Sofia Paredes reflects on her internship at The Plans

The following blog post contains personal opinions and viewpoints expressed by the author. The author's views are their own and do not represent the official stance of  Berkeley IEOR.

Sofia Paredes

Job Title: Business Analytics and Project Management Intern (IT Department)
Company: SAG-AFTRA Health Plan and SAG-Producers Pension Plan (the Plans)

For more than 50 years the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan and SAG-Producers Pension Plan (the Plans) have provided health and retirement benefits to thousands of entertainment professionals and their dependents across the globe. During my internship, I delved deep into the insurance industry, applying analytical techniques and contributing to various pivotal projects. In my role as a Business Analytics and Technical Project Management Intern, I strategically utilized technology to address business challenges for the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan and SAG-Producers Pension Plan (the Plans) at a time when the plans were evolving their operations toward a participant-inspired experience. My role included strategically utilizing technology to review assigned business processes from end-to-end, identifying and addressing operational, financial, and technological risks, and identifying opportunities to improve efficiencies.

In addition to my analytics work, I actively participated in the adoption of agile project management methodologies within the Healthcare Analytics team. Through the use of Jira and Excel, I created a new Jira Board from scratch to translate existing workflows in Excel to Jira. Through collaborating with cross-functional teams between project managers and the healthcare team, I contributed to the development of a more agile project framework, incorporating practices such as sprint planning, daily stand-ups, and retrospective reviews. This transition led to improved project visibility, reduced project delivery time, and and a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement.

Another project I worked on involved analyzing five-year financial data and transactional data from general ledgers to identify key expenses and recommend efficiency improvements for the upcoming budget proposal. Through the utilization of data visualization tools such as Tableau and ThoughtSpot, I created insightful dashboards that enabled the IT Department to visualize the expense breakdown, trend analysis on spending, budget, and allocation, and pinpoint areas of improvement in budgeting. By implementing data-driven recommendations, I was able to streamline the budget processing timeline, resulting in enhanced allocation and categorization of funds, and reduced time-consuming budget analysis.

Throughout my internship at the Plans, I was able to apply all the things I learned in class to the real world. I gained many new lessons and skills along the way, such as how to bridge the gap between data analysis and strategic decision-making. I realized the importance of aligning analytics insights with business goals for optimal outcomes. I further honed my skills in data manipulation, analysis, and visualization tools such as Excel, SQL, JQL, ThoughtSpot, and Tableau. These skills allowed me to transform raw data into actionable insights for informed decision-making. I also saw the great importance of data quality. It is very important to have accurate and reliable data since it is the foundation of any successful analytics project. Ensuring data quality through thorough cleansing and validation is essential for deriving meaningful insights.