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Alumni Stories

Discover real life stories from our inspirational alumni.

Below are profiles from Statistics alumni who have shared what they have been up to since completing their degree. Perhaps you have some great experiences or advice to share? If you are interested in being featured on our website, then we would love to hear from you! Contact p.a.smith@lse.ac.uk for more information. 

 
.... each class offered by the Department is uniquely challenging and interesting. The student community is very diverse and the alumni network is widespread within London and internationally.

Yuanchen Wang

BSc Actuarial Science

 

Ierodiaconou2

Andreas Ierodiaconou 
Year of Graduation: 2019
Job title: Postgraduate Student
LinkedIn 

Tell us about what you do 
I am currently enrolled as a full-time student at Imperial College Business School, pursuing a master’s degree in Risk Management and Financial Engineering. It is quite intense, but thankfully my studies at LSE have laid the foundation for successfully coping with it. 

What made you choose LSE Statistics?
As soon as I received an offer, it was a no-brainer for me. I chose LSE because studying at such a prestigious university, surrounded by so many high-calibre people from every part of the world would help me unleash my full potential and give me a competitive edge in the job market. I knew that the degree programmes operating under the Department of Statistics combine both  theoretical knowledge and practical applications, and they also give you the freedom to choose from a wide range of elective modules in your final year according to your needs and interests, so Actuarial Science just felt the right programme to apply for.

What was the main thing you learned from studying at LSE’s Department of Statistics? 
The academic knowledge we acquired was of the highest quality, but the most useful skill I was taught by my lecturers was the intellectual curiosity to question every single thing I hear. Most of the courses the Department of Statistics has to offer are highly technical and quantitative, thus making sense of the data you manipulate and the models you use, as well as challenging them whenever you feel something is missing, is the essence of teaching at LSE.

What are some of your key memories from your time spent here, and why do you think it is important to remain connected to LSE?
LSE gave me so many fond memories to reminisce on; a beautiful campus that was buzzing with life, an amazingly smart and ambitious group of classmates to work with, a friendly and approachable academic staff that was guiding and supporting me throughout the three years. Moving forward, it’s nice to keep those bonds tight, as they could prove to be useful in our future endeavours.

Do you have any hobbies or projects outside of work?
In my free time I watch football games, hit the gym, and try to stay on top of the news in today’s fast-paced world. I believe it is important to save some time for activities that improve your physical and mental health.

What would you tell someone thinking of studying at the Department of Statistics? 
No second thoughts, just go for it! Embrace the challenge, make the most of it and you won’t regret it, the payoff will be huge and long-lasting.

What is the greatest challenge you've had to overcome?Having lived my whole life on a small island in the Mediterranean, it took me a while to get used to the hustle and bustle of the big city, but I ended up loving it! The place is so vibrant and dynamic, and there are so many things to do, places to visit and people to meet, that make it really hard to study and resist the temptation of going out! 

 

BSc Business, Mathematics and Statistics

 

Yax2

Yaxsaana Sivanathan 
Year of Graduation: 2017
Job title: Assistant Statistician, Civil Service Fast Streamer
LinkedIn 

Tell us about what you do 
I joined the Civil Service in the summer after I graduated in 2017 and I currently work in the Department of International Trade. My team focuses on Investment Promotion and Policy Analysis, which builds up the evidence base to influence inward and outward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). More specifically, I am working on a research project conducting econometric analysis to determine the drivers of FDI into UK regions, and the economic impacts of FDI on local economies. This evidence will feed into the current government’s agenda of “levelling up” regions. 

Where have you worked previously?
My first role in the Civil Service was in a private office for a Senior Official at the Cabinet Office, which was related to EU Exit. I managed to get this position through the Direct Appointment scheme because I narrowly missed a place on the Fast Stream when I first applied. This gave me a really good understanding of how the “centre” of government works at the highest level, and it spurred my interest in re-applying to the Fast Stream. I was successful in my second application and was posted in the Department of Health and Social Care on the Statistics Fast Stream where I was responsible for parliamentary business, developing analysis on the NHS workforce and providing evidence to the Migration Advisory Committee.

