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Business Intelligence Careers

How Chris Started a Business Intelligence Career

5 min readView all articles
By Aaron Parry
Mar 16, 2021

Maven students are the best. Period.

And honestly it would be a shame to keep their journeys, paths, and stories all to ourselves.

I’m really excited for this Maven Student Spotlight where I get to share Chris Mengel's story.

In this post, you’ll meet Chris and learn all about his “why”, his goals and objectives, his experience with Maven, and much, much more.

Check out this quick video talking about his journey, and stick around for the Q&A questions below. There are a lot of great takeaways.

Before we dig into the Q&A, I'd like to share a few reasons why we think Chris is such a standout student.

First up, he's genuine, caring, professional, eager to learn, and happy to share what he knows with others - all hallmarks of a Maven.

Second, Chris looks beyond the numbers and really makes sure he understands business context and challenges. Doing this allows him to make data-driven recommendations that move a business forward.

And third, (spoiler alert) Chris successfully pivoted his career from IT Project Manager to Business Intelligence Developer.

Honestly, there’s so much we could say about Chris but figured we’d let him do the talking. I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with Chris and would like to share our conversation - here’s how it went!

Aaron: How did you first hear about Maven Analytics, and why did you decide to subscribe?

Chris: Just over a year ago, I took a class "Excel Analytics Tips" by Chris Dutton. I am an excel nerd and I was early into my exploration of Data Analytics as a potential career. I was blown away by Chris' mastery of the content, the polished and professional slides and his passion for the subject matter. I could relate to this guy! I looked him up on LinkedIn and that's how I discovered Maven Analytics. Once I saw there was such an expansive library of Excel and Power BI courses, I was IN!

Aaron: What is your "why"? Saying that a bit differently, what was your primary objective or goal as a Maven student?

Chris: My initial goal was to deepen my reasonably good Excel skills. Then I discovered Power BI and could NOT get enough training and practice with this tool! After taking MySQL and Advanced MySQL courses I decided to pivot my career into Data Analytics and Business Intelligence. My goals now focus on building the most efficient data models I can and mastering DAX.

Aaron: How would you describe your past work experience and your current career aspirations? Where would you like to be in the next 5-10 years?

Chris: I performed basic data analysis in my former role as an IT Program Manager - program budgets, capacity management, etc. I'm now 90+ days into my first professional stint as BI Developer and I absolutely love it! I'm applying my SQL skills with our Snowflake data warehouse. I'm also expanding my Power BI skills and experience for data modeling to writing efficient and accurate measures. I'm also gaining experience with Power BI Service to manage our datasets and report consumers. The future is hard to predict because everything is so new. I'm primarily focused on becoming the best BI Developer I can be. I know new opportunities will present themselves along the way.

Aaron: How would you describe your experience on the Maven platform so far?

Chris: The Maven Platform is world class! There's a lot of flexibility to manage the content however you want. The paths are helpful and provide a great starting point. I also like that you can take whatever you want. For example, I veered off one of the Power BI paths to take an Excel Macro course so that I can beef up my automation skills. I really like how the platform keeps track of your progress so that it's super easy to pick up where you left off. Let's face it, completing training like this is going to be asynchronous, so that fact that it's so easy to come and go, lowers the barriers to actually completing the courses.

Aaron: Do you have favorite courses? What makes them your favorite?

Chris: My favorite course, so far, was the Advanced MySQL class with John Pauler. That class absolutely kicked my butt and fried my brain on so many occasions, but it was SO Much FUN! John is a true data geek and his passion for being a well-rounded and business savvy analyst is wonderful. He's not just a nerd about data (although he is), he really pushed me to understand the business context and think like the business and not just a developer. I really like and agree with that philosophy whole-heartedly.

Aaron: In your opinion, what sets Maven apart from other online learning platforms?

Chris: For me, what sets Maven apart is the rare combination of the platform, content, and instructors. As stated previously, the platform is super easy to use and really facilitates learning. The content is very polished and professional (I still refer to the slides from time to time!). Finally, the instructors all have super deep technical skills and also love to teach and share what they know. All the folks at Maven LOVE their students and consistently go above and beyond to help me learn, grow, and achieve whatever my goal happens to be. Can't say enough good things about Maven! Thank you!!!

Aaron: How have you been able to apply what you've learned at Maven in the real world?

Chris: I only apply what I've learned every single day on the job. Outside of that, not very much.

Aaron: Have you been able to accomplish your primary goal?

Chris: My initial primary goal was to pivot my career and Maven played a central role in making that happen. Now my goal is to become the best BI Developer I can be and make quantifiable improvements for my new employer. I'm well on my way, and my new friends at Maven have been right there to help me whenever I have questions. It's not often that your online instructor becomes someone you'd like to have a beer with, but I will gladly buy the first round the next time I find myself in Beantown!

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Aaron Parry

Aaron is a professional analytics consultant and Microsoft Power BI expert, with 10+ years working in business intelligence and marketing analytics. He is an instructor, coach and mentor for aspiring analysts, and has deep experience helping companies develop and implement full-stack BI solutions.

Aaron is a professional analytics consultant and Microsoft Power BI expert, with 10+ years working in business intelligence and marketing analytics. He is an instructor, coach and mentor for aspiring analysts, and has deep experience helping companies develop and implement full-stack BI solutions.

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