M.S. in Business Analytics Alumna Lands Job at Facebook

Imani DunbarWhen alumna Imani Dunbar, ’17, put together her list of top companies to work for while beginning a new job hunt for a senior-level position at a high-tech public company, Facebook wasn't one of them.

She recalls her last comment to the Facebook recruiter who contacted her about the position through Linkedin being, "…in full disclosure I don't have an active Facebook account, is that a problem?" Turned out that it wasn’t, and as she went through the interview process, she fell in love with the company.

Working as the Global Head of Technical Analytics at Facebook is inspiring, she said, because, "I’m working with the brightest minds, constantly humbled at the brilliance around me. The reach and the impact of the work that we are doing, I don't even know a word to describe!”

Dunbar embarked on her path to an M.S in Analytics degree while still at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), where she had worked for 16 years. At the time, she was simply looking to augment her existing skills and exercise one of her favorite pastimes – continuing to learn. She quite liked her job at the time she began the program, “…there's no way on earth I would have stayed at a company for 16 years if I didn't love what I was doing there,” said Dunbar.

Working at Facebook today, though, said Dunbar, is nonstop excitement. “Facebook is the number one tech company to work for in the world for a couple of reasons. One reason is - if you look at our mission statement it's to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. The level in which you can make a difference on a global scale is unreal," said Dunbar.

PwC set the groundwork for success in her new role at Facebook. She learned the value of making impact very quickly in her time there as both manager and then director of business analytics, among other roles. “If you show up at a client’s site, you've got to demonstrate value within 96 hours, or you're going home,” she said.  

Dunbar ultimately picked Saint Mary's College for the trifecta of location, program curriculum, and cost. She had compared it with the Master of Science in Business Analytics Program at New York University, which came highly recommended, as two of the best options for her to expand her analytics knowledge so that she could continue to advance in her career at PwC.

It was while learning new analytics skills at the College to prepare for landing a role in the PwC partnership that Dunbar found the areas of analytics she was truly finding interest in were in a different area than she had initially intended to study. She started to search for roles that would fit this new area when a Facebook recruiter reached out to her through Linkedin. She decided to follow through with the intensive interview process for her current role.  

Even though the interview process was rigorous, Dunbar fell in love with the people, the company, and the mission of Facebook. "I would never have imagined I would connect with a stranger on my first conversation, let alone someone who was going to make the final hiring decision” she said. “Throughout the recruiting process and the interview process, I was able to make connections with people, particularly my final interviewer. I left literally feeling like we were family.”

Every day is different at Facebook, says Dunbar, but one thing is constant, "You wake up in the morning, and you decide what you're going to wear, whatever makes you feel comfortable. Today, I'm in sweats." At Facebook, she said, you really do bring your whole self to work. Once you're at work, however, you get moving, whether it's the latest wildfire, something still burning, meetings, video conferencing, or using the actual Facebook platform, aptly named Workplace, to communicate. "When you're moving fast, there's increased potential that some things are not being connected and that existing synergies might not be fully evangelized. So, we have the idea of moving fast, but also moving efficiently and effectively," said Dunbar.

A benefit of working at Facebook is the daily lunch. "Lunchtime is interesting, only because there's this massive decision about which cafeteria do you eat at, and on which campus do you eat? You try to get there ahead of schedule because it's busy at noon, with everyone and their visitors who come to campus. But then you're back from lunch, and you're back to working with the team, trying to figure out what the latest priorities are, and figuring out how you can make the biggest impact for the day," said Dunbar.

Currently Dunbar manages a global team of 13 employees, which she is working to grow. Many work at the Menlo Park headquarters, with others in Austin, Dublin and Singapore. The Technical Analytics team is part of the broader Business Integrity function. "What this means is that our mission statement for the group is to ensure safe and secure connections between end users and businesses. The whole world knows how many users we have on our platform, because we publish that. So, we reached over 2 billion in June of last year. And then from an advertiser perspective, we have millions of advertisers on our platform. Business integrity, the broader group that I'm in, is responsible for ensuring that those connections between these 2 billion users and the millions of advertisers are safe and secure,” said Dunbar.

Working at Facebook is exciting and challenging. According to Dunbar, “there is a lot that goes into what we do, the thing that enables our simplicity is that you have people who have a common perspective and the right intent behind their actions—people who are brilliant at what they do, but also very humble—and people who can work collaboratively as well as are willing to take on the most challenging responsibilities. If you get this, it creates a solution to get things done, even though there's a lot of hard work that goes into it," said Dunbar, who still stays connected to Saint Mary's College through the Alumni network.