How did you get into the field you currently work in?
I actually stumbled upon the Civil Service and all its glories when I went to grab a coffee at a stall on campus that the Civil Service were running. I was initially only interested in the coffee, but after speaking to the Fast Streamers I realised that supporting the government and working in the public interest would be more suited to my interests than working in the private sector. I then applied to the Early Diversity Internship programme in my first year (which I absolutely loved) and the rest is history! 

What made you choose LSE Statistics?
The Business Mathematics and Statistics programme offered a chance to pick and choose modules that were tailored to my own interests. This suited me much more than having options pre-defined and allowed me the chance to study a mix of modules from abstract mathematics and macroeconomic modules to more practical modules on applied regression and simulation modelling. Applied regression, in particular, is a feature of the work I’m currently involved in, so it is rewarding to be able to use my degree in my day to day work. 

Do you have any hobbies or projects outside of work?
I highly value work/life balance, and the Civil Service definitely offers that. I rarely leave the office after 5, which means I have ample time to play competitive netball regularly, chill out and read, or even sew the stresses of life away.

What has been the best experience in your career to date?
I was invited to No 10, along with the team, to an evening event with the Prime Minister. It was a surreal moment and hands down the best experience in my career so far. 

What would you tell someone who's thinking of pursuing a career in the Civil Service?
Go for it. I was initially apprehensive about the public sector, but what the Civil Service Fast Stream can provide is a sense of community that strives to make a difference on interesting policy issues, whilst also maintaining a great work/life balance. Within statistics, there are many policy challenges that have gaps in evidence where statistical analysis can make a real difference.


 

BSc Mathematics, Statistics and Business

 

Alvin Yuanchen Wang

Yuanchen Wang
Year of Graduation:
2016
Job title: Data and Analytics Senior Associate at PwC
LinkedIn

Tell us about what you do
I currently work as a senior associate at PwC’s ever-growing data and analytics practice. We provide data oriented solutions, with the spectrum ranging from descriptive data analysis to prescriptive machine learning predictions, to solve some of the biggest global challenges for our clients predominately in the financial services industry (Banking, Capital Markets, Asset and Wealth management). The work ranges from short proof of concepts to demonstrate the benefits of harnessing big data using scaled Machine Learning, all the way to long term regulatory based data projects such as GDPR and MIFID II. I’ve been fortunate enough to have driven and implemented several machine learning initiatives, using Python and PySpark, for two global banks in this area.

Where have you worked previously?
Prior to PwC, I worked for Accenture’s AI practice for just under two years. My role was very similar to that at PwC – using advanced analytics and machine learning drive value for our clients in the financial services industry. I helped a global bank develop a Machine Learning Classifier that can substantially reduce costs one of their Financial Crime domains using SAS, and also worked with an external vendor in implementing customer and counter-party clustering using topological data analysis.

How did you get into the field you currently work in?
At LSE, I was heavily involved in the LSE SU Consultancy Society, which ultimately led me to join Accenture as a graduate. After the first three months at Accenture, I realised that traditional management/strategy consultancy wasn't for me, as I personally wasn’t able to fully maximise my statistics knowledge and skills gained from LSE in that area. Hence I quickly capitalised on the great opportunity to move into Accenture’s AI practice to set foot upon the exciting Data Science and Analytics sphere!

What made you choose LSE Statistics?
I chose LSE Statistics for two main reasons. The first reason being LSE! LSE is truly a diverse, international and global university where you can experience over 150 nationalities and cultures within a few blocks concentrated in Holborn. Being an ethnic Chinese growing up in the suburbs of London, this was truly an eye-opening experience that wasn't to be missed. Secondly, specifically on Statistics, LSE’s Statistics department provide courses which contain the right balance on theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge (e.g. group-work). The theory taught in first and second year give you the foundations to becoming a well nurtured statistician, and during third year the flexibility of modules ensures you can choose modules to prepare you for a statistics oriented career of your choice, whether it is academia or industry!

