The UCLA and Interview Query Partnership and Why It Was a Success

The UCLA and Interview Query Partnership and Why It Was a Success


Welcome to Interview Query: A comprehensive data science interview prep service that began working directly with universities in 2020. Since first developing our enterprise product, we’ve partnered with a dozen top-level MSDS and MSBA programs, some of the best career centers in the US, and hundreds of students. With our tools, those students have gone on to land their dream jobs in every industry and data science field.

We began partnering with the UCLA Anderson School in 2021. Read on to discover what challenges were facing the MSBA program, our strategy for partnering with them, and the results we’ve accomplished together!

UCLA MS in Business Analytics Program Snapshot

UCLA is considered one of the best public schools in the United States by US News. In 2022, they had an undergraduate population of ~32,000 students and a graduate population of 14,000. This makes UCLA one of the largest 25 universities in the United States.

The 15-month MSBA program within the Anderson School has grown rapidly, from 44 students in 2017 to 160 in 2022, with their 2024 class target sitting at an additional 120 new students. This puts the program on par for class sizes with some of the best in the country, like MIT’s Sloan Management School or Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business.

UCLA has built a powerhouse of a program that competes with the top schools in the world for quality of instruction, enrollment, and student outcomes. In 2022, every single MSBA student was employed six months after graduation, with an average salary of $123,572 and an average signing bonus of $22,510.

The Problem Facing UCLA

We caught up with the UCLA Director of Career Services, Larry Braman, to understand where MSBA students were experiencing challenges in 2021 and how Interview Query has filled the gap since then.

Many other services are centered only on data science and data analytics interview prep, but not on the broader range of outcomes that business analytics students actually want. Interview Query offers more:

“We’ve got a really wide range of roles that our students go into. Some are heavy tech, with machine learning engineers, or big-time data science roles, for which LeetCode would be a great investment for them. But we also balance that with a lot of business analysts, data analysts, BI analysts, engineers and product managers, and consultants, everything across the wide spectrum from more tech-heavy to lighter tech. And so when we were evaluating multiple tools, our assessment was that Interview Query was serving the broadest number of roles that our students were going into.”

UCLA needed a partner who understood that their students are going to make a broad impact on the world, in industries and roles that take them far from traditional data science. Interview Query, given its wide spectrum of courses, questions, and resources across all data fields, ensured that no matter where a student wanted to take their careers, UCLA and IQ could help them get there.

What Interview Query Brings

With every university, we are working to help students with their data science interview prep and enable them to get better jobs in tech or elsewhere.

Our onboarding is simple and gets the students off to a running start. Once a university is signed on, all students receive their credentials, attend an onboarding webinar to get them integrated into the platform and begin tackling their individually built learning paths.

Learning paths and skills assessments have been created for a huge variety of fields:

For those who want even more specific practice, we offer coding, technical, and behavioral questions that can be attempted and learned from at the level the student needs to challenge themselves.

Besides tips and wisdom from industry veterans at the industry and company level, we also now offer mock peer-to-peer interviews to connect data science practitioners and students.

Our Strategy at UCLA

Getting students onto the platform is the number one priority when we start working with a university.

Not only does it put our tools into their hands as fast as possible, but it also starts the flow of data into our custom dashboards that we create for every university.

It all begins with our training session for students, which covers the IQ essentials:

  • A presentation on how to ace the data science interview.
  • Onboarding onto the platform and getting started with the learning paths and question banks.
  • AMA with data science experts in the field.

How to Prepare for a Data Science Interview

The Student Experience

Students know where they stand in Interview Query based on their personal performance diagnostics, which assess both their current skill level and their desired skill levels for the roles they are looking to apply for.

Here’s what that intuitive diagnostic looks like:

UCLA MSBA Students Skill Chart

With that knowledge in hand, students can then take a look at the skills that companies are searching for, which we know from the feedback of other Interview Query members and industry professionals.

From a student’s perspective, they can see how the skills they currently have line up with each role. Using the above skills chart, they can make a quick comparison with Google’s Data Analyst position.

Google Data Analyst Interview Process

Custom University Dashboards

We ensure that the university can see the immediate results of that onboarding with custom solutions and dashboards for their career center.

One of the highlights for UCLA from their dashboards was a weekly refreshing list of top employers, broken down by job buckets. UCLA students have an incredible array of opportunities open to them that they must consider, so understanding who is hiring gives the career center and students, a leg up.

Job Dashboard

One other custom dashboard that UCLA found helpful was one showing how students were performing by question type when compared to users across the platform.

UCLA MSBA Student Dashboard

With just a quick glance, the career center can see where students are excelling or falling behind. In this case, question completion for Machine Learning System Design is lagging tremendously, while students are over-indexing on database design and algorithms.

Results and Impact on UCLA Students

“This is Yannie from UCLA MSBA. Your course is very helpful, and I have found a Data Science internship at Spotify this summer. I really appreciate your help!”

The partnership between UCLA and Interview Query began in early 2021, right in time to catch the incoming 2022 cohort.

At UCLA, 80% of students had accessed their accounts and started answering questions within the first week after the webinar. After the first year, we saw 92% engagement with the platform as students received interviews throughout the year.

The most recent class of 2023 hasn’t skimped on their adoption either. They completed over 1,000 questions and 750 learning modules in their first six months!

We’ve made sure that UCLA is well taken care of, as Larry Braman himself says:

“One thing I really appreciate about the partnership with Interview Query is that IQ actually says yes to university needs. This isn’t the case with other vendors. When I have an alumni who has been laid off, and I ask IQ if they can add three months to their account so that the alumni can have some additional support for their search, IQ always responds with a “yes, no problem.” It’s done right away. And that has been a real differentiator to my students and this career office.”

With the help of these customized guides and prep, as well as UCLA’s ability to monitor their student’s progress, UCLA placed students at Microsoft, Amazon, McKinsey, Deloitte, Tiktok, Snap, Nike, Adidas, SpaceX, Tesla, Morgan Stanley, IBM, among many others.

UCLA, with IQ tools, turned their dreams into reality around the world!

What Matters to You?

There is an entire world of opportunities out there for Master’s students in the data science realm.

With Interview Query, we have taken a comprehensive approach to teaching, giving students the hands-on practice and vocabulary of the broader industry. For those who want to gain mastery, we have everything for that goal too. At the end of the day, we want any student in need to be able to come to Interview Query as a one-stop-shop of all things data science, and we’re willing to go above and beyond in that support.

The Interview Query philosophy and strategy came together at UCLA, where we were able to help build a diverse data science community. UCLA now has a thriving alumni base across every major industry in the United States. Their students are better prepared than ever for the complex and interdisciplinary nature of the modern workplace and are on track to create new worlds in the future that we can only imagine today.

If you are looking for a single comprehensive platform to set them up for success, reach out to Interview Query at this link!