Dr. Katie McCarthy didn’t expect to join the Carroll University School of Business—but it’s difficult to turn down your dream job.
McCarthy, now a Carroll assistant professor of applied business analytics, had been with Milwaukee School of Engineering for 13 years when she offered to help a student with her job hunt. “I was looking for analytics jobs for her, and this description from Carroll came up, and it was my dream job. I thought, ‘What do I have to lose? I’ll give it a try.’ In three or four weeks, I was giving notice to MSOE. It was meant to be,” she said.
“Initially it was the focus on healthcare and analytics that attracted me. Then I met the people, saw how much they cared about their students, how motivated they were to give them a great start in their career, and I just fell in love.”
McCarthy has had a long career in healthcare
, including the Blood Center of Wisconsin (Versiti), where she worked on software that managed molecular and genetics processing and reporting protocols to track outcomes for bone marrow transplants and the progression of genetic diseases.
At Froedtert Health, she worked on a variety of projects involving Epic electronic health records. And, during her Ph.D. work, she was involved in research with the Clinical and Translational Science Institute to analyze data that could help identify patients who could be helped through clinical research and trials.
For McCarthy, healthcare is her passion and she says students need to discover what they love as well. “Their career depends on their passion. They could be data analysts, go into healthcare administration, reporting analytics, be a financial analyst or analytics analyst. That’s the beautiful part of the field; there aren’t any standard titles,” she said.
The need to evaluate data is growing exponentially across all careers. “The idea is that data is everywhere and, whatever field you choose, you need to have data skills and understand how to support your decisions with data,” McCarthy said.
“It’s a wonderful approach we’re taking by focusing on analytics-enabled professionals—in healthcare, economics, business, whatever. At Carroll, we’ve decided, ‘Let’s embed those analytics skills in your field of study so you can go out and be an amazing professional who has a variety of skills.’”
And data analytics skills
can make or break future careers.
“It’s so critical because the jobs students take in the next three to five years may not exist today,” McCarthy said. “We want to make the skill set broad and deep in certain areas so they can be prepared for those jobs.”
With an eye to preparing the workers of tomorrow, McCarthy said the School of Business plans to offer an analytics minor in which any student could enroll. It also is working with the Analytics Business Intelligence Consortium
(ABIC) to create industry partnerships to provide internships and other experiential learning.
In addition to teaching, McCarthy is a consulting faculty member for ABIC. She can consult with an industry partner on a project or can be the faculty adviser for students working on a business project.
The School of Business is currently partnering with the Elmbrook school district to launch an analytics pathway that would prepare high school students in areas such as healthcare, manufacturing and global business. There’s the potential for an industry partner to possibly have students work on one of their projects. Another piece of the program could allow Carroll students to mentor their younger counterparts, thereby earning experience as a coach or manager.
“That experience is important for college students who want to become managers or leaders. Those soft skills are so critical,” McCarthy said.