Brands, OWYN, Birchbox, Young Invincibles, Color Camp, Women 2.0 and Casper.


Rocio Wu (MBA 2020): Learning python and machine learning had always been on my list, but I could never find the time to do it in the past. This summer was the perfect timing as I was waiting for my OPT work authorization to come through before being able to work again.

Joshua Rodriguez: My goals for the summer were three-fold: (1) demystify what is data science (2) get comfortable using Python and SQL for data analysis and (3) meet other HBSers interested in data science.

Yuki Yaguchi (MBA 2021): My goal over the summer was to learn practical data science skills to a level that I can apply such knowledge when I have a management role in the future. I wanted to have not just a conceptual understanding of machine learning, but also a practical understanding, as my career goal is to become a person who understands both sides of management and technology so that I can bridge the deep gap between them.

Jay Kim: As I continued my job search through the pandemic, my primary goal this summer was to keep exploring ways to make the triple career change, in terms of geography, industry, and function. This data science program was an amazing opportunity to gain solid fundamental understanding of data science and machine learning, which I hadn’t had the chance to learn and practice before.


Yuki Yaguchi: The goal of client projects in the last two weeks was to provide visualization of data, machine learning models for prediction, and most importantly, insights that could influence the company’s strategy. To this end, the knowledge that I learned at HBS was definitely helpful, but the most important skillset I used was empathy; putting myself in the shoes of management of the company and proposing something valuable to them when guiding the company.

Joshua Rodriguez: The Flatiron Boot Camp complemented my HBS learning experience well. At HBS, we’re taught to think strategically about problems. Whether it’s by the case method, immersive projects, or conversations with classmates, we’re often thinking about strategy. The boot camp gave me skills to analyze big sets of data, and I felt empowered by the ability to analyze large amounts of data (that would be difficult with Excel) and develop recommendations as we would in an HBS classroom.


Paige Tsai: At a high level, I learned both the theory of data science and how to apply specific data science tools to large datasets to develop actionable insights.

Lingxi Huang: The experience helped me in 3 big areas:

  1. Technical knowledge: I now have all the Python and Git knowledge to get started and create projects independently.
  2. Appreciation of data science: The relevance of data science and power of models are transforming businesses, and the projects helped me to appreciate exactly how much potential impact data science can have.
  3. Working with data scientist and engineers: I can now speak the language of data!


Adebodun Aina (MBA 2020): I enjoyed the practicality of the program. As someone who deeply appreciates getting his hands dirty and not being bogged down in theory, I enjoyed being able to interface with an existing business and see the impact of my recommendations then further iterate in real-time.

Jay Kim: Being able to apply the newly learned data science skills such as coding in python, using Jupyter notebooks, and applying unsupervised machine learning technics, all of which I did not know prior to this program, to help solve a real-world problem was a lot of fun and rewarding at the same time.

Cathy Xu: I was able to see the application of statistics testing and how regressions help shape decisions in real life, and to interpret results from running codes into insights useful for decision makers in business.


Joshua Rodriguez: It gave me more confidence to pursue roles that are data-oriented, whether it’s in Product Management or Operations. Complementing my MBA skillset by being comfortable with data is a great toolkit to bring to future employers.

Rocio Wu: I was inspired to explore how VCs can use a data-driven approach to improve the operational inefficiencies in three parts of the VC investment process – 1) Originate new investment opportunities, 2) Perform due diligence, and 3) Provide portfolio support.

Thomas Crispi (MBA 2021): While my summer experience hasn’t necessarily impacted the industries in which I’m interested in pursuing a career, it has drastically impacted the type of role I’m interested in. With the skillset that I gained this summer, I have much more confidence and interest in one day assuming a managerial position where I can direct teams and individuals that are leveraging data and using machine learning to help set strategy/ make investment decisions.


Kyle Betts: During the capstone client projects, when we started to apply our newly developed hard skills, I think what made our projects stand out was our unique MBA skillset. Leaning on our business skills, our presentations were not just technically correct and factual, but truly useful to the client partners.

Rocio Wu: I collaborated with Yuki Yaguchi (MBA 2021) on the client project the last two weeks of the program. The 12 hour time difference between us was challenging at first, but I experienced firsthand that globally distributed teams work best where goals are clearly defined and tasks are well assigned, with huge advantages in terms of talent acquisition/retention and cost efficiency.

Paige Tsai: I discovered first-hand that it’s never too late to develop new skills or learn a new (programming) language. I am beyond grateful to HBS for providing the opportunity and resources for me to learn data science in a comprehensive and rigorous way through Flatiron School.