Adobe Analytics Challenge: 14 past competitors share how it impacted their careers

Photos of all 14 past competitors.

By Nate Smith

Posted on 07-22-2021

It is a big day for us at Adobe, as we announce the new Adobe Analytics curriculum for education offering. Available worldwide, colleges and universities can now access Adobe Analytics for free — including course curriculum and hands-on activities. As part of Adobe’s commitment to digital literacy, the goal is for instructors to provide students with in-demand skills that help them stay competitive in a digital economy.

In many ways, the program has been in beta for 15 years — we called it the Adobe Analytics Challenge. Since 2005, students got access to real data from brands such as Nike, Major League Baseball and Sony PlayStation. They learned and used Adobe Analytics curriculum to gather insights, which were then leveraged to address a real business challenge.

With Adobe Analytics curriculum for education, we are taking the same fundamentals in the Challenge and making them available globally. After a 15-year track record of success, we know the program can work on a larger scale. For years, professors had asked us for a way to bring the Adobe Analytics Challenge into their classrooms. They observed how students lauded the experience, and how it exposed them to concepts and skills that jumpstarted careers in data science, product marketing, consulting, and more.

We checked in with 14 of past challenge participants recently, and their stories are below.

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Ashish is a senior analyst for The Home Depot, working with tools including Adobe Analytics to provide insights on digital marketing campaigns. The data helps senior leaders and teams across the organization make key decisions around resourcing, channel investment, creative content, and more. “The Adobe Analytics Challenge opened a lot of doors for me, and it came up in virtually every job interview I had after I graduated,” shared Ashish. “I was able to get hired and hit the ground running at my current job, since The Home Depot is a longtime user of Adobe Analytics. And while my job works directly with data, the ability to tell stories through numbers is an important skill set for many types of careers today.”

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As a former college basketball assistant coach and analytics director, Christien has effectively used data to give teams an edge on the court. In his new role with the Milwaukee Bucks, the 2021 NBA champions, he is part of a team that produces data insights that help coaches refine strategies, optimize player positions and build the best rosters. “Data impacts every function these days, and my ability to tell stories via numbers set me apart in the sports field,” says Christien. “Adobe Analytics was a great introduction to how data is collected and synthesized in the real world, giving me exposure to data-driven storytelling and making me a better candidate in the job market. I was exposed to concepts like funnel charts and customer churn, while using a comprehensive analytics platform that is widely used in the industry”

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As a senior vendor manager for Amazon, Cassie manages the relationship with large retail sellers on the platform. Data plays a big role in her job, as her team monitors sales and revenue figures, profitability metrics and other trend lines. A story needs to be told through the numbers, to inform a bigger strategy and growth plans. “In a corporate environment, if you are going to make a case for something, you need good data to support it,” shared Cassie. “The Adobe Analytics Challenge was one of my first opportunities to practice in a real-world environment. It allowed me to look at data from a holistic perspective, drilling into what customers want and validating my theories with hard figures.”

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As a senior consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, Scott works with business leaders to optimize the way they operate and evolve the products and services they provide. It includes consulting on everything from pricing to digital transformation initiatives. “The Adobe Analytics Challenge showed me that there is an art to telling stories through data,” shared Scott. “It also revealed to me the gaps in my education and began to nurture skill sets that I use in my consulting work today, where big ideas need to be backed by insightful numbers. For a surprising number of roles in organizations today, digital literacy and a foundational level of data proficiency have become table stakes to get hired and excel.”

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Naman is an eCommerce acquisition and retention strategist at Adobe, where he works on products including Premiere Pro and After Effects. He is responsible for helping grow the business by looking for new and improved ways to drive customer acquisition and retention. “A key part of my job is focused on selling a story to senior leaders and driving tangible change in how Adobe interacts with its Creative Cloud customers,” shares Naman. “Participating in the Adobe Analytics Challenge taught me how to focus on what matters and seek out data points that can actually help drive a business forward. This became an invaluable skill in my current role, where I constantly have to find the right inputs to deliver the best go-to-market strategy for our video offerings.”

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As a business intelligence engineer for Amazon, Vardhini is tasked with finding insights that can improve the shopping experience for consumers. Internally, her stakeholders include product managers and senior leadership, all of whom leverage the data to improve areas like the product catalogue. “The Adobe Analytics Challenge was a real confidence booster for me, and it is one of the few hands-on opportunities in college where you get access to widely-used tools, real data, and a judging panel of industry experts,” shared Vardhini. “It was an early education in how to move from data to insights, while synthesizing huge amounts of data. I also learned how to present findings in a way that is emphatic of stakeholder needs, one of many skills I use now regularly.”

