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Derek Ren (IMC18)

Data Scientist at Oracle Data Cloud
Headshot of Derek Ren.

When Derek Ren (IMC18) was pursuing his economics degree as an undergraduate student, he was fascinated by research on consumer behavior and decision making. During college he pursued internships at Lenovo, Unilever and Kantar Media, which allowed him to further his knowledge of data-driven marketing.

After college, Ren enrolled in the Northwestern Medill Integrated Marketing Communications master's program program with the goal of adding even more marketing knowledge to his repertoire. He says, "My time at Medill was amazing and helped me to explore my passion." A couple of months after graduation, Ren began work as a data scientist at Oracle Data Cloud, where he uses data to help advertisers better understand, target and measure their advertising strategy.

What are your main responsibilities at Oracle Data Cloud?

I currently work on the audience modeling team. My goal is to utilize data and research to better machine-learning methodologies and build robust pipeline platforms. This work helps our clients better find, target and activate campaigns for their high-likelihood buyers. It's fun and challenging to apply the theories I learned in the classroom to the real world.

How do you apply the IMC way of thinking that uses both art and science in your job?

We often get tons of first-party or third-party data and are asked to determine its value as fast as possible so that we can move on to research and development. Data is usually messy and can be evaluated thousands of ways. Principles I learned in the IMC program help me create a guideline and dissect the data. I'm able to use the most effective approach to figure out the pattern and story behind it.

What did you do during your Immersion Quarter?

My team was assigned to help Optum - UnitedHealth Group better organize and understand their customer satisfaction data. It was my first time working with a B2B company. We developed a platform prototype for them, which involved a lot of user interface and backend product design. During my job search, my Immersion Quarter experience was really helpful because tech companies are looking for candidates with a product background in addition to traditional marketing skills.

How has your Medill network and Medill Career Services helped you in your career?

I learned about the data scientist position I currently have from an information session organized by Medill Career Services. When I spoke to Oracle Data Cloud at the info session, I realized that the positions they were hiring for would be a great opportunity after graduation. During my last quarter, I reached out to alumni who worked there and they were really helpful and provided me with useful advice while I was in the process of applying and interviewing.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I feel grateful that during the IMC program, I learned a lot from so many brilliant and interesting minds. They really helped me see things from a different angle. The IMC program was a life-changing experience.