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Career Journey: Dane Harrington
Analytics in the name of justice
Dane Harrington hunts fraud. It’s never obvious at the outset whether he’ll be uncovering a scam that impacts thousands of people or just one. And that’s just fine with him. Using his training in analytics to find patterns in identity theft gives him a sense of fulfillment.
I have to put myself in the mindset of someone who is looking to commit a crime. I think, ‘All right, if I was trying to steal someone’s identity, steal their tax refund, what would I do to get away with it?’ It’s work that gets me going every morning.
— Dane Harrington, consultant, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Noise or signal
Dane is aware that, at first pass, his work doesn’t sound glamorous. But that changed instantly as he dove into his assignment of testing hypotheses in data to detect fraud and identity theft. His goal is finding patterns in tax returns, investigating certain characteristics of fraud to see if they show up on a broad scale. Or not. Both types of discoveries are valuable since even the one-off bad returns reveal a characteristic to monitor over time.
Seizing every opportunity
Doing his job requires Dane to use advanced technologies like machine learning paired with strong instincts. He’s becoming more adept at applying that combination every day. And he’s added to his skill set too, taking advantage of his eligibility to participate in Deloitte’s sabbatical program to take more classes and hone his data analytics foundation. He believes that program set him up to be successful in his current role. It also gave him the chance to see the world, since he did much of his course work remotely from southeast Asia.
Ironically, a thirst for continued learning has Dane interested in teaching too. His alma mater, Virginia Tech, reached out to Deloitte looking for someone to facilitate a data visualization lab. Even though Dane hadn’t done any teaching previously, and didn't work with data visualization, a senior consultant asked him to step up. So, he schooled himself and then put together a four-hour curriculum, which he then taught to the undergraduates. He loved the experience so much that he can imagine a future as a professor. For someone who picked consulting because he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do, Dane has found a calling and then some.
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