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As a design strategist at Adobe, Chandler and his team operate like internal consultants. They work across all three of Adobe’s core businesses (Creative Cloud, Document Cloud, Experience Cloud) and look to solve unique problems that set the company up for long-term success. This could include integrations between products, new workflows, data infrastructure, and more. “In the Adobe Analytics Challenge, our team worked with T-Mobile to examine the checkout experience and deliver ideas on how to improve it,” shared Chandler. “When I interviewed at Adobe for an internship, the team was impressed enough by the T-Mobile project that they asked me to work on a similar project for Adobe.com. This eventually led to a full-time job, and it successfully pivoted my career away from Human Resources. My experience in the Adobe Analytics Challenge played a big role in that.”

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As a data scientist for Sumo Logic, Paridhi supports the go-to-market team. She is responsible for generating insights that can solve complex business problems across functions including marketing, sales and customer success. “The Adobe Analytics Challenge has great credibility in the market, and it became a valuable talking point for me when I interviewed for a job,” said Paridhi. “Digital literacy these days has almost become a new subject like mathematics. Employers expect that new hires have a general understanding of how business problems can be solved through data and move decision-making away from pure intuition only.”

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At Dell Technologies, Erica is a senior advisor (demand planning). As a member of the server planning organization, she produces long-term forecasts for key commodities used in the production process. “My role involves a great deal of ambiguity, where I have to weave together disparate data sets and sources to identify trends that can accurately inform a forecast,” shares Erica. “The Adobe Analytics Challenge was a similar experience, where you had to weave together multiple data sets to identify a solution to a real business challenge. Adobe Analytics is an intuitive analysis tool that could bring numbers to life. And in a world that has become increasingly digital, knowing how to decipher data to drive good decision-making has become invaluable for any career track.”

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James is a senior product manager for Amazon Web Services, working specifically with the machine learning (ML) organization. He is responsible for helping external audiences, from data scientists to developers, understand how ML can be leveraged to support their organizations and solve problems. “A big part of my career now is focused on developing customer empathy, and that was something I gained exposure to during the Adobe Analytics Challenge,” shared James. “During the competition, we worked with T-Mobile to really grasp where blockers were in the customer journey, as well as the data nuggets that would support our hypothesis. It helped me gain confidence in this skill set and had an impact on how I approach my work today.”

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Stephen has been in product management at Vivint for over 2 years, where he works on the company’s award-winning Smart Hub security device. In his role, Stephen works with cross-functional teams to get new products built and delivered to market — Central to his work is synthesizing usage data and ensuring that new offerings address real customer needs. “Technology is making its way into every industry, including some of the world’s oldest brands, and it is making data literacy more important than ever,” shares Stephen. “Employers are putting greater emphasis on these skills, and the Adobe Analytics Challenge was unique in that it gave us access to real data with a real business challenge. It was an experience I couldn’t get in the classroom or at smaller companies.”

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Yehudi is in the product management organization at HubSpot, a marketing automation platform. By leveraging both qualitative and quantitative feedback, his team works to build software features that help customers solve the most pressing business challenges. “In the technology sector, data literacy helps you communicate on a different and more objective level,” shares Yehudi. “It is huge asset that can be used to advocate for your individual talents, and it puts you on the fast track for whatever career you might be in. Having been exposed to Adobe Analytics during graduate school gave me an upper hand in many ways, providing me hands-on experience with tools and concepts that are used in many organizations.”

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Tianyi is a data scientist at Facebook, where she produces insights that informs strategy around product changes — with new features that often impact millions of users. “For people who are just about to enter their careers, I always tell them how important it is to have something on their resume that shows real-world impact,” shared Tianyi. “The Adobe Analytics Challenge is able to provide this for many students, because it gives access to real data from a well-known brand, with a hands-on environment that goes beyond the theoretical.”

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Vignesh is a product marketing advisor for Dell Technologies, and he works on the company’s desktop workstation PCs. His role is one-half sales enablement (events, brochures, case studies) and another product management (aligning insights on customer needs with product development). “When it comes to digital literacy, the train has already left the station, and employers expect a baseline level of knowledge for all new hires,” shared Vignesh. “One of my biggest learnings during the Adobe Analytics Challenge was how to make data actionable and useful. When I began my career, it helped me frame the types of questions I would ask of my analyst partners and get to the heart of what was needed to move the needle.”

Lastly, I wanted to share my own experience as well. In 2009 when I was getting my MBA at Brigham Young University, I competed in the Challenge with Overstock.com as the brand partner. It was still early days for eCommerce, and we were tasked with helping the online merchant engage a new generation of shoppers. Our team walked away with the top prize and a newfound appreciation for data. At the time, I knew it would be a resume booster that would get my career on the right track. What I could not have predicted, was that I would one day run the program and give other students the same opportunities.

Topics: Insights & Inspiration, Education, Experience Cloud, Digital Literacy

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