Korean native Young Hwan Yoo is Business Intelligence Analyst at Criteo by day, and film buff by night. An integral part of Criteo Korea’s analytics (AX) team, Young’s work helps Criteo’s clients continually grow and assess their business strategies. This week, we chat with Young about his path to Criteo.
Let’s start from the beginning, where are you from?
I was born in Seoul, South Korea, but raised in an area called Bundang. I’ve enjoyed mathematics, science, and film ever since I was young. I decided to enter the University of California Berkeley where I graduated with a major in Applied Mathematics. I started my career as a business analyst in the United States then returned to Korea in 2015. Currently, I am an analyst on Criteo’s AX team.
What brought you to Criteo?
When I started my first career as a business analyst for a manufacturing company, I saw how data analysis influenced insights and decisions within the company and immediately fell in love with it. I was driven to learn because, regardless of the industry, the insights from data analysis directly influence the company’s management and performance.
Later, while working as a director of a fin-tech startup, I understood the importance of marketing, and its charm. Next, at an eCommerce startup, I focused on the practical application of marketing analysis which became as great a passion to me as film. However, I wanted to work with data at the forefront of the business and marketing industry so in 2017, I joined Criteo’s analytics (AX) team.
What are your current challenges? And what are your favorite aspects of your job?
Right now the biggest challenge is figuring out how our AX team can help grow Korea’s mid-market through data analysis. The AX team at Criteo does not visit agencies or advertisers for sales purposes, but derives insight from data and provide this to our customers through an automated process.
We provide information on our services and the quarterly customer business reviews and add provide analysis and experience-based insight. The insights provided by the AX team can affect the decision making of our customers and contribute directly to sales. We are constantly testing and developing relevant reports– two of our demo version reports have already received great feedback from our customers.
My favorite aspect of the job is the immediate application of my knowledge. Data analyst is a fairly new function and one must constantly be learning to stay on top changing trends in big data.
What is something people wouldn’t expect to know about Data Analytics?
Most people think that analysis and computer science skills are the most important when it comes to being a data analyst, and sure, it’s important to know the programming language. But what’s positively essential is to be a problem solver and to understand the business. It is impossible to derive good analytics and insight when you do not understand the business or have ideas on improvements.
A lot of companies talk about having a strong culture, but how does Criteo walk the walk?
I had to pick one, Criteo’s culture is the driving force for its growth. We respect diversity and being open to employee’s innovative ideas.
And to encourage such culture, Criteo hold various events throughout the year, such as Criteo MY IDEA and HACKATHON. Each individual at Criteo comes together in these events and creates our strong culture together with the company motto: “go Go GO,” “No fear,” and “Do the right thing.”
How has Criteo helped foster your career?
Currently, I am studying Python while working on multiple projects in order to develop my analytic skills. I am getting great help from Python training that is carried out within the AX team. Criteo also supports various professional advancement courses for employees, such as DataCamp and Coursera, so I have been utilizing them to improve my personal and professional growth.
What projects/achievements to date are you most proud of?
I participated in a Churn Project which was kicked off by Minho, the GM of the Korea office, to build a platform called Churn Indicator. After we completed building the platform, the commercial team of the Korea office took advantage of it and we were able to reduce their churn rate by more than half.
Thus far this has been my greatest achievement because of the project’s success and that it was the first tool that I had created! There was also the priceless exchange of feedback that I had with the commercial team. I think this project will always be very special to me because it had a positive impact on the business.
Where do you see yourself next?
I see myself working among Criteo’s mid-market AX team to 10 times of its current size. I have a goal to collaborate with several teams within AX to expand my knowledge and experience in the industry.
Hobbies outside of work?
I enjoy going to the movies, theater, and exhibitions. The stories from movies and plays allow me to experience the new and explore the unimagined. So, I could say that all genres are my favorite. I also enjoy eating out with close friends. Life is short and you can’t have too much good food!
Any advice for people looking to build a similar career trajectory?
“Nothing is impossible! Face the challenge!” Data analyst is the kind of occupation where one can become discouraged because it is difficult to provide a creative solution day and night. But whatever the challenge is, a go-getter mindset is important.
I also want to say, “Do not have blind faith in data!”. As data analysts it’s easy for us to trust our experiences and the patterns we recognize in data. But, I want to emphasize that while data does not lie, neither does it speak for itself. Consider the feedback or advice of others in your team or relevant departments, even if it is a negative feedback.
And last but not least, a job as an analyst allows you to gain all kinds of experience in various departments. Most companies today are accumulating enormous amounts of data and making decisions through data analysis. So, you can experience positions in various fields, without ever changing jobs. Look at me: I have gained so much invaluable experience and learned many things on my collative projects within Criteo departments.