This year I was lucky enough to be selected for the Data Sparks scheme which operates as part of Imperial College Business School’s alliance with KPMG. This gave me the chance to lead a real-world Big Data consulting project for one of KPMG’s clients with a team of students from the MSc Business Analytics.

Some people would probably think I’m mad to spend 20 hrs+ per week of my free time in a darkened room, running statistical analyses on data, but being an MBA student and having fully accepted my nerdish tendencies I jumped at the chance! Offering world-class data analytics courses across the Business School is one of the ways in which Imperial really sets itself apart from the competition. Data is increasingly pervading all of our lives, and it’s going to be fundamental as a business person to be able to interpret that data and craft it into narratives that the rest of the business can understand.

My MBA has definitely given me those skills, and it was an incredible opportunity to be able to road test them on a real-world client problem. During the project we conducted an in-depth investigation of the HR data of a global financial institution, looking into the drivers for promotion and retention as well as seeing whether there was an evidence of bias and the potential causes of a “drift to the management” that the organisation had seen might exist. This was no small undertaking in just six weeks, it’s a credit to my co-leader Christina and my team, Yerick, George, Shieron that we delivered on time and to such a high standard.

The icing on the cake was of course that both KPMG and the client were thrilled with our work, both the presentation and the final report, with the client very kindly offering to hire us all on the spot! Our project was even featured in an article in the Financial Times.

Suzy is a student in our 2016-17 Full-Time MBA class.