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Melanie Murphy ’97, ’00 MA

Data Driven: Alumna turns love for statistics into successful career in analytics

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Ever wonder how coupons and sales alerts from your favorite retailers seem to magically show up in your mailbox or land on your Facebook feed the moment you need them?

We have wizards, like Montclair State alumna Melanie Murphy, to thank for that.

“Figuring out who needs a coupon to shop or not – there is a lot of data that goes into answering that seemingly simple question. Analytics powers our understanding of exactly who to contact when and with what message or offer.” says Murphy, Senior Director of Customer and Business Analytics for Bed Bath & Beyond. “We are all working toward a seamless omni-channel engagement with our customers.”

Since her graduation, Murphy – has built an impressive career using all facets of analytics – business, marketing, customer, quantitative, predictive – to solve business problems both as a vendor and a client.

“I liked math. I took as many math classes as I could possibly take,” says Murphy of her time at Montclair State. “What excites me is figuring out how to use analytics to make an impact on a company’s bottom line.”

Online shopping and social media were in their infancy when Murphy got her start with a marketing analytics service provider. Her career arch coincided with the industry’s exciting technical evolution.

“Marketing used to be a one-way conversation. You would push notifications out to people through direct mail, email and telephone,” she recalls. “Marketing is now a two-way conversation. There are so many social media channels for customer interaction and feedback. Smart companies know that all of that information can be tapped make smarter business decisions.

The challenge is finding qualified analytics professionals who can make use of that data.” Murphy points to a 2012 Gartner report, which predicts “Big Data” will create 4.4 million analytics jobs globally, in the next year, only a third of which will be filled.

That’s a boon for graduates with analytical training, especially those who pursue the Feliciano School of Business’ new concentration in business analytics.

“There are just not enough people to fill analytics positions” says Murphy. She suggests students take advantage of both courses in analytics and communications while at Montclair State. “There are even fewer people who can talk math and business so that executives understand how they using and getting value out of data and statistics. Those individuals who can do all that have almost unlimited potential for career success.