Sergey Trufanov 22′ shares his PSU story and aspirations for the future

Quick Facts

  1. Program Name: Applied Data Science for Business (MSADSB)
  2. Year of Graduation: 2022
  3. Program Schedule: Full Time

Please briefly describe your career path and what led you to choose The School of Business. 

My career path began by being involved in a business that my friend started. It was a hobby between the two of us that became surprisingly successful during my undergrad years of going for my bachelor’s in Business Marketing at PSU. I was even able to incorporate my entrepreneurial experience by doing marketing projects on my friend’s existing business and getting live feedback on it from instructors. It was an amazing hands-on and real-world experience that I got to explore and practice marketing analytics and recommendations on an existing business that I am so closely connected to. During this time one of the instructors at PSU recommended a newer graduate program to me in order to help me further explore the analytical skills that I was interested in. That was my first time being introduced to the Applied Data Science for Business (MSADSB) program. It caught my attention with how it was fully remote with a completion time of one year if taken full time. It was also in my area of interest of working with data, learning about evolving technologies, and concepts of digital transformation in the business environment. Therefore, I chose to apply and grow my knowledge through the MSADSB program at PSU’s School of Business.

What do you intend to do with your graduate business degree? 

Out of my graduate business degree, I hope to become a positive asset anywhere I go. My intent is to provide valuable insight and be in a position where my opinions and recommendations are beneficial to those seeking them. I believe that my personal experience on top of the skills learned from my years at PSU make me qualified for professional data-driven recommendations for business applications.

I plan to seek immediate employment to get some hands-on experience applying the skills from the graduate business degree. However, the long-term goal would be to eventually take the entrepreneurship route again and start my own business that revolves around data analytics and marketing. 

What skills gained at PSU have you found most valuable and why?

While taking the MSADSB program, the skills I found were most valuable was the ability to explore the fundamentals of data analysis tools. This includes SQL, R, Tableau, and more. This went hand-in-hand with understanding the applications of each tool/software and how each could be used to accomplish the same tasks in various ways. It opened the door to explore big data that standard software like Excel cannot accomplish. Topics such as visualization through each of the platforms on top of data manipulation to find readable and useful information was a ton of fun for me. Being able to take what may seem insignificant, explore it to find useful information, then be able to present those findings to anybody in a comprehensible form is a big takeaway from the program that I value significantly.

I also value the valuable lessons of communication and teamwork. Through the cohort style of learning, I was able to improve my communication with my colleagues and peers. Routine and inclusive team environments emphasized the importance of collaborative work where learning is often most captivating from those around you focusing on the same task at hand. It was a pleasant experience to know those around you are also on a similar educational journey and the diverse ideas brought something special and new to each course.

How do you spend your free time? 

In my free time, which became a rare occurrence during the program, I would love to participate in all things basketball. Whether it was playing in a league, watching the NBA, or participating in fantasy, it has always been a big part of my life. A cool moment in a course was when the instructor provided leadership style examples of outstanding inclusive leadership. One of the examples given was Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr.

My other hobby that influenced a big portion of my life was the automotive industry. I go around the West Coast participating in industry events with my personal show car that I built. This is anything from car shows, influencer events, drifting events, racing, automotive product showcases, and more. I was able to accomplish many personal accolades through this hobby and met amazing people that shape how I foresee my future goals. 

What advice do you have for prospective graduate business students who are interested in your field?

I think a piece of general advice that goes a long way is to ask questions and indulge in experimenting out of your comfort zone. Growth occurs in environments of discomfort and exploring new ideas that you may not be familiar with. Having a diverse skill set is never a negative thing. With this also comes time management. Setting yourself up for success by allocating a comfortable roadmap essential in handling fatigue and being potentially overwhelmed with responsibilities. That is why this program is great at offering both full and part-time options for those who may not be able to fully commit their entire schedules as graduate students. The various options for certificates for the degree allows exploration to occur and interests to invoke the educational journey.

What inspires you?

My inspiration comes from my family and the overall idea of exploration and learning. I am a first-generation college student whose family won the green card lottery to come here from Ukraine when I was 2. The crazy thought that we would be living in a war zone right now instead of me finishing my graduate degree is something that is still hard to wrap my head around. That idea alone is what inspires me to not take this life for granted and never be too comfortable as I thrive on growth and to enjoy as much of the world as it has to offer. I want to make the sacrifices of my family worthwhile and make them proud through my accomplishments and through the journey they opened up for me. 

The idea of exploration and learning really set off my ambitions through travel and being open to diverse and inclusive environments through the trips I have been blessed to have taken through my hobbies and career choices. Different parts of the world opened my eyes to the limitations of isolating yourself in an information bubble. There is a vast world with never-ending information to explore and people to meet that excites me.  

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