McDaniel alumni give back with Data Analytics internship
Alums John Sobanski ’99 and Kevin Worley ’00 connected with their alma mater to invite graduate students in the M.S. in Data Analytics program to intern with their company, Pyramid Systems Inc. They knew it was the right call when Data Analytics student Michael Eniolade interned with their team.
When John Sobanski ’99 heard about the launch of the M.S. in Data Analytics program at McDaniel, the wheels started turning. He went to his colleague, friend, and fellow alum Kevin Worley ’00 with an idea: maybe they could host interns from the program at their company, Pyramid Systems Inc., and start to build a pipeline of the next generation of analytics professionals.
“John and I had been talking about how difficult it is to hire analytics professionals right now,” says Worley, Pyramid’s chief technology officer. “People with five to seven years of experience come with a high price tag, and we’re a small company that can’t necessarily remain competitive in that market.”
Sobanski, the senior director of Pyramid’s analytics practice, started brainstorming how to build that talent internally to source some folks with a little less experience and help them develop over time.
Finding out that their alma mater was moving into the data analytics space was the impetus for them to set up an internship program at the company, and then they reached out to McDaniel to see if there were any current students who might be interested.
“That’s how Michael came to us,” Worley says. “He was one of three analytics-focused interns we had with us in the summer of 2023, but the only one from McDaniel. We wanted to make sure that the internship was really useful for each of our interns, regardless of their experience level and origin.”
Their McDaniel intern, Michael Eniolade, is originally from Nigeria and already had extensive experience both in Nigeria and in the United States.
“I got my first degree in computer science in Nigeria, and in 2016, I came to the United States for my first master’s degree in information systems,” Eniolade says.
Prior to enrolling in McDaniel’s M.S. in Data Analytics and taking on the internship with Pyramid, Eniolade had worked in various consulting and contract roles in data analytics at Speedway Yearbooks, EDmin.com, the State of Oregon, Deloitte, and UnitedHealth Group.
“I decided to come to McDaniel for my master’s in Data Analytics to continue to broaden my knowledge in IT and in computing,” Eniolade says. “The hybrid experience worked well for me, and my internship with Pyramid was fully remote.”
Eniolade was one of a team of three working on a project together for Pyramid. “There was a manual process of running through and sorting RFIs and RFPs in the organization that was time-consuming for their employees,” Eniolade says. “So, we thought of how to automate this task for them using Python and artificial intelligence machine learning models.
“A lot of our time was spent exploring the problem itself and coming up with possible solutions,” he says. “But it was a success because we were able to make it happen in the end.”
Sobanski and Worley were excited to see the results of the team’s project.
“Ultimately, what they put together was almost like a ChatGPT interface for examining documents we use regularly to look for new business development opportunities,” Worley says. “The execution was great, and it was awesome to see them work together as a team, but Michael definitely took on a leadership role among that team.”
“Michael was good. He knew his stuff and he had the chops to really identify and solve a problem that would help us long term,” Sobanski says. “He was our only graduate student — the others were still in undergrad — and he really stepped up and used his life experience to lead the team.”
Eniolade is grateful for Worley and Sobanski reaching out to McDaniel to set up an internship. He says the experience was enlightening and will help him in the next steps of his journey. After completing the M.S. in Data Analytics in December 2023, he is now enrolled for a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence at the University of the Cumberlands and looking for full-time data analytics work.
“Opportunities have been coming and recruiters have been contacting me in the area of data analytics,” Eniolade says. “This internship experience and my McDaniel program have given me an opportunity to explore more areas in my field and to establish my career more firmly here in the United States.