Analytics degree rockets graduate into new career

Varoon Nair landed a job with Rocket Lab after graduating with his Master of Analytics.

When Varoon Nair decided to launch into his Master of Analytics after completing an undergraduate business degree, he was drawn by the exciting new frontiers of data science.

What he didn’t realise at time, was the qualification would eventually lead to a job with New Zealand’s ground-breaking rocket launching company Rocket Lab. 

“Everyone was talking about big data, it was the big trend in business and Massey’s programme was quite new at the time,” he says. “It seemed a good area to gain skills in, and as I had majored in accounting and finance with my Bachelor of Business, I decided to focus on marketing analytics because it was something different.”

Varoon secured his job as a finance analyst with Rocket Lab after graduation, neatly combining his undergraduate and postgraduate studies. In the role, he manipulates data to assist the company with decision making and budget forecasting.

Analytics, a useful skill for the future

While he never dreamt of having a career in finance at a rocket company, he says he was confident data analytic skills would be useful wherever he landed.

“Understanding data, how it flows through systems, how to identify what to keep and what to discard – and being able to explain those things is key. You can use these techniques in so many situations to make an informed decision quickly,” he says.

It was adjusting to working in a the fast-paced environment of a high-growth technology company that was the real challenge, but fun in its own way.

“Rocket Lab is such a new company and it’s growing so quickly. When I started, there were about 240 staff in New Zealand. We now have over 400 staff in New Zealand, plus another 100 in the US.

“It's been a huge learning curve as we're creating systems as we grow, but the Master of Analytics programme has really helped because it taught me to capture data correctly in order to be able to use it in the future.” 

Varoon describes the world of work like an ocean, compared to the “calm, swimming pool of university study”. 

“Theory tells you what the outcomes will be, but in the real world, you have to quickly adapt to the waves –  big and small – that come your way.  That doesn’t mean to say university doesn’t prepare you, but sometimes you don’t quite see how much you’re accomplishing as you’re moving through your study. 

“It’s only once you’ve completed that final research project that you look back and realise just how much you’ve learnt.”


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