Help me find ways to grow professionally.
September 19, 2012 8:11 AM   Subscribe

I'm a general purpose Analyst at my job. I work in the marketing department, and do the bulk of my analysis on client development initiatives, but also am the sole source of analytical support on the operations of the department, like budgeting, managing people, business planning, etc. What would be some good opportunities for professional development?

My goal, which has become much clearer over the last few months, is to work toward an Operations position -- the idea of being a COO one day definitely appeals to me (the operations side interests me much more than the strict client development side). That being said, I see the value in being well-versed about our clients while having a strong operational foundation.

I'm 28, and pretty much an island in a very large corporation, so I have a lot of leeway and have risen up the ranks relatively quickly (mostly making up new titles and responsibilities as I go along). It's now time to really turn it on, and I'm looking for conferences, networking events, online resources, etc. that I can point to as ways to, well, develop professionally.

For what it's worth, I'm in the legal industry, but would be very open to any events and conferences that lack an industry focus, as I believe the operations and general data analysis skills cut across industries quite well.
posted by undercoverhuwaaah to Work & Money (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What's your educational background?
posted by downing street memo at 9:00 AM on September 19, 2012

Educational background is undergrad business school, concentrating in management and marketing (but with all the pre-req's, so I've got a pretty solid foundation across functional areas), well known school. Analysis skills have mostly come from a desire to provide a better product, so I've done some reading around the internets on methods and such and basically taught myself on the job. Had a brief stint in a finance job, which helped a lot with analysis. I'm in NYC, as an FYI.
posted by undercoverhuwaaah at 9:24 AM on September 19, 2012

Maybe peruse the courses at Coursera. I don't know exactly what types of data analysis skills you're looking for, but there may be something there.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 9:33 AM on September 19, 2012

Project Management would be a great toolset to add to what you have already.
posted by batmonkey at 9:43 AM on September 19, 2012

I recommend you find a mentor. From your question, it is really tough to figure out what to recommend. "Operations" may have a very specific meaning in your organization, but I'm not sure it translates that way generally. In the organizations I have worked for, marketing/development reports to the COO (along with a whole host of other things).

A mentor in your field or (perhaps even better) your organization will have a better sense of what you mean and what you need to do to get where you want to go. If your corporation has a mentoring program, try to take advantage of it. If not, identify a more senior person who might be willing to mentor you. Ideally this would be someone who has seen and appreciated your work and is well-respected. Ask to have a meeting with them - something along the lines of, "I'd like to continue to grow here at XYZ company, and I'd like your advice on how to do that. May I meet with you to discuss my goals and get your feedback?" If the meeting goes well, you can schedule regular meetings/coffees/lunches to continue to get feedback on what you are doing.

That person can recommend conferences and such, and also assignments within your company that will help you grow beyond data analysis.
posted by jeoc at 2:30 PM on September 19, 2012

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