Maria Tan -960x576
MSc Business Analytics
Undergraduate education:

London School of Economics and Political Science, BSc Economics

Job after Imperial College Business School:

Data Scientist, Plant-based Start-Up

About you

What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?

I worked as a public sector economist for two years, conducting empirical microeconomic research studies on policy topics. Before that, I worked in various internships in the finance sector, ranging from investment management to equity research.

Why did you decide to study an MSc Business Analytics at Imperial College Business School?

I chose to further my studies in MSc Business Analytics as I wanted to broaden my data analysis skills beyond pure econometrics. I was excited to learn data science concepts ranging from algorithm design to machine learning, and was attracted to the opportunity to apply these skills directly on real-world business problems during the programme.

Did you receive a scholarship?

Yes, I received the Social Impact Scholarship by Imperial College Business School, which covers £10,000 of my tuition fees. I was also honoured to receive the DLA Piper Data Analytics Scholarship during my studies.


Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

I’m still halfway through the programme, but my favourite module so far would be Data Structures & Algorithms by Dr Heikki Peura. He is a remarkable teacher! His homework and lessons never failed to intrigue me and ingrained a strong foundation in programming and algorithm design for the rest of the modules.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

The most rewarding part of the programme is the ability to apply my newly acquired data science skills to real-world problems. For instance, I am now working on a Data Sparks project where I can use what I’ve learnt in the programme to help a market-leading, international law firm leverage data to improve productivity.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme? 

You must be prepared to juggle multiple workstreams and manage conflicting deadlines! Another challenging part is working in groups for several modules – it is hard to get used to new working styles with different teams, but I think this emulates what happens in the real workplace.


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

The MSc Business Analytics batch is one of the most diverse, vibrant and intellectual group of people I’ve met in my life – it’s amazing to draw on their experiences and learn not only technical skills, but also softer skills from the energetic and passionate cohort. For instance, I love asking about their hobbies outside of school (some include writing French rap, and baking homemade bread from scratch).

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

My favourite professors would have to be Dr Heikki Peura (Data Structures & Algorithms) and Dr Wolfram Wiesemann (Optimisation & Decision Models). Both are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate educators who really care about imparting useful skills to us.


What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?

The best opportunity thus far is the ability to work on real-world business problems through the Data Spark scheme.

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?

I’ve been involved in the Data Spark scheme, and we’re currently using our analytics skills to help a market-leading international law firm leverage data and uncover business insights that can improve productivity.

How have you benefited from the Business School’s connection to the Imperial College London community?

Through the Business School’s connections, I’ve managed to speak to multiple alumni from various technology companies such as Apple and Google. I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to chat with alumni currently working in these companies to ascertain whether I’m suitable for the role.


What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?

My long-term goal is to merge my technical background and training in data science with my passion to create meaningful impact in terms of helping marginalised or less fortunate communities or driving the environmental sustainability movement. Studying MSc Business Analytics at Imperial has complemented my academic training in economics and has equipped me with the technical skills to pursue a position as a data scientist. With this skill set, I can pursue my career goal and apply these skills for social good!

Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?

I’ve received offers to be a data scientist at a plant-based start-up and a research position at a top-tier consultancy firm. I accepted the former offer to be a data scientist at the plant-based start-up.

How did the services from Careers help you secure employment/in your professional development?

The compulsory CV writing module really forced me to think through the structure of my CV and highlight important achievements and experiences. I also ran through my CV with a Careers consultant to fine-tune the language and structure.

London Location

Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities? 

Yes, staying in London has provided heaps of opportunities for networking and career events. For instance, I attended a data science film screening at Gousto, where I met data scientists that work there. During my conversations with these data scientists, I learnt more about their role and the methods they used at work, while snacking on pizza and beer! In addition, there are tons of interesting Hackathons (e.g., by DataKind UK) happening around central London every weekend.

Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?

I live at Earl’s Court as it is near to campus.

When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?

I go for weekly Yoga sessions at Triyoga, hit the gym at Ethos, or hunt for great vegan food in London!

What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?

The benefits would be living in a bustling, exciting city that will never bore you! There is always something to do – a nature photography exhibition at the Natural History Museum, fresh food from all over the world at weekend markets, and tons of musicals/theatre shows to watch! The challenges would be the tedious process of searching for a good quality, affordable flat to rent. My top advice would be to start looking for apartments and flatmates (if any) early!


Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions? Did you find these a useful part of the recruitment process?

Yes, I attended an information session in Singapore on the MSc Business Analytics programme. This was a very useful event as I spoke to alumni and gained a deeper understanding of the career prospects upon graduating from the programme. I would highly recommend prospective students to attend these events!

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?

Think about your own background/training, and how this programme would add value to what you already have. If you’re not from a quantitative background, think about why you want to pick up analytics and if that drive is strong, start to build a good foundation in mathematics, statistics and programming earlier!

MSc Business Analytics
Undergraduate education:

London School of Economics and Political Science, BSc Economics

Job after Imperial College Business School:

Data Scientist, Plant-based Start-Up