- Course: BSc Economics and Mathematics
- Nationality: Lithuanian
Why did you decide to study at the University of Leeds?
The University of Leeds is exceptional because it has a great number of joint honours courses available. I initially applied to study Philosophy and Economics in Leeds, which was my top choice because other universities offered only joint Philosophy, Economics and Politics courses. Before studies started I changed my course to Economics and Mathematics due to my increased interest in pursuing a career in data analytics.
What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University and why?
Economics and Mathematics studies allowed me to understand two roles in industry better: managers and analysts. It is quite often when people from different areas do not understand one another’s language that they fail to make decisions in business; therefore I am enthusiastic to combine knowledge of both areas.
During my time in university I was more focused on developing my skills rather than theoretical knowledge; therefore I appreciate mostly technical skills such as R, Python and Stata, statistical modelling and of course soft skills such as networking and time management. Involvement in societies, attending career related events and conferences helped me to shape expectations of a workplace and focus on developing skills which are desired in industry.
Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed so far?
With the Leeds Data Science society I participated in Npower forecasting challenge as well as in Hiscox University Data Challenge. These competitions allowed me to work on real-world data and solve actual case studies which have business value. Teams of both challenges reached the finals, hence we visited the Npower office in Solihull and Hiscox offices in York and London and presented insights and possible solution models to senior managers.
Networking with senior people in my desired area allowed me to shape ambitions for the future and see which skills are desirable in industry. Also, working in a diverse team where the majority of students are postgraduates allowed me to learn a lot from their own experiences in the sense of technical skills and teamwork ethics.
What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?
There's a great variety of places to eat, relatively cheap housing and for all the independent film lovers out there - Hyde Park Picture House is a must!
What are your ambitions for the future?
My goal of pursuing a role where mathematics, IT and economics mix together granted me a business intelligence internship at BMW for my placement year. Currently companies collect plenty of data but don't necessarily know what to do with the majority of it. Being enthusiastic about IT transformations towards more unified and convenient systems I am also interested to use data not only in reporting: proactive use should exceed reactive.
What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?
After my first year in Leeds I did a summer internship as a performance analyst at Leeds and Yorkshire Housing Association. This experience is trivial for me because of skills I developed on-the-job. I was able to see how quickly I can learn new technical things and get a good understanding of how business works. Having a personal responsibility of a project allowed me to be creative and independent.
What would you say to students coming to do the same course?
I would highly encourage students to join societies, attend conferences and hackathons and other activities outside lectures. Courses give you an outline only, it’s up to you to fill it with your own experiences. The sooner you discover what you're passionate about, the more time you can spend on developing skills. It is good to remember that once you start applying for jobs, there’s plenty of people with similar (or same!) degree to yours. Find something that makes you different.