What was the main thing you learned from studying at LSE’s Department of Statistics?
The doors and opportunities that a degree in Statistics at LSE can open for you given we live in a world full of data (which is growing exponentially) this century!

What are some of your key memories from your time spent here, and why do you think it is important to remain connected to LSE?
Honestly too many! Inviting speakers and organising the annual consultancy conference for the LSESU Consultancy Society, meeting people who grew up on the other side of the world and having deep conversations with friends in the library at 1am in the weeks leading up to the exam season just to name a few! It's crucial to remain connected with LSE because you just never know when and how the LSE network (e.g. alumni network, former coursemates) could suddenly help you in your career again!

Do you have any hobbies or projects outside of work?
Watching basketball (NBA) and football, going for a run in the gym, and staying on top of the news in this ever-changing world we live in. Always got to have hobbies outside work! More recently I have also undertook a part time evening MSc in Data Science whilst working at PwC.

What would you tell someone thinking of studying at the Department of Statistics?
Try to always think about the practical and applicable side of the statistics modules, as opposed to purely learning the theory (e.g. where would systematic sampling be beneficial in the real world?). It would make things much more relevant to reality. Statistics aside, I would recommend just making the most out of what LSE can offer you and try step out of your comfort zone – change and growth happens outside this area!

 

MSc Data Science

 

Michal Heydel

Michal Heydel 
Year of Graduation: 2018 
Job title: Data Scientist at QuantCo 
LinkedIn 

Tell us about what you do  
I currently work as a Data Scientist at a Smart Data Analytics company, QuantCo. We specialise in data science, engineering, and economics to help organisations turn data into decisions. My work ranges from harnessing big data using scalable machine learning, through designing and evaluating experiments, to leading key strategy meetings with clients. 

How did you get into the field you currently work in?  
The education provided by the Departament of Statistics gave me a strong advantage in the job market and I landed a fantastic job. I met QuantCo through the LSE SU Machine Learning Society, in which I was involved in.

What made you choose LSE Statistics?
The Department of Statistics offers a great balance between the theoretical modules and more practical ones. I believe it is one of the few course that provides you with tools and methods that are used on a day-to-day basis in a workplace / professional context. Personally I use 90% of the knowlegde gained during my studies in my daily job. 

What was the main thing you learned from studying at LSE’s Department of Statistics?  
I would say generally critical thinking and getting exposure to real-life problems in the professional world. For example, during my Master’s Capstone Project, I had the opportunity to work alongside data scientists from Facebook Research. 

What are some of your key memories from your time spent here, and why do you think it is important to remain connected to LSE?  
Ohh, there are many! Organising one of the largest stundent-run conference at LSE, the LSE SU Polish Economic Forum, attending interesting talks, conferences organised by the faculty or other societies, staying late nights with my collegues at the library and having interesting conversations. I think it is important to continue building a strong alumni community. It is always interesting to meet alumni, share LSE experiences, and see other career paths that people have taken. Just recently, I met an alumni group in Germany and Singapore, it was cool to recall the memories from LSE!

Do you have any hobbies or projects outside of work? 
Yes, I try to devote my spare time to sports. In winter I go skiing, whereas during summer I try to find time to go windsurfing and surfing. In the evening, I often listen to podcasts, audiobooks or have a call with friends around the world.

What would you tell someone thinking of studying at the Department of Statistics? 
I would have definitely done it again! The advice I would give to someone is to take advantage of their time at LSE and being in London. LSE offers not only a great education but also the possibility to explore various career opportunities and learn about interesting things by attending different conferences and events. Be sure to enjoy your time as a student!

What has been the best experience in your career to date? 
The feeling that you directly impact a companies’ performance and solving problems using state-of-art methods gives you a unique experience. I always look forward to A/B test results to see the impact we can create and that keeps me extremely satisfied with my current position.

What's the best piece of advice you ever received? 
I once heard that everyone has their own pace, especially in their career. That encourages me to avoid comparison to others, and just focus on self-development.

