Alumni Talk About Incorporating MSAI Lessons at Deloitte

Subrat Mahapatra (MSAI '19) and Albert Guo (MSAI '19) reflect on their time in Northwestern Engineering's Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) program and their work as consultants at Deloitte.

It's been more than a year since Subrat Mahapatra graduated from Northwestern Engineering's Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) program, but a phrase he routinely heard in school still echoes in his mind on a daily basis:

Look up from your keyboards. 

"It's not enough to just be technically sound," said Mahapatra (MSAI '19). "We need to look to not only build complete solutions but consider the downstream impacts of the work. We need to develop the skills to communicate with others about what we are building in a non-technical way." 

Mahapatra spent the past year-plus as an AI consultant in the healthcare industry for Deloitte, where he interned during his time in MSAI. He recently left the company to pursue work with a tech startup, but the range of roles and experiences he had at Deloitte were instrumental to his personal and professional growth.  

"When you're on a team at Deloitte, every team member really gets to play to their strengths," he said. 

Mahapatra touched as many different areas as he could while at Deloitte, from machine learning engineering to focusing on sales. He is not the only MSAI graduate who's found value at Deloitte. The company has a strong relationship with the program, which has led to a variety of professional opportunities for current students and alumni. Albert Guo (MSAI '19) joined Deloitte in February 2020, and he works as a machine learning engineer and developer, which allows him to build machine-learning and AI prototypes and scalable architecture solutions for clients.

The opportunity to work with different clients and understand how they grow and operate in different industries is what initially appealed to Guo about working at Deloitte. He also interned there as an MSAI student. 

"Deloitte deems MSAI as a good source for recruiting," Guo said, "At Deloitte, you are not limited to just a developer’s role but are deeply involved for the entire spectrum of engagement with a client." 

Guo enjoys the variety that comes with working at Deloitte. It's common to assist multiple clients in a year, and the responsibilities range from sales all the way to final deliverables.  

"Consulting is a good opportunity for young professionals to grow holistically in short periods of time," he said 

One of the most important lessons Guo learned in MSAI was the importance of reaching out proactively and driving steadfastly with a plan, two traits he brings to his daily work at Deloitte. For Mahapatra, it is the desire to find end-to-end solutions and explain their significance, a skill he honed in MSAI that gives him pride. He finds himself asking questions like how to ensure model integrity, and what are the best ways to visualize data and communicate its significance to broader audiences.

"Those are the types of things we were asked to consider as part of the MSAI program," Mahapatra said, "and this kind of thinking has consistently given me an edge during my time at Deloitte."

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