Alum of the Month - December 2021

Sona Abaryan

My degree from LSE gave me a broad perspective on business which has been a critical foundation to build on.
Sona Abaryan


  • Programme studied: BSc Management (former)
  • Year of Graduation: 2012
  • LinkedIn profile

Meet our Alum of the Month, Sona Abaryan. Sona is the Senior Manager at Ekimetrics, a boutique data science consultancy helping multinational companies apply advanced analytics to optimise their marketing and customer strategies.

Tell us about your career journey since graduating from LSE.

I began my career wanting to explore alternative paths. I worked at an engineering start up that invented an engine that runs on liquid air, before changing to work at a customer insight function at a large UK retailer.

I then combined my interest in analytics, the desire for diversity in my work and my appreciation of an entrepreneurial culture by joining Ekimetrics, now a leader in data science in Europe with more than 240 data scientists worldwide. As uncommon as it seems, I am consistently amazed at how applicable my management degree is to my work at Ekimetrics, especially the econometrics! My degree from LSE gave me a broad perspective on business which has been a critical foundation to build on.

What advice would you give to current students or young alumni looking to build a career in data science? 

I think the biggest advice I can give to aspiring data scientists is to learn about the fundamentals of business. Being a great data scientist is not about building the fanciest algorithms, but about being able to make the connection between data and business value. If it’s not part of your degree, getting involved in extracurricular data science projects is always a good signal to your future employer that you are committed to the discipline.
While at LSE, I wish I had taken more time to speak with people working in various industries to gain a stronger comprehension of what their roles and industries are truly like on a day-to-day basis. As a student, you are in a privileged position of having access to company presentations, networking events and a strong and committed alumni community who are willing to give you their time.

Are there any exciting projects you are currently working on or involved with that you can tell us about?

I recently worked for a large wedding dress retailer who were going through a management transition and the new management team had a strong vision and commitment to becoming the most customer centric wedding dress retailer in the industry. We leveraged search analytics to understand the voice of the customer in each of their key markets. These insights were used to adapt their marketing and communication strategy, but more importantly, their assortment and product strategy. This organically led us to assist them in the transformation of their customer experience in what is a highly emotional journey.
We had a huge impact on their business and quickly saw tangible results and action. I find that very fulfilling. 
You have recently co-led the diversity and inclusion agenda globally at Ekimetrics. Tell us more about your role in this and the impact this is having?

Even as a relatively small organisation, we knew we had to lay the right foundations for our growth in 2019. I was leading the recruitment efforts in our London office and it seemed natural to me to try to actively balance the pipeline of candidates with a dedicated networking event for women in consulting. With the support of our CEO, my colleague and I then took the initiative to tackle the topic of DE&I globally across our organisation, with a team of supporters with the aim of initiating and inspiring change across the organisation. We organised numerous workshops and trainings to raise awareness of unconscious bias and made D&I part of the company agenda and HR objectives.

Awareness alone does not move the needle so we reformed our recruitment practices and proactively tried to balance the pipeline of candidates with several initiatives, including hosting events for under-represented groups. We have a long way to go and continue to learn from experts and the newest research. 

It has been rewarding to see those efforts inspire the rest of the organisation and translate into strategic company objectives, recruitment and HR policy, as well as countless culture initiatives aimed at promoting an inclusive and supportive work environment. It’s no secret that representation and greater diversity leads to stronger performance, more innovation and creativity – something both Ekimetrics and our clients have to gain from. 

What do you think is the future for the fashion sector?
The fashion industry, like almost all industries, has faced its fair share of disruption through the pandemic and companies are still adapting to the challenges and opportunities of a sustained shift to e-commerce. Coupled with a whole new generation of expectations on sustainability, social responsibility and a growing virtual fashion market, brands are facing a retail, product and culture revolution. It will take a fiercely customer centric mindset, innovation and strong leadership to succeed in the new world. 

Share with us your fondest memory of the Department of Management.

I think the fondest memory is probably the quality of lecturers that we were exposed to – a great mix of academic experts and researchers, as well real-world practitioners. I particularly enjoyed the marketing module lectured by Jill Nurse and Vishal Talwar (if memory serves me well!).

I found the subject to be really interesting and the coursework to be the most relevant to the real world and my work!