Soaring Beyond: Huda Nahas

MEET HUDA! Huda graduated with an MBA with a concentration in Business Analytics this May. She is currently working as a Supply Chain Analyst with Frito-Lay.

Tell us a bit more about you. I am a first-generation American and I came to UNT because it was close to home. I’m from Lewisville, Texas and I chose to do integrative studies because I actually originally wanted to be a pharmacy student and then I realized that business was more of my passion, so I came back to do my MBA in business analytics.

When you started at UNT, what were your plans after graduation? How have these plans changed (if at all)? When I first started at UNT, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with my degree. I wasn’t really sure about the different career paths I could take with it, but through internship experience and going through my courses, I finally realized what I like about data analytics and particularly data visualization. So, I hope to do that when I get out in the real world.

What advice do you have for prospective or current students as they decide what they want their next steps to be (internships/careers/etc.)? The best advice I would give students is to do at least one internship, if not several. I think internships are one of the most exclusive opportunities that students get that you’re not able to get once you’re out in the real world. So, at least doing one internship so that you can get an idea of what real-world, hands-on experience is going to be like. That way you can gear your interests and see what you like and don’t like in the real world.

How did you find your current role (website, email, word of mouth, etc)? So, I found my internship through my program, which is the Professional Leadership Program. It’s an organization designed to help students with mentoring, professional development skills, and soft skills development. It gives them a unique opportunity to be paired up with a mentor and also get exclusive invites to networking events within the PLP Professional Leadership Program Community. So, I actually found my internship through them. One of my mentors hooked me up with the Frito-Lay director and I was able to go there, tour the facility, and talk to some of the people who worked there. And eventually, I got an interview and my internship.

How did your program at UNT help you to feel prepared for this role? The MS business analytics program here at UNT helped equip us with necessary skills in order to be competitive in the current job market. We learned things across from SAS and data mining skills to also data visualization tools like Tableau and they’re current high-demand skills that are going to help us with preparing us for different roles and different types of fields for analytics.

What was the toughest interview question they asked you? I think the toughest interview question they asked me wasn’t actually really a question. They asked me to demonstrate how I would use a tool. So, I had to visualize the computer screen and where I would click and stuff to actually demonstrate data mining techniques on SAS Enterprise Miner.

How important is it to have a strong network of professional connections? When you first graduate college, I think it’s important to have a strong professional network. Going through the professional leadership program gave me those opportunities to meet with people who are industry professionals who are already out in the real world to give you kind of the expertise and wisdom that you don’t have whenever you first graduate. So, I think it’s important not only to build on your career but also to gain an understanding of where you will be whenever you first get out. So, fortunately for me, my internship experience actually got me a full-time job at Frito-Lay. Did this by just paying a lot of attention to detail, being attentive, I came out with a good presentation and they liked the work I did. Following up with the internship, I did a little bit of freelance work with them, a couple of different projects, and eventually, they brought me back to interview there for my full-time job.

What is one unexpected benefit of your internship experiences? (in other words, some skill/perspective you gained/improved that you did not expect? So, an unexpected benefit that I got from my internship was actually communication. I already thought I was good at communication, but actually going through my internship and working with different people of different backgrounds and different skill levels, I was with engineers but also analytics people and business people. I was just trying to speak in a way that everyone in the room would understand. There was a lot of times where we would work on cross-functional teams and to be able to clearly communicate a message in a way that everybody in that room would understand was probably a benefit that I learned from the internship.

How did the Career Center help you? The Career Center helped me prepare for my internship. I went in and they helped me review my resume. I thought I had a really good resume and then I went in there and I realized I did not. So, it was good to have a different perspective of somebody come in and look at my resume and understand the skills, in layman’s terms I would say. I had a lot of pharmacy background and I was trying to translate that into the business world and they were able to help bridge that gap for me. They also help with mock interviews, so I went in there and I just wanted to go through a couple of normal interview questions and they were able to give me some good feedback on that as well.

Want to hear more of Huda’s story? Check out her testimonial!

You can see more testimonials like Huda’s here.

Would you like to be featured in our Soaring Beyond Success Series? Email Jeanette Hickl. We’d love to share your story!

By Jeanette Hickl
Jeanette Hickl Jeanette Hickl