Irfan Zaini Zainudin

Irfan Zaini Zainudin

After graduating from MSc Business Analytics in 2016, Irfan Zaini Zainudin secured a job at McKinsey & Company. In this short Q&A, Irfan gives an insight into his role at McKinsey, shares his passion for business analytics, and looks back on his experience at Imperial College Business School.

Current job role

What is your role at McKinsey & Company?

I’m an Analytics Analyst. In short, I turn data into actionable insight to create solutions to client’s problems. This entails collecting, analysing and synthesising data that serves as a critical input to a client’s consulting team. I use a range of data analytics tools from Excel, R, SPSS and PostgreSQL, as well as data solving techniques including dashboards, predictive modelling, descriptive analytics and simulation.

What’s your proudest achievement at McKinsey & Company?

Being in a company that values time and precision of result, I am proud that my output in multiple projects at McKinsey & Co. has by far exceeded expectation in term of both quality and time. Consistency in providing excellent results is a skill I adopt and apply from MSc Business Analytics that I believe is critical in any career.

Studying MSc Business Analytics at Imperial

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

For me, Imperial is considered a training ground to be a well-rounded data scientist. The programme offers the right mix of core subjects and the electives included an essential overview of analytical practices in other industries which enabled me to have a cutting edge knowledge which is useful if I were to expand my career into a different industry.

The Capstone Business Analytics Consulting Project is a valuable opportunity to experience analytical practice in a consulting environment on a global scale. I also chose Imperial because it is undeniably the leading global institution with an outstanding reputation in science and technology.

What skills did you learn on MSc Business Analytics at Imperial?

Prior to studying MSc Business Analytics, I was already familiar with SQL and SPSS languages. However, the programme sharpened my skills and exposed me to R. The programme gave me the opportunity to apply various analytics techniques for different business problems in multiple industries. My technical skills were also widened in various data visualisation tools, such as Tableau and D3.js. While learning all these languages, the programme ensured students understood the creative part of analytics, and the skill of applying the right techniques to a specific business problem.

When did you know you wanted to work in business analytics?

Upon returning to Malaysia after my undergraduate studies in the US, I worked as a Data Analyst at Celcom Axiata on its Young Talent Programme. Most of my peers joined risk management sectors but I insisted on a mathematical oriented role and was placed in the Customer Analytics department. There is a high demand and yet a low supply of analytic talent in the global market and that inspired me to equip myself with the necessary skills to be a data scientist.

Which module(s) stood out for you?

Optimisation and Decision Models: In this core module I learned skills such as linear programming for the first time which was stimulating and has potential to be applied extensively in my future career.

Retail and Marketing Analytics and Digital Marketing Analytics: after four years of working in marketing analytics in the telecommunications industry, these electives gave me good overall exposure to various techniques in marketing, which is something I wanted to focus on as part of my career growth.

How would you describe your MSc Business Analytics cohort?

A very talented group of students in their area of speciality. The cohort was diverse in terms of educational background and country of origin.

Did you learn something new about yourself whilst studying MSc Business Analytics?

I always saw myself as a statistician, but now I see myself as a coder as well! I can now code in html, JavaScript and Python. I’ve learnt how to use code as a medium to get insights from the data.

MSc Business Analytics was a paradigm shift for me. The tools and techniques I learnt made me more versatile when solving data problems for clients.

Studying in London

How important was it to be located in London whilst studying MSc Business Analytics?

London is amazing compared to the other cities I have visited. It has many attractions, such as parks, historical places and restaurants. My father completed his PhD in Edinburgh when I was a small child so coming back to the UK after 20 years was an incredible feeling.

Advice for prospective students

Do you have any advice for students thinking about a career in business analytics?

If you love mathematics, statistics, programming and business, then you should definitely consider a career in this area. Or, in other words, if you’re a nerd like me who wants to make an impact in the business world! This is a complex field but with simple, executable and scalable solutions to problems will cause significant impact.

MSc Business Analytics 2016

Study mode: On campus, full-time

Nationality: Malaysian

Undergraduate education: Bachelor of Business Administration, Fox School of Business, Temple University 

Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Data & Digital Services Analyst, Celcom Axiata Berhad

Job after studying at Imperial College Business School: Analytics Analyst, McKinsey & Company

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