Claudia Schulz (MSc Computing Artificial Intelligence, 2012 and PhD in Computing, 2017) is a Research Scientist at digital healthcare company Babylon Health, working on different applications of AI in health-care.
Tell us about your time at Imperial
"It was tough to the same degree that it was fun. I met amazing people, who were all as excited and curious about learning new things as I was, and I made some great friends. I’m not going to lie, but the courses were challenging and required hard work and I remember many evenings, nights, and weekends spent finishing coursework rather than doing sports or going out. But the amount of knowledge and skills I gained during this one year, as well as the feeling of unity I experienced among the students, made it all very worthwhile. I wouldn’t want to have missed any of it."
Why did you choose to study at Imperial?
"In addition to its outstanding reputation, Imperial was one of the only universities offering a dedicated AI degree at this time (just before AI really took off). I was drawn to the variety of different topics and areas of AI covered by the degree -from machine learning over multi-agent system to logic-based AI -as well as to the possibility of tailoring the course choices according to my interests. Furthermore, I appreciated that Imperial was very open-minded regarding the background of students, also taking on students who didn’t have a pure computer science undergraduate degree."
Can you tell us what you’ve done since Graduation?
"I stayed at Imperial for another 4 and a half years to do a PhD, so you can tell that I really liked Imperial. My work was in the area of explainable AI, focusing on explaining decision-making systems in terms of arguments for and against a decision. During that time, I also got involved in teaching and project supervision in the department, organised research seminars and workshops, and chaired the Imperial College Student Chapter of the ACM, the largest association for computing in the world. This diverse experience provided me with the best imaginable starting point for my research career. I then spent 1 and a half years as a post-doctoral researcher in one of the leading groups in Natural Language Processing (at Darmstadt University in Germany), where I started working on decision-making in medicine. More recently, I joined the digital healthcare company Babylon Health as a research scientist, where I get to work on different applications of AI in health-care."
How has what you learnt at Imperial helped you in your career so far?
"All courses at Imperial were very problem-solving focused, so we didn’t just learn the theory but had to apply it to new problems in course-works and exams. This has definitely helped me to develop the right mindset for working in AI and research, where I am faced with new settings and challenges on a daily basis. Furthermore, most people I met at Imperial went on to work for well-known companies or became researchers in leading labs, and having these connections is extremely valuable."
Do you have any advice for current Imperial students?
"Work hard but don’t forget to also enjoy your time at Imperial. Imperial has so much more to offer than just the courses being taught: the Union with all its sports clubs (another great opportunity to make friends for life), the company talks - giving you ideas of possible employers - and not at least, the memories you will keep for the rest of your life."