Alumni Game-Changers

Emely Cedano ’10: For the Love of Games

Steppingstone 2010 / Boston Latin Academy 2016 / Babson College 2020

The saying goes, do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Ask game data analyst Emely Cedano about her work, and one thing is instantly clear: she loves what she does.

Since graduating from Babson College in May 2020, the Steppingstone Alumna dove into analyzing game data for Warner Brothers Games. Is it hard work? Definitely. That’s both the challenge and the fun of it.

When someone plays an online game,”you can only imagine the data you can take in,” she explains. To inform business decisions and improvements, “I write code to extract information from vast data sets so I can explain what’s happening in users’ experience.” The data holds keys to “what’s making a game crash and burn or do well.”

In her job, “there’s always something new that will challenge you to think differently.” When she’s pushed to try to wrap her head around the data from a gamer’s perspective, “it makes data much more fun to read!” As she loses herself in explaining how fascinating it is, she pauses to catch her breath. “I swear it’s a lot more fun than it sounds,” she interjects.

Her fascination inspired her to reach out to Steppingstone and offer to introduce Scholars to the idea of data science as a path to jobs in the gaming industry.

“I love change. It pushes you to grow. You start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

Since her own days as a Scholar at Boston Latin Academy, she’s been passionate about both art and games. In her junior year at Babson, she discovered the career possibility. She loves both the amazing art behind games and the way playing them brings people together.

So, does she have a favorite game? “I’ll give you my top three, in no specific order.” She loves the “Kingdom Hearts” series. “I played all 10 games, the whole shebang, to give it the love and time it deserves.” (Be warned: “the third game will break your heart.”) She still loves “Zelda” from gaming’s early days. To her, “Xenoblade Chronicles” is simply “a beautiful masterpiece.” As she puts it, “the story reels you in, and then the mechanics keep your brain working.”

At Warner Brothers, she’s worked on everything from Golfclash to LEGO Star Wars Battles. One of the “coolest” projects so far was doing data analysis on a new edition of “Mortal Kombat.” “You can find me in the credits,” she excitedly adds.

“Things move really fast, and you have to keep up with the pace,” she says. Staying on top of the different code languages can be challenging. And that’s exactly why she loves her work. “I love change,” she says. “Change pushes you to grow. You start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

How does she see games changing? If you think things are realistic now, just wait. In the near future, virtual reality will make things “scary realistic.” Designs will keep moving toward an immersive experience with more realistic sensory feedback.

What’s in Emely’s future? For one, she hopes to become a data engineer and be able to mentor and lead a team of her own in making new data discoveries. “In the end, I’m going to own my own virtual reality game company!” she predicts.

Wherever her path has taken her, she’s carried the lessons and relationships from Steppingstone with her. Especially in the summers, she loved “being around kids who were super cool and super smart.”

Through BLA, Babson, and now beyond, she’s always stayed close to the friends that she made as a Scholar, adding that she just was texting with one of her best friends before jumping on a call to share her Alumni story. Having her sister, Caroline, follow in her footsteps as a Scholar has also kept alive her whole family’s connection.

For Emely, Steppingstone was a “big leap.” As it helped her realize, “sometimes you have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” she reflects. “I say that all the time.”

Ever since, “some of my best opportunities have come from taking a leap.” Early in the pandemic, with Babson classes wrapping up remotely, she decided to move to San Francisco. It brought her close to her fiancé as well as to the job opportunity at her company’s studio there. “My whole life changed.”

Along with telling Scholars about her work, she’d hope to offer some advice: “Enjoy who you are right now, and be open to who you’re going to become.”

After all, “life is short!” she exclaims. “Experience everything you can.”