Alumni Spotlight: Starting a New Life and Career in the U.S.
Rob Archibald left the U.K. to seek success
in Orange County — and found it through
DCE's Accelerated Certificate Program (ACP).
Rob Archibald was stuck in a dead-end job back in his native
U.K., working in sales and feeling unfulfilled, dreaming about
starting a new life. He had a degree in music composition,
but wanted to get into data science and learn accounting and
finance skills to help jumpstart his career.
Rob always had a knack for working with numbers, but he
needed to get a strong academic background in a new field
and gain some practical knowledge — maybe do some
networking that could open doors to a promising career.
So he made the decision to come to Orange County and
enroll in DCE's Data Science and Predictive Analytics for
Business Professionals Accelerated Certificate Program (ACP).
After finishing the program, he enrolled in a second ACP to
gain further experience in International Finance and an
internship experience, both designed for international
“This is such a beautiful part of the country… and UCI had
exactly what I was looking for,” Archibald said. “I didn't have
the first idea about data science before taking the program.
And I didn't have the time or money to go after another
degree, so the program was exactly what I needed to launch
my new career.”
The three-month postgraduate certificate programs combined
gave him the skills and background that led to an internship
with Geraci LLP, an Irvine-based law firm, media and consulting
company. He proved to be such an indispensable and
innovative team member, Geraci offered him a full-time
position to complete Optional Practical Training (OPT), a
12-month practical training experience.
“While he interned with us, Rob developed many great ideas,
which he then executed in a way that greatly exceeded my
expectations,” said Dennis Baranowski, senior banking and
finance attorney for Geraci. “It's clear that Rob cared deeply
about every task that he performed here, whether it be basic
data entry or teaching himself how to code in our practice
management software. I would clone Rob if I could and take
over the world.”
Digital Marketing Coordinator Rebekah Guerra was equally
impressed with Rob's knowledge and performance.
“I worked with Rob on a daily basis and he was a fantastic
team member,” she said. “He has a strong analytic and
technical background with his UCI [DCE] education and has
a very dynamic, strategic mind. I'm really looking forward
to continue working with him going forward.”
With his new role at Geraci to look forward to, Rob plans to
settle down in Newport Beach. While packing
for a quick trip back to the U.K., he recently
found time to talk about his journey and
experience with UCI DCE.
“The internship preparation course I took coordinates networking events
every quarter that give students a chance to meet each other along with
representatives from companies that offer internships through the ACP.”
What led you to pursue data science
and finance when you had no background
Well, for the last seven years or so,
I was working all sorts of random
jobs (hospitality, education,
carpentry, sales) across the U.K.,
purely as means to ends – my
focus was on saving to travel,
to fulfill lifelong dreams
before getting tied down
by career and family. My
move to the U.S. was really my first ever attempt at building a career I wanted
to stay in. I decided to get into data analytics for several
reasons, mostly because it's an exponentially growing field
that's applicable to any industry. I've always been good with
numbers, and I come from a family with a strong background
in math and science, so it seemed like the right move. Right
now, I'm very excited about this opportunity with Geraci.
You certainly caught on fast.
I'm still far from an expert but so long as I know a little bit
more than the person next to me, I get by (with a little help
from my friend, Google). (laughs) Both certificate programs
and my internship allowed me to grow substantially into
How did you go about getting the internship at Geraci?
The internship preparation course
I took coordinates networking
events every quarter that give
students a chance to meet
each other along with representatives
that offer internships through
the ACP. So I attended with
a friend of mine and met
someone from Geraci. My
friend found an opening
there right away
connections at Geraci when I was ready. He was able to open
doors to the company, so a good friend to know! (laughs)
Tell me about that experience. What did the internship
Well, when I started out, the company had just lost their
accountant and CFO during the same week. So that actually
gave me opportunities I might not have had. During my
interview I told them I'd like to focus some of my work on
what I learned specifically about accounting in my coursework,
and they said I probably wouldn't get a chance. But when
they lost their accountant, I was able to reshape my internship to work a great deal more with accounting than anticipated,
and I used what I learned in my ACP to inform my work as a
whole. I also got to set up an entirely new marketing dashboard
system, integrating all sorts of online data to provide
actionable insights. It was a fun project to take on and I'm
looking forward to expanding on it.
I understand the ACP and internship experience are geared
to international students. How are their specific needs
Both addressed the differences in academia and business in
the U.S., which isn't really that different from the U.K., but the
classes here are more interactive and we were encouraged
to ask questions. We also learned about getting work visas,
details like that.
How would you characterize the quality of the faculty?
Overall, I'd say they were excellent, very professional, helpful
and open to answer any questions I might have.
So now you're ready to settle into Orange County life.
What sorts of things do you like to do in your spare time?
I love live music, and I'm very much into adventure travel. I
like taking long motorcycle trips through less developed parts
of the world. I once spent nine months riding my motorbike
from South Africa to Kenya. I've also travelled through
Southeast Asia, China and most of Europe. I plan on taking a
motorcycle trip through Central and South America sometime
in the future.
Learn more at ce.uci.edu/international