By the time Emily Mensen (Management and Organizational Leadership, ’18) took the Introduction to Management Information Systems course at the College of Business in spring 2017, she had changed her major 12 times. Always a learner, Mensen was initially interested in Spanish and teaching but found her way to the business school.

Near the end of the MIS course, she learned about Tableau, a program that allowed her to convey a complex analytics message in a simple form. It mixed two things she loved: teaching and business.

Mensen was hooked.

Headshot of Emily Mensen“That intrigued me,” Mensen said. “I love being able to teach and being able to understand it and help others try to do it themselves. I was amazed at what we could take from that and provide for a company and help them make decisions.”

Mensen has leveraged that interest into a career in business analytics. She started her career as a data wrangler at John Deere. From there, she then joined Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids as a data strategy and analytics specialist. Her role is to work with top management to determine their needs and develop analytics tools to fill those needs. She also helps teach colleagues how to interpret technical terms and data.

“Being able to make more informed business decisions is critical and understanding a lot of pieces of the puzzle when the puzzle is ever-changing,” Mensen said. “That’ what interested me. This is a very clear need in business. And it was something that I could help fill. It’s job security, and it’s amazing the things I can learn and convey.”

At Collins Aerospace, Mensen is the first data analytics person on a team of about 700 people. She’s excited that she can redevelop and redefine how the company looks at analytics and uses them to make decisions.

Mensen said UNI Business was fundamental to her career. Her courses were well-rounded, and she learned people skills, communication and bridging generational gaps, which has come in handy when working with coworkers of all ages. She’s also a woman in a male-dominated profession, and she’s yet to work with a female in the same field and is often the only woman in a room full of decision-makers. 

“Once you’re out of college, [explaining something complicated in a simple way] is a very hard skill to learn and something that’s hard to change,” Mensen said. “These courses helped me transform my career and helped me have the confidence to speak up and show what I can do.”

Mensen hopes to eventually lead a team of analytics experts and serve as a liaison for management to help them understand their business problems and potential solutions from a numbers standpoint. 

“And being able to translate that and take that to my team and say, ‘This is what we can do,’” Mensen said. “I want to be that bridge that will fill the gap between the business world and the analytical world.”