Alumni Profile: Catherine Beley, MS in Applied Math
Catherine Beley (‘14, MS in Applied Math) is the Manager of the Data Insights team at Hulu, located in Los Angeles, California. Hulu is an online video streaming service, where subscribers can watch episodes of past TV shows online. Initially starting out in Operations Research following college, Catherine also pursued her Masters at Northeastern. There, she learned about the “big data” trend that has been gaining popularity this past decade. “Big data” provides companies with insights into patterns and trends relating to human behavior and interactions with products, services, or tools. Using information from data, companies can tailor their products and services to reflect the ever changing demands from society. Catherine decided she wanted to learn more about data analytics, despite having little to no experience in the field. In the following Q&A, Catherine shares how her education at Northeastern shaped her professional experience and introduced her to a career she did not initially associate with Mathematics.
Before we begin, can you explain the story behind your photo?
At Hulu, every hulugan gets to have a professional photo taken of them that is then hung on our photo wall in the front office. I think the photo wall acts as a good example of the culture at Hulu, as the pictures are meant to be fun and an expression of ourselves.
What made you so interested in mathematics and data? When did you realize you wanted to do this for a living?
I really fell in love with Math my Senior year of High School. AP Calculus showed me how much I related to Math. I loved the way that it was so objective and logical; this style of thinking in Math matched my very rational brain.
Initially I got my Bachelors degree in Mathematics and Applied Physics at Providence College. Then I spent my first two years out of college working in Operations Research for the Department of Defense (DoD) and completing my Masters at Northeastern, but I was ready for the next challenge. At the time, “big data” was the buzz phrase. Even though I had no experience in data analytics, I was fascinated by the impact and change that data was generating across all industries. Finding a job in analytics was my goal. Lucky for me, I liked it.
Are there any specific memories from your time at Northeastern that had a lasting impact on you?
I was fortunate enough to have a classmate in the program who was also working at the DoD. This connection really helped me through the Masters program. From very early on, we registered for the same classes throughout our tenure at Northeastern. She became a good friend and ultimately her collaboration, dedication, and persistence was one of the driving forces behind my Master’s achievement.
What is your current position and can you describe a normal day at work?
I am currently the Manager of the Data Insights team under the Chief Data Officer (CDO) organization at Hulu. My team supports all facets of the business, so a typical day is filled with strategy and project meetings, managing/developing my team, and enjoying the vivacious culture that is Hulu. The company is centered on making work a place that you love to be at. Working with smart, fun people, fostering flexibility, and building an open space for people to develop diversely is what Hulu is all about.
How did you decide you wanted to work for Hulu in California? What is your favorite part about working at Hulu?
Prior to working at Hulu, I was working for PricewaterhouseCoopers, a professional services network where I was in analytics consulting. I was looking to move to Los Angeles and had an opportunity to transfer there with the firm. Once I got there, I decided to explore select opportunities in LA to see if there was anything that peaked my interest. Hulu was one of those opportunities. From the moment I spoke to the recruiter, I knew Hulu was a unicorn opportunity for me, and receiving an offer from them was one of the most exciting moments of my life.
I love working at Hulu for three reasons: I love what I do, I love who I do it with, and I love what I do it for. I feel very fortunate to work for a company that believes in the value of culture and in developing a product that brings people joy.
What do you do for fun outside of work?
Living in SoCal, I take advantage of every opportunity to be outside. Whether it is going to the beach, hiking in Malibu, visiting wineries, running, or just grabbing a bite to eat with friends, it is lovely to be able to enjoy the mild climate year round (especially after living in Boston).
And finally, what is your key piece of advice for anyone attending Northeastern?
Take advantage of the professors! I was fortunate enough to study under incredibly brilliant professors at Northeastern who cared about their students and were dedicated to their student’s success. I will benefit from the lessons I have learned from them, both math and others, throughout the rest of my career and life.