For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Student Co-op Experiences

Mohammad Alavi '23

Mohammad Alavi Headshot Mohammad Alavi is a fifth-year student pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Economics with minors in business analytics and management information systems.

Tell us about the project you were involved in.
Mohammad: I was involved with an interdisciplinary marketing and data analytics project at Drexel Solutions Institute (DSI). The client wanted to get more insight into the life sciences and energy sectors to position Greater Philadelphia as a key investment destination for companies. I conducted extensive market research in the target industry sectors, conducted expert interviews, and reached out to people via emails, phone calls, and LinkedIn messages. Additionally, I worked with the data analytics team to provide it with data points to build a machine-learning model for the client using Logistic Regression. We curated a list of the top 50 companies that had the highest probability of moving to Philadelphia.

What did you learn by working with external partners?
Mohammad: Having worked with DSI, I got an opportunity to work on a project that was client-facing. We met the client every other week to understand what they were looking for and worked to fulfill their needs. This experience helped me improve my communication and problem-solving skills. I learned to address client issues and brainstorm potential solutions and how they could be used by the client. It was much like a consulting role where we used a data-oriented approach to inform the client.

For you personally – what is the value of participating in projects that involve external partners?
Mohammad: For me, working on such a project not only helped me to learn new things but also taught me how to implement those things for the client. There was a balance between learning and using those skills in the real world. After this co-op, I did another co-op with a consulting company. I instantly realized the difference - there was less learning, and a big expectation was to deliver results for the company. It made me realize that working on such projects early in your career is extremely helpful.

How has this opportunity impacted your Drexel experience?
Mohammad: This experience has transformed my Drexel experience since it helped me develop valuable qualitative and quantitative skills. These skills are imperative as it helped me find other job opportunities. I can leverage my critical thinking skills to solve not only my problems but also help the people around me. Additionally, I was able to use my technical expertise in R (software used in this project) in my classes. This experience has made me proficient in these skills, which have contributed to my success at Drexel.

What was your favorite part about participating in this opportunity?
Mohammad: I really liked that it was a team effort. I worked with three other students, all of whom were my age, which helped me bond with them. Whenever any tasks were assigned, we would meet to ensure we were on the same page. Also, if there were any questions or conflicts, we would try to resolve them among ourselves before contacting our manager. This helped to increase productivity and efficiency.

How has this project shaped your academic career beyond co-op?
Mohammad: This experience motivated me to pursue a minor in business analytics. I came in as an economics major trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my degree, but because of this experience, I developed an interest in data analysis. It also helped me get my second co-op working for a consulting company.

Did participating in this project affect your career interests?
Mohammad: Working on this project has developed my interest in consulting – working with clients to solve their problems. Since I got first-hand experience in data analysis and building predictive models, it has exponentially grown my interest in this field. This experience has also helped me figure out what I want to pursue once I graduate.