Tell us about yourself and your background.
My name is Jan, I am from a small city in Austria and finished the MSc in Business Analytics in 2019. Before starting my Master’s at WBS, I did a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and E-Business Management back in Austria. During that time, I gained my first international experience in Huelva, Spain, doing an exchange semester and completed a 7-month internship at BMW. Besides the course I founded a start-up together with 3 classmates, which standardised and digitised the process of claiming warranties. Through various scholarships we got the opportunity to get hands-on experience in Silicon Valley and Portugal with international experts. To keep myself physically and mentally fit, I play tennis, go running and read various types of books.
Why did you decide to study at WBS?
There are various reasons why I decided to pursue my Master’s at WBS. One of the main reasons was the international reputation of WBS itself, but also the reputation of the course, which is only possible because of the excellent teaching staff and the high standards in all fields (e.g. organisation of the course, state-of-the-art facilities and up-to-date content of the course). Another key factor why I chose WBS was the international environment because the students come from all around the globe and the possibility to work with international companies. The close relationship with the industry gave me the opportunity to write my dissertation as a consulting project together with a company and gain first hands-on experience.
Tell us about PwC and what your job involves
PricewaterhouseCoopers is a worldwide network of firms offering different kinds of services in the fields of assurance, tax & legal and advisory. PwC Germany has approximately 12,000 employees in 21 different cities and a revenue in 2019 of 2.3 billion euros. The company is working across all industries and all areas of business.
I am working as a Data Analytics Consultant on various analytics projects in all stages of the deals process, regardless of whether a company wants to sell parts of their business, buy another company or wants to prepare for an IPO. The tasks in a project involve data engineering to ensure the data quality, creating dashboards for the management in Tableau or using different modelling techniques. For example, predictive analytics to predict the customer churn rate, optimisation of production planning or using Natural Language Processing to carry out sentiment analysis.
How did the MSc Business Analytics course help you prepare for your role?
The MSc in Business Analytics helped me in various ways to be ready to face challenging problems in my day-to-day work. First of all, the course sharpened my way of thinking to see those challenging problems and come up with creative ideas to solve them using the most appropriate analytics method. Through different modules and external learning material like Datacamp, I was able to lay the technical foundation to know which methods to use and actually solve those problems in a structured way. The course also offered an ideal balance between learning the theory and applying the theoretical knowledge in challenging and real-world projects. Those group projects also prepared me on how to work within a dynamic and international environment and how to deal with different cultures.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
What I enjoy most about my role as a Data Analytics Consultant is the project-based work. You learn a lot about many different industries, different areas of business and various kinds of analytics techniques within a short period of time. This allows you to transfer knowledge from one business problem to another one which won’t be the case if you are stuck within one industry or are specialized in one field. This gives me a lot of space to grow personally and the freedom to choose the ideal career path for me.
What were the key things you took away from your course? How have they helped you in your career?
The course not only laid the foundation of my technical skills (like R, ETL or Tableau) which are definitely crucial to start a career in the field of analytics but also taught me to ask the right questions to understand the business problems of companies and convert it into a solvable analytics problem. The professors also provided us with a framework of how to tackle those problems in a structured way which I used during my dissertation project but also in my day-to-day work at PwC. Because my classmates came from countries all around the world, I needed to understand different cultures and be able to adapt to them during group projects to achieve the best result together as a team.
How did things change for you on completing your course?
After completing the course and finishing the consulting project as part of my dissertation, I was convinced that starting my professional career as a consultant in the field of analytics would be the ideal choice. Therefore, I applied to several consulting firms where analytics will play a key role in the future and decided to accept the offer from PwC Germany to join the Deals Analytics & Technology Service team and move to Munich. It was an easy choice to move to a new city because some of my closest friends from WBS moved there too and made it easy to feel comfortable.
Did you utilise the WBS CareersPlus team whilst you were studying at WBS?
During my time at WBS, I used the services of CareersPlus several times and they helped me to get my applications ready. In face-to-face meetings, the staff helped me to put the right information in my CV, tried to improve the wording in cover letters and provided useful tips and tricks on where to find the best job offers and how to use the WBS alumni network to get more information about a company.
Tell us about The Operational Research Society and how you became a runner up for the May Hicks award.
The OR Society is the professional membership body of the operational research community in the UK. The OR Society provides training, conferences, publications and information to those working in OR. The Society also promotes OR in education and business, and as a career. The May Hicks awards reward the best post-graduate projects carried out with a client organisation within the field of OR. I submitted my project with Exponea for this award at the request of my supervisor who said that it is an excellent project which actually solves a business problem of the company in an innovative way.
In cooperation with Exponea, a Slovak marketing analytics company, this dissertation helped an electronics e-commerce company to improve their digital marketing strategy in two steps. Through clustering analysis, the e-commerce company could segment their customers into groups and have a deep understanding of their behaviour on the website. This includes their buying behaviour, their favourite marketing channel or if it is a private or business customer. Furthermore, the recommendation system helps to offer their customers products that they are most likely to buy based on the products they prefer on the website. The results of both the analyses supported the client of Exponea to tailor their marketing campaigns and personalise the website to the preferences of each customer cluster.
What would you say to someone thinking of applying for your course at WBS?
The MSc in Business Analytics fulfilled and exceeded my expectations in any way. The content of the course is up-to-date and a lot of group projects allow you to apply the theoretical knowledge right away. At WBS you will find excellent professors and staff who will lay the technical foundation but also show you how to think innovatively and how to ask the right questions and tackle challenging problems. Alongside the modules themselves, the course offers a wide range of opportunities to upskill yourself like Datacamp or interesting workshops to further develop your technical skills. I would also advise any future student to join a society of their interest to find your career path or to follow their passion, in order to build their own network and make lifelong friendships.