While the Data Analytics major itself may be new, Denison graduates prior to its existence carved their own paths in the data science world. Geoff Moore, a former Economics and Psychology double major (and retired Bullsheet deliverer!), is a perfect example. He currently works as the Chief Intelligence Officer at Valmark Financial Group, but his path to get there is arguably the most valuable thing an early professional could take away from his background.
While attending Denison, Geoff developed his technical skills by planning out department websites with respective department heads and then designing/building those sites. During one summer in college, he worked in investment management and started learning about the wide variety of possible landing spots to start his career. Through his Economics coursework, Geoff found a passion for business, and after graduating, he started in the classic accounting position for a recent Economics major.
Quickly, Geoff pivoted to doing more organizational impact-oriented work, finding it more interesting. However, he didn’t lose his technical skills – in fact, he continued to learn independently throughout his career. After his shift more into the business side of operations, he learned to code and fixed his company’s billing system, saving them significant sums of money and ensuring future billing reliability. In his current work as CIO, Geoff focuses on improving organizational efficiency, developing strong cyber security, and expanding Valmark Financial Group by adding more independent financial advisors as members.
For those who want to get into the same general field as Geoff, he has a few pieces of advice. First, know your organization’s data and know the industry you’re operating in. There’s no substitute for a lack of knowledge, and that includes the technical skills necessary to succeed. But while you should be comfortable with the tools you have to use, don’t get too wrapped up in the tech – you still need to be able to make connections to the bigger picture, which is something he noted a liberal arts education background is particularly helpful for.
In fact, he’s seen a lot of the benefits that a liberal arts education provides. Geoff pointed out that while a liberal arts graduate may feel slightly behind in terms of technology immediately after graduating, the long-term benefits are very real. He’s seen liberal arts graduates have an easier time pivoting roles down the road professionally, and are eligible for a wider range of tasks, making it easier to build connections and become valuable to an organization. Liberal arts students are also better at acquiring new skills professionally, so there’s never a hard limit to what you can do next.
If you’d like to chat with Geoff about his career progression, what he does now, or get advice for an early professional with an Economics degree, you can contact him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/geoffreyfmoore/. He’s a big fan of Denison (having held his wedding at Swasey!) and is happy to share his knowledge.