Danny Gardner ‘17

Title: Social Intelligence Lead, US Digital Analytics

Employer: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 

Major: Economics, BA

Minor: Global Poverty


What do you enjoy the most about your position?

I'm fascinated by the world of healthcare and how relatable it is, especially when we're constantly challenged to put ourselves in the shoes of our consumers. I read through tons of social media content (with help from some analytics) and everyday is a new challenge. The work I get to do at GSK is incredibly fulfilling, and I am extremely proud to work here and on behalf of the millions of consumers we serve.

What is a typical day like in your position?

My day usually starts by reading through a handful of different newsletters, both mainstream and industry focused (e.g. WSJ, Digiday, TechCrunch, Adweek, Social Media Today, etc.). After that I usually jump into my to-do list, which is a combination of Microsoft's to-do app and a custom spreadsheet I have, taking care of any urgent items first. From there, I'm either meeting with business stakeholders or executing projects.

How did you find your current position?

I found my current position passively on LinkedIn. I've kept job alerts going on my LinkedIn profile since my interning days, usually for something like "analyst" or "analytics", and happened to flag down this one down! Seemed like such a long shot, between the size of the company, applicant tracking systems, and having 0 connections at the company; it's truly a numbers game, so don't be afraid to shoot your shot!

Which undergraduate experiences did you find most helpful in preparing you for your current position?

Internships were easily the most helpful thing I could've done to prepare myself for the business world (and business school). It introduces you to very basic ways of working and universal systems that you'd find at practically any company in the world. The nature of these positions have changed so much from the "go get coffee and print documents" stigma, and really help build competitive resumes.

How has your coursework helped you in your current position (i.e. quantitative skills, research techniques, communication skills)?

Thinking back to my earliest classes at UMD, I took a lot of classes that required STATA, SAS, or SPSS, which to me were just number crunching apps. But the more and more I used them, and saw real-world professionals using them, the more I began to see the benefits of using them. There are some elements of computer programming to these, which helped me get into Python, a universal data analysis tool. I'm a self-taught coder, so the earlier you start the better you'll be in the next 5-10 years! Makes sense right?

The last piece I'll say is communication. Being the best quant in the world might seem impressive, but you'll lose all your shine if you can't speak the language of your business and put findings into easy-to-understand terms. This is very common advice but easily the most important skill in business.

Any job or internship advice for students seeking a position in your field?

Start early! And try to get involved in industry organizations to network with folks already in your field (both young pros and industry vets).

It's really important to study hard and apply yourself in college, but don't think it's the end of the world if you are ending up with B's and C's. The business world is nothing like taking a test and grades aren't the sole factor in determining future success.

What piece of advice do you have for students pertaining to being successful during the pandemic?

Leverage LinkedIn, it's so much more than a job board. There are thousands of users looking for the same things, with similar interests, or know folks that could help you land a job.