Seize the Data!

Seize the Data!


Namita Kallianpurkar (’18) parlayed her MSBA experience into a key role at Google

June 27, 2023

  • UCLA Anderson alumna Namita Kallianpurkar was a member of UCLA Anderson’s inaugural MSBA class
  • She is now a principal analytics lead at Google, where she applies statistical experimentation to understand how digital ads perform
  • She previously held key analytics roles at LendingClub and Grammarly

When she was working in consulting and marketing, Namita Kallianpurkar (MSBA ’18) kept feeling a certain pull to something else. “Problems that involved a data or research component really floated my boat,” she says. “Figuring out why people did what they did was really interesting to me.” This burgeoning passion led her to UCLA Anderson’s Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program.

“The MSBA coursework is a data science-focused MBA that stresses statistical methods for business outcomes,” Kallianpurkar says. “But the curriculum at UCLA Anderson is not like a traditional applied stats program. You’re taught methods by industry practitioners who can ladder up to what it’s like to apply this at a big or small company to solve a business problem.”

Anderson’s MSBA program is ranked No. 2 in the world for the fourth straight year. The 15-month, STEM-certified program aims to bridge the gap between tech and business suites. Students use the power of data to help organizations drive strategic business decisions. The curriculum includes data storytelling, improv workshops, expert seminars and internships.

With that pull to work with data tugging at her, Kallianpurkar set out to become a marketing analyst. “This involved a fair amount of retooling for me.” For two years, she took a heavy course load in math at local universities. After passing the GRE, it was time for her to take the next step. “I started applying to both applied statistics and MSBA programs, which were very new at the time.” Available options were minimal, especially as she clarified what she wanted to achieve. “I wanted to take my knowledge of the marketing space and apply it to more data-focused problems.” As a result, Kallianpurkar pivoted to the marketing analytics space.

“One class prepared me for the problems I’d be solving for my entire career.”

“I did a lot of intensive interviews at UCLA with the program director, Professor Felipe Caro,” she recalls. “He was so kind, approachable, intelligent and reassuring that I thought, ‘This is the place where I want to retool my career and grow into the person I’m going to be.’”

Kallianpurkar entered the Anderson MSBA program’s first graduating class, whose degrees were conferred in 2018. “We were the first batch for the program — they’d never implemented the curriculum before, never found internships for students, never graduated a class.” This appealed to her. “It made it a very collaborative environment and made the relationships between the professors and students stronger. I still get together with everyone when I’m back in L.A. It’s been a real blessing.”

Anderson’s MSBA program armed Kallianpurkar with the knowledge and skills she needed in her new career. “The material on marketing analytics was invaluable,” she says. “The curriculum taught by Professor Anand Bodapati seemed very rigorous and specific at the time, but, in retrospect, it was the most wonderfully curated curriculum that I could have hoped for. That one class prepared me for the problems I’d be solving for my entire career.” Currently working as principal analytical lead for apps at Google, Kallianpurkar says this information has stood her in good stead. “It made a huge impact in my life.”

Technology and information have evolved quite a bit since 2018. “Data science roles in the industry have matured,” says Kallianpurkar. “When I graduated, many companies didn’t know the difference between a data analyst, data scientist or data engineer. And many times, especially at smaller companies, these roles were wrapped into one role, though they all have very distinct skill sets.” Today, she says, companies realize the need to onboard data professionals with distilled role intricacies. “Data understanding is becoming table stakes, and our skills are much more marketable for a variety of roles,” says Kallianpurkar.

With her MSBA in hand, Kallianpurkar dove into her new career. Her first role was as a growth analytics manager at LendingClub. “That was a fantastic look into analytics in the finance space,” she says. While working for LendingClub’s marketing department, she was responsible for developing analytics for the company’s digital marketing. “This was new to LendingClub at the time,” she says. Kallianpurkar developed a blueprint of what the platform’s marketing analytics performance reporting structure should look like, and how the company should make investment decisions and what channels it should expand into.

“Have a clear idea of what you want to do with the degree because the one-year program goes by fast.”

A move to Grammarly as an analytics manager saw her developing a similar structure for their digital marketing. “Grammarly had a mature digital marketing setup and were heavily invested in digital marketing channels, but they weren’t sure how to assess the impact of certain hard-to-track channels.” Leaning on experimental design skills she garnered at Anderson, Kallianpurkar developed a testing framework to track the effect of specific kinds of ad marketing. “It was a great experience for me to put those skills into practice.”

She was Grammarly’s first marketing analytics hire. “By the time I left, there were eight of us,” she says. She has referred Anderson classmates for jobs at both Grammarly and Google. She laughs, “In my experience, my classmates at Anderson haven’t needed a lot of help getting jobs.”

While she was at Grammarly, Kallianpurkar worked with an analytical lead at Google. “Analytical leads are applied data science consultants assigned to individual businesses,” she explains. “They work as thought partners and strategic executors for experiments and other types of analysis to measure the effectiveness, targeting and success of any given customer’s digital advertisement.” Of her Google cohorts, Kallianpurkar says, “I was astounded by how intelligent, capable and engaged they were. It was like having a contract team that was an extension of your company itself. I thought, ‘This is the role for me.’”

Google thought so, too. In June 2022, they brought her on board as a principal analytical lead. “The benefit of being on the Google side is that you also get to work with many different types of businesses and business models, bringing with them a multitude of business problems to solve,” she says. At the moment, she does just that in the mobile ads space.

“Because it’s a constantly evolving space, and has a lot of privacy challenges, you have to rely on statistical experimentation to understand how digital ads perform,” she says. “It’s super fun.” The myriad opportunities within Google have Kallianpurkar excited about her future with the company. In her sights down the road is a senior position in bigger-picture strategy.

“One class prepared me for the problems I’d be solving for my entire career.”

To those considering an MSBA, Kallianpurkar offers this advice: “Have a clear idea of what you want to do with the degree because the one-year program goes by fast.” She’s witnessed great success among students with a vision of how to apply what they learn from the program. Anderson provides assistance to those in need of nailing down that clarity. “There are resources to help you — industry seminars, internships, panels and networking events,” she says. “It’s a great program, filled with amazing people and mentors.”

And of UCLA itself, Kallianpurkar says. “It’s a magical place. I’m proud to be a Bruin.”