NACE Career Excellence Spotlight – Critical Thinking

Kyle Gierman is a Senior student studying Economics and Data Science. This summer, he had the opportunity to work as an intern at JP Morgan, an American financial services firm.

This article’s NACE competency focus is Critical Thinking. We had the opportunity to speak to Kyle about how he was able to use his Critical Thinking skills to succeed in his internship. Here is what we asked him.

Describe a project or task where you had to gather and analyze data to make an important decision. What methods did you use, and what was the outcome? 

At JPMorgan Chase & Co, I was tasked with the critical project of streamlining dataflows to enhance the efficiency and accuracy of our macroeconomic calculators for the Investment Banking team. This project was crucial for making informed financial decisions and ensuring that our data was not only accurate but also up to date.

To tackle this challenge, I leveraged Alteryx, a powerful data integration and analytics tool. Alteryx allowed me to automate and optimize various data processes, significantly reducing processing time which was a problem in the past. I designed workflows within Alteryx to gather data from multiple sources, clean and transform it, and then integrate it to send to the Investment Banking team. By automating these processes, we were able to eliminate manual data entry errors and reduce the risk of human error, thereby improving data accuracy and reliability.

One of the key outcomes of leveraging Alteryx was the huge reduction in processing time. Previously, it took a considerable amount of time to manually collect, clean, and update the data required for our macroeconomic calculators. With Alteryx, we were able to cut down processing time significantly, allowing us to provide more timely updates to our calculators. This was particularly important in the fast-paced financial industry, where up-to-the-minute data can make a substantial difference in decision-making.

To ensure the quality and accuracy of the data, I also used Excel as a complementary tool. I created pivot tables and cross-referenced the data processed through Alteryx with the original source files. This double-checking process helped identify any discrepancies, allowing for immediate correction.

In the end, the project was a success. By streamlining dataflows with Alteryx and implementing data validation using Excel, we not only reduced processing time but also improved data accuracy and timeliness.

Kyle Gierman ’24

Critical thinking was a fundamental aspect of every stage of the project, from recognizing the problem to designing solutions, evaluating tools, and ensuring ongoing data quality. Critical thinking is an essential skill for problem-solving and decision-making in complex projects like this one.

And you? Are you showcasing your critical thinking skills on your resume? How would you answer that same question?

If you would like to know more or have questions on how you could showcase your skills on your resume or in an interview, feel free to email me ( or schedule an appointment here.

Oliver De Croock ’24, Student-Athlete at Lawrence University majoring in Economics and Data Science. Oliver works as a Career Peer Educator at the Career Center and is the President of the Lawrence University Business Networking ClubConnect with Oliver on LinkedIn.