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Alan Kessler

Alan Kessler

Senior data scientist | St. Louis Cardinals | Class of 2013

Unsure how exactly he wanted to spend the next four years, Alan Kessler dropped by Rick Gorvett’s office one day as a UI underclassman to find out more about actuarial science.

“What I remember most about that meeting and later his classes was his enthusiasm for the profession, starting with his trademark introduction of ‘it's not rocket science ... it's harder.’ I do not know how true that is but it sold me on choosing that field,” Kessler says from St. Louis, where he’s a senior data scientist for baseball’s Cardinals.

“I really appreciate the combination of academic curiosity and focus on real-world preparedness that he and so many of the other faculty demonstrated in my time at UIUC.

“In a small night class he taught my senior year, we reviewed a business case study. Many of us in the class advocated that the business in question should trial their new product and roll it out slowly. The lesson I took from Dr. Gorvett was that sometimes it is more important to make a yes or no decision, even if it is less comfortable than the middle ground.

“That piece of advice has really resonated with me in my post-college career.”