Before she came to the Haslam College of Business, Ashton Parks spent more than five years traveling the world as a model.
“I worked with major corporations such as Intel, Marc Jacobs, Cosmopolitan, and Champion in 26 countries across Asia, Europe and the Americas,” she says. “I became really interested in why these companies were targeting certain customers or choosing specific advertising campaigns.”
That’s when Parks decided to pursue analytics.
“I researched different programs and found the one here at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville,” she says. “I’m from Knoxville and hadn’t been home in a while, and it seemed like a good fit.”
In 2017, Parks earned a bachelor’s degree in business analytics with a marketing collateral from the Haslam College of Business. Today, she’s pursuing a Master of Science in Business Analytics at the college and was recently elected president of Master’s of Analytics Students of Tennessee (M.A.S.T.)
“I think if I had to describe the master’s program in one word, it would be: challenging,” she says. “Anything I learned in undergrad, it’s challenged me to learn in a different way with one tactic on my mind — pushing me to look at something and know what to expect from it instead of just guessing.”
Parks appreciates the program’s emphasis on learning to face business problems head-on, thinking through possible solutions based on the data.
“It really helps you not to just wander through the dark,” she says. “They challenge us to come confidently to a table and be able to help solve a problem.”
Along the way, Parks enjoys the camaraderie of her classmates.
“There are 45 of us, and we’ve become a family,” she says. “We spend time together outside of class, and often study together. It’s really fun and helpful to have that built-in community.”
Parks hopes to pursue a career in analytics at an international company with an interactive culture.
“I’d love to find a company where everybody is pushing each other to help more, work more and be more. I want to be part of a community that’s working toward a common goal.”