 

MSc Financial Statistics

 

Rahee Ambani

Rahee Ambani
Year of Graduation: 2018
Job title: Associate, CDC Group plc
LinkedIn 

Tell us about what you do 
I work with the Chief Investment Office of an asset management company based out of London. My role involves a significant amount of analytics, strategy and building a top down view of the investment portfolio. 

What made you choose LSE Statistics? 
The wide range of courses offered by the Department and the diversity of the class every year encouraged me to join LSE. This course also opened up a large avenue of exciting job and research opportunities ranging from media analytics, risk analytics and strategy to quantitative research.

What was the main thing you learned from studying at LSE’s Department of Statistics? 
The coursework challenges you to take up theoretical concepts and apply them to real world problems. The Practitioners Challenge held at LSE with Apsara Capital was an exciting opportunity to make use of learning from the Time Series classes.

What are some of your key memories from your time spent here, and why do you think it is important to remain connected to LSE? 
Looking back at the long hours spent in group study at the library and the George IV (in that order!), I realise what a close knit and collaborative community I was a part of at LSE. Even after starting to work, I continue learning by working on investment research projects with former classmates. 

Do you have any hobbies or projects outside of work? 
I grew up playing lawn tennis at a competitive level and continue to pursue it even today. I have also been working part time with a textile manufacturer in India to set up a production unit that employs disadvantaged women. All profits from the sale of products go to funding of education and housing for these women.  

What would you tell someone thinking of studying at the Department of Statistics? 
I would say that each class offered by the Department is uniquely challenging and interesting. The professors are extremely engaging and helpful even outside the classroom. The student community is very diverse and the alumni network is widespread within London and internationally. 

What is the greatest challenge you’ve had to overcome? 
As someone looking to start a career, with so many options out there post a degree from LSE, I found it particularly challenging to be able to make a decision on which path to follow. For instance, while studying at LSE I always thought I would be a quantitative researcher at a financial institution. It was only after interviewing and meeting more people did I realise that what sounded good in theory would not be right for me in practise.

What has been the best experience in your career to date?
I am currently running point on two projects and working directly with several senior professionals to obtain the end objectives. The first project entails creating a new risk tool and presenting it to the company board later this year.  I am also working on creating a macroeconomic strategy framework for a key region for my current firm. This has been a great learning opportunity both in terms of project content and developing my soft skills.

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*NEW PROFILE!*

Antonio_Pombeiro_2019_01_Email

Antonio Pombeiro
Year of Graduation:
2013
Job Title: Origination & Structuring – Life Team
LinkedIn 

Tell us about what you do
I work for an Insurance-Linked Securities Fund that focuses on investing its assets where the key risk driver is an insurance risk. My focus is to find and structure transactions in the life and health insurance space so that they are suitable and meet our investment mandate.

A simple example of this are longevity swaps or financing transactions where the main risk of not being repaid is a biometric risk like lapse, mortality or disability. 

Where have you worked previously?
Previously I worked in the Insurance Solutions Group team at Nomura in London, providing structured solutions for life insurance companies in Europe. These solutions were focused on capital relief and increasing capital for insurers under Solvency II. Before that I was at EY working in the financial services department. 

How did you get into the field you currently work in?
I chose my undergraduate degree in Actuarial Science because I liked Statistics and Mathematics, however I had no idea if I would like insurance/reinsurance. Towards the end of my undergraduate degree, I started to appreciate the difficulty of estimating future events and some of the techniques/models used for this in insurance. I followed through with this interest by getting an internship at Allianz in London working for their (non-life) capital modelling team. I found the job interesting at first, but soon realised that I needed to have a broader exposure to the insurance sector, including life insurance. So consulting was the next logical step. Eventually, as I understood more about insurance and what each different player in the market did, I decided to join an investment bank following my Masters degree at LSE. 

What made you choose LSE Statistics?
LSE is a fantastic university in the heart of one of the main financial centers of the world. Being so close to potential employers and having a strong academic faculty allows its students to get a unique exposure to the required skills to become a well-rounded professional.

