A Day in the Life of a Data Scientist: Mike Schwemmer

Join us in this blog series where we are shining a light on one of our Upstarters. Come take a closer look at the people inside the company that are tirelessly working to provide access to affordable credit. #TeamUpstart

Upstart’s core mission is to enable effortless credit based on true risk. We leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate the borrowing process and price credit. Our data scientists play a key role in building statistical and machine learning models that power our lending platform. The team works collaboratively with our engineering team to improve our underwriting, fraud, pricing, and marketing models. 

Mike Schwemmer is a Data Scientist at Upstart in our Columbus, OH office. At Upstart, Mike utilizes his creative problem-solving skills and technical background to implement solutions to new challenges. He is a proud dog parent to a 1-year-old adopted mixed dog named Zelda. Follow along below to learn more about Mike and Zelda!

What’s one of your dog’s quirks?

Zelda learned how to play from our cat so she likes to whack things with her paws. Also, she is 50 pounds and likes to think that she’s a lap dog.

What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

Feed the dog and afterwards, I usually take Zelda out for a walk.

What inspires you?

Working on things that can potentially benefit society.

How did you get into this role?

I got into data science after doing two postdocs after my PhD. Basically I decided I didn’t really want to be a professor at a university. Prior to Upstart, I was working as a data scientist at another company in Columbus (Battelle).  I found out about Upstart through LinkedIn, and after speaking with the recruiters and other members of the data science team, I decided Upstart seemed like a really great fit for me. I started at Upstart in May and have been very happy here.

What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

Trying to improve the underwriting model using deep learning/neural network methods.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I studied musical composition and classical guitar as an undergrad and even spent a semester in Spain learning to play flamenco guitar.

From your own perspective, what makes Upstart a great place to work?

The people. I enjoy working with all of my colleagues on the data science team and everyone from other teams has been amazing as well.

What would you recommend listening/reading to get into the same field as you?

Reading: The Elements of Statistical Learning by Hastie, Tibshirani, and Friedman; Deep Learning by Goodfellow, Bengio, and Courville.

Watching/Listening: The neural network courses on fast.ai; data science courses on Coursera.

Join us!

Interested in working with Mike and the data science team? Explore our open roles at upstart.com/careers and join the team! 

* When you check your rate, we check your credit report. This initial (soft) inquiry will not affect your credit score. If you accept your rate and proceed with your application, we do another (hard) credit inquiry that will impact your credit score. If you take out a loan, repayment information will be reported to the credit bureaus.