Posted on December 11, 2017 by Joanna Carver

Ricky Esquivel Meet Ricky Esquivel . He’s using the knowledge he’s attained at UTSA in analytics to help mitigate risk in anti-money laundering.

Working at USAA for 14 years, most recently as a decision science analyst, Esquivel wanted to gain a broader understanding of big data. He began researching challenging academic programs and discovered the new Master of Science in Data Analytics at UTSA. The one-year degree program is producing highly skilled and educated data analysts who can transform big data into usable information for decision makers.

“The program at UTSA was exactly what I needed to become more successful in my role at USAA.”

Esquivel was part of the first cohort to enroll in the Data Analytics program in August 2016, when he began taking evening classes after work. Some of the challenging courses he studied for centered around big data technology and data analytic algorithms.

He was immediately able to apply what he was learning at UTSA to his daily responsibilities at USAA.

“There is a direct correlation between what I’m studying at UTSA and my job duties at USAA,” said Esquivel. “It’s helped to have professors who have lived it or done it, because they’re familiar with the concepts and techniques. I have excelled in my studies because of the influence of my professors.”

He is already making an impact at work using the knowledge he’s gained in his UTSA classes. Since enrolling at UTSA, he has been promoted to senior program project manager.

“Through analytics, I helped monitor transactional activity that could result in money laundering if undetected. The process entailed looking for patterns and red flags to further investigate,” Esquivel said. “UTSA has allowed me to position myself for success at work. It’s really given me the more technical background to have deeper conversations with business partners.”

Esquivel says staying with the same group of students throughout the program has also been beneficial. It’s helped him build relationships and network. Now, the cohort will be the first to cross the stage together at UTSA’s Fall Commencement.

“My experience at UTSA has been challenging but also one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had,” Esquivel said. “I wanted to advance at work and this program has expanded my knowledge on so many broad topics. Finding a program that tied specifically to what I wanted to do at work is invaluable.”

— Joanna Carver