Also, the Statistics department has a strong reputation worldwide and the more finance/quantitative courses were very appealing to me given what I wanted to do after my Masters. LSE was also the only university providing a combination of statistics, finance and computational courses that were very interesting for me and the career path I had in mind.

What was the main thing you learned from studying at LSE’s Department of Statistics?
I learned many things during my time at LSE. I significantly developed my statistical, financial and computational skills, with the different courses offered by the department. The computational courses were very useful to put some of the theory learned in other courses to practise with some “real world” examples. These skills were also very useful during more technical job interviews I had. 

What are some of your key memories from your time spent here, and why do you think it is important to remain connected to LSE?
I remember fondly of the times spent at the library with my colleagues, and all the people I met at the halls of residence. I am still in touch and good friends with many of them. In fact, I shared a flat with one of my colleagues for six years after completing my Masters! I still attend many events organized by the Statistics Department and the LSE. This is a good way to keep in touch with colleagues and listen to great speakers as well as getting to know the most recent graduates and expanding my network. 

Do you have any hobbies or projects outside of work?
I love water sports (surf and spear fishing) and I used to kitesurf back home competitively. In London this is harder, so I play a lot of tennis and padel instead. One of my projects outside work is trying to build my own house! 

What would you tell someone thinking of studying at the Department of Statistics?
I would say that it is one of the best investments in your future, both in an academic and professional way.  If I could go back in time, studying at the LSE’s Statistics Department would certainly be something I would do again!

I would also add that it is important to make the most of all the resources provided by the LSE and the Statistics Department, which are many and build long-lasting friendships. 

What is the greatest challenge you've had to overcome?
During my time as a Masters student, it was hard to apply for jobs and internships while preparing for exams and course work. Managing time efficiently is crucial and something that initially I was not very good at. It is also important to research the role you are applying to beforehand, to make sure you come across as a motivated candidate – as you can guess, this also takes time! 

What has been the best experience in your career to date?
I am currently discussing with company CFOs and Chief Actuaries different financing and capital solutions for their businesses. This is very stimulating, because it involves strategically thinking about how to best meet their needs while taking into account my company’s investment constraints.

 

MSc Risk and Stochastics

*NEW PROFILE!*  

Detian Chen

Detian Chen 
Year of Graduation: 2013 
Job title: Product Tagging Validation and Model Risk Control Specialist, Deutsche Bank AG, Filiale London 

Tell us about what you do
I work as a product tagging validation and model risk control specialist at Deustche Bank AG, Filiale London. My tasks essentially consists primarily of the analysis of financial products and trade booking to construct and revise the logic required to automatically determine the product type by capturing the main features of the financial product, as well as assessing the accuracy and good usage of parameters from the financial pricing models within Deustche Bank.  This ultimately provides management as well as Trading with the information needed to subsequently make decisions which remediate any inaccuracies in financial product definition and labelling as well as financial model usage and parameter calibration issues, thereby improving the Model Risk Control environment.

Where have you worked previously?
I have previously worked as an Independent Price Verification Analyst as well as a Valuations Analyst at Société Générale Corporate and Investment Banking Group in France, where my tasks consisted mainly of calculating independent pricing verification profit and loss adjustments to financial positions, assessing and monitoring market risk levels through fluctuations of relevant market parameters and the financial positions' sensitivities to the underlying parameters, as well as developing methodologies to assess potential market risk levels associated with market unobservable pricing parameters. I decided to ultimately switch roles as I wanted to seek new challenges as well as work in a new field other than valuations and market risk assessment after working for more than 5 years and a half in the field, as well as return to London to seek further opportunities.

How did you get into the field you currently work in?
I have decided during my pre-university that I would like to study in a field related to applied mathematics and statistics as I always had an interest for the studies for mathematics and statistics. I discovered that Finance had a lot of subjects which explored knowledge of advanced mathematical and statistical modelling and using such knowledge to value and price new and innovative financial products and derivatives in the market. I then decided to pursue my studies within Finance 

What made you choose LSE Statistics?
I always wanted to pursue postgraduate studies within the field of financial risk management by applying advanced knowledge in statistics and mathematics. I also wanted to study and gain experience overseas, and upon learning that LSE Statistics has the MSc Risk and Stochastics programme which corresponds to a course profile that for me is ideal for gaining the skills and knowledge to pursue a carrer in Financial Risk Management, I decided to choose LSE Statistics and apply to the MSc Risk and Stochastics programme. I also figured that London is the center of the Finance industry and beneficial for my career prospects, which further enhanced my desire to pursue my postgraduate studies at LSE Statistics.

What was the main thing you learned from studying at LSE’s Department of Statistics?
The main thing I have learned from studying at the LSE’s Department of Statistics are the various mathematical and statistical as well as computational methodologies to model, price and value financial derivatives traded in the financial markets, particularly exotic financial derivatives, all of which are crucial to the current and past roles that I have worked in. The knowledge I acquired on financial product modelling and the underlying mathematical processes used to construct such models are a foundation of the knowledge base that allowed me to pursue my current career in financial risk management

What are some of your key memories from your time spent here, and why do you think it is important to remain connected to LSE?
Some of the key memories consisted of being able to discuss topics on advanced knowledge and material on finance and mathematics as well as current events within the financial markets outside of the courses with the professors as well as being able to connect with many of my fellow classmates and make friends with them, particularly during the visit to Cumberland Lodge at the beginning of the Michaelmas Term. It is important to keep connected to the LSE as it is an important network which allows everyone to keep up to date with the knowledge about various topics and current events that has been happening around the world, as well as to revisit former classmates and professors for a discussion on various topics of interest. Plus, LSE Events does feature a lot of interesting lectures on various topics outside of my subject of study and it is always good to acquire knowledge that currently affect the world.

Do you have any hobbies or projects outside of work?
My main project outside of work consists of currently being an ambassador for the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). This essentially entails giving presentations and talks to various groups of audiences on various topics of Financial as well as Non-Financial Risk Management, particularly the hot topics which currently affect the finance and other industries such as Climate Risk. It also consists of promoting the various activities, projects and certifications currently offered and undertaken by GARP and try to raise awareness in the field of risk management. On top of this I also frequently attend lectures on various topics of interest organized by LSE Events on the LSE campus in order to increase my knowledge base on topics outside of Finance and Banking

What would you tell someone thinking of studying at the Department of Statistics?
I definitely recommend it for anyone looking to gain knowledge in order to pursue a career in Finance or any other fields which requires skills in mathematics and statistics. The quality of the courses presented is definitely very high and the professors within the department are very knowledgeable and available at any time for question or help of other form. There are also a lot of activities that a student can do outside of the classroom with his or her peers other than studying, for example the yearly visit to Cumberland Lodge where students get to socialize. Overall it is a very positive experience.

What has been the best experience in your career to date?
The best experience that I’ve had in my career up to date was the ability to participate in a Risk Management symposium last year, where I was able to gain valuable and insight on the risk management world, both within Financial and Non Financial Risk. I was able to build my professional network and make acquaintances with many professionals who work within similar fields of valuations and market risk management as I did. It was an overall very enriching experience.

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Katie Rudd

Katie Rudd
Year of Graduation: 2012
Job title: VP, Analytics at Beach & Associates

Tell us about what you do
I am a qualified Actuary and Chartered Enterprise Risk Actuary (CERA), working as part of the Analytics team at a reinsurance broking firm. Our team works in partnership with the brokers and our clients (Insurance companies) to design and implement reinsurance solutions which are tailored to their individual needs. As an Actuary, this begins with looking at the supporting data, through to analysing portfolios, and meeting with clients and target markets to explain our analysis and conclusions. It is a highly collaborative process with a lot of exposure across the business and in the wider market.

Where have you worked previously?
After graduating from LSE I worked in Actuarial Consulting at Deloitte, before moving to work as a Marine Pricing Actuary at Talbot Underwriting, where I qualified in 2016. I moved to Beach in October of 2017 as an AVP, and was promoted to VP in 2018.

What made you choose LSE Statistics?
The MSc Risk and Stochastics at LSE offered an opportunity to expand on my areas of interest following my Bachelor’s Degree, and of course the great reputation of the School, which I knew would help me when I started looking for work.

Do you have any hobbies or projects outside of work?
I’ve recently started studying wine, and I’ve taken two qualifications through the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, which include learning about the winemaking process across the world, as well as tasting.

What is the greatest challenge you've had to overcome? 
Not sure if it’s the biggest challenge, but moving from the mostly theoretical world of my masters degree to working with actual clients and data was a big adjustment! Luckily the other major change when moving from a degree programme to a work environment is that it is much more collaborative, and I was immediately part of a team. Having other graduates and more senior team members as a resource was extremely helpful as part of the transition to working full time. 

What has been the best experience in your career to date?
It isn’t a single experience, but getting to work with great people who all have different perspectives in order to solve a problem together is something that I really enjoy about my job. That, as well as meeting with clients and reinsurance markets to present and support my work is really rewarding, as well as a great learning opportunity.

What's the best piece of advice you ever received?
Get involved! Don’t be shy to put yourself forward for different opportunities as you never know when you might find something unexpected that you love doing.

What would you tell someone who's thinking of pursuing a career in Actuarial Science?
I would say there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. Especially in recent years, the role of Actuaries within insurance companies and beyond has been expanding, and it really is up to you what you make of it. The system of actuarial exams provides a great baseline of knowledge, but it is up to you to decide where you want to take it. 

 

MSc Statistics

 

Marion Brethe

Marion Brethe 
Year of Graduation: 2012 
Job title: Business Analyst 
LinkedIn 

Tell us about what you do 
I worked as a Business Analyst at Google for the last few years but I left in 2019 to focus on my next project. I love art history so my aim is to become a researcher in the field and apply statistics to the study of artworks. I am working towards that goal by starting an art history course at Oxford.

Where have you worked previously?  
I have worked in a number of marketing analytics roles since graduating from LSE. I find the application of statistics to marketing fascinating. As an analyst, my aim is to bring life to raw data, build a story to understand which products customers are most likely to buy, what their shopping patterns are, and which segments of the population we should target for our marketing campaigns. It is a mix of social science, decision science and statistics!

How did you get into the field you currently work in?  
As a teenager, I would read the national surveys produced by the government to better understand the population - I suppose I was then trying to figure out the world for myself! Only later did I discover that these reports were most and foremost “just” statistics. I then decided to do a degree in statistics. I wasn’t even really good at maths - but this is where perseverance came in handy!

What made you choose LSE Statistics?  
After my bachelor degree, I worked in Ireland as a Risk Analyst for a few years. I soon felt I needed to study a little bit more to hone my statistical skills. A masters also gives you better recognition in the analytical field and I knew LSE, a world-class university, would give me the best experience in terms of teaching and environment. 

What are some of your key memories from your time spent at LSE?  
I loved writing my thesis. Exams were over, we had two months to write it over the summer. I have really fond memories of the summer days, where a few of us would meet at the library, study together and wrap up early so we could enjoy a few drinks at the nearby pub.   

What would you tell someone thinking of studying at the Department of Statistics? 
Studying Statistics at LSE not only gives you the strong statistical background you need to get a fantastic job, it also gives you the opportunity to be part of a dynamic and exciting School - assist at conferences and events, make friends from all over the world and learn from incredible teachers.

I loved the fact that you can pick and choose the modules from the programme, so there is something for everybody, from someone looking for highly-technical statistic theory to someone, (like me), who is interested in the real-life applications of statistics. 

What is the greatest challenge you've had to overcome?Going back to school after a few years working in a company was not easy. I needed some help with calculus at the beginning and I was not used to preparing for exams anymore, - but this taught me that it is ok to ask for help, from fellow students and teachers.

What's the best piece of advice you ever received? 
Keep it simple! We often tend to overcomplicate things. Thinking too much, complicated dissertation topics, wordy presentations, complex modelling. But in my opinion, even complicated statistical concepts can be explained in very simple terms, business problems can be solved with simple models... and stakeholders will love you for it! 

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? 
Nothing! I found the course challenging and the technical skills learnt during my year at LSE are now extremely useful in my work. The course helped me gain the confidence I needed. And I met incredible people while studying there, both within the Department and wider School.

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Fergal

Fergal Smithwick 
Year of Graduation: 2013
Job title: Effectiveness Lead, Wavemaker UK
LinkedIn

Tell us about what you do
I work as the Effectiveness Lead at a subsidiary of Group M, the world’s largest advertising media company. In a nutshell, my job entails liaising with our internal client agencies and the clients themselves in order to make their marketing and advertising as effective as possible.For the greater part, this involves building statistical models of client sales to explain the variation in volumes. One of the many inputs into this analysis is advertising activity. As a result, we can attribute sales to each piece of media activity at a granular level.Ultimately, by working out the Return on Investment of each media type, I will make recommendations to the client on how to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their marketing strategy.

Where have you worked previously?
Whilst studying for my undergraduate degree, I took an internship as an actuary at Aviva. This could have been a promising career however I was turned off the industry by the monotony of the role, as well as the prospect of continuous examination throughout a career as an actuary.My first role after qualification from LSE was in a media brand tracking agency. This was also in the media industry but was more focused on tracking brand image statements for different brands. My work here involved using logistic regression to test whether exposure to advertising tended to improve an individual’s perception of a brand.Since then I’ve mainly worked as an econometrician within media effectiveness at various media conglomerates.

How did you get into the field you currently work in? 
I like to say I ended up in the media industry by accident/coincidence. When looking for my first grad role, I came across an opportunity which would allow me to practice some of the statistical modelling I had been studying for so long in real life and so I gave it a go. Very soon I realised that there was another field in the media industry specifically for econometrics, which was my favourite subject from my student years. This was very exciting and I leapt at the opportunity to get involved.

What made you choose LSE Statistics?
Throughout my undergraduate degree in Economics and Mathematics, I always loved the modules that blended the two subjects such as Econometrics, Time Series, and Statistics. As a result, my ambition was always to complete a Masters in Statistics so I had a few choices.I weighed up a number of options from University College Dublin, University of Edinburgh, and LSE each of whom had interesting MSc Statistics courses. LSE always had an excellent repution over other London Universties and the allure of moving to the vast cultural metropolis of London was really exciting for me. Additionally, London also has an enormous jobs market, and the LSE brand carries a well respected weight to employers so I knew I’d be putting myself in a good position career wise to take on the LSE Statistics masters.

What are some of your key memories from your time spent here, and why do you think it is important to remain connected to LSE? 
What surprised me the most and has made quite fond memories for me is how pleasant and friendly most students are at LSE in particular. The speed at which I made new and genuine friends that have remained close to this day is a testament to the shared bond we have as alumni.It’s also a great comfort to know that when I meet another alumni of LSE that I’ll have something in common with them – not just having attended the same University but more that in all likelihood, they’re a likeminded hardworking, collaborative, and friendy person, all of of which are attributes required to attend and complete a masters at LSE.

Do you have any hobbies or projects outside of work?
I run competitively for an athletics club in north London called Highgate Harriers. I race in cross country, track, and road races which may be local races, national competitions, and sometimes international. My best achievements are running 5k in 15m03s and 10k in 31m20s.I also love travelling as much as I can and getting out in the outdoors in far flung places. My most recent trip was to Japan to watch Ireland playing in the Rugby World Cup. Whilst there, I travelled out to the Japanese Alps and hiked up the 2,500m Mount Yake in the Kamicochi National Park. 

How has the programme you studied helped your career since you graduated?
LSE Statistics program was excellent at exposing me to so many new and different techniques that can be used for statistical modelling. It’s expanded my knowledge and competencies of different forms of modelling that I can now choose from to apply to different business problems. For example, a recent use case was applying multilevel modelling to a multi brand model, whereas before I’d have simply modelled each brand in a separate model.

 

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Watch this video taken at the Department of Statistics Alumni networking panel in 2019 Dida Media