Reflecting on my MSc…

Picture of Belen on the upper level of Victoria Street, with the road and row of coloured shop fronts below… by Belen / from Ecuador / MSc Operational Research with Data Science / PG

Coming from a background of Logistics and Transportation engineering and work experience in the transportation industry, I was looking for a MSc programme that could be tailored to my interests in optimization and data analytics. I found the MSc in Operational Research with Data Science at the University of Edinburgh, which was the perfect option for me since it offers a diverse pool of courses that balances perfectly both theory and application.

The programme has helped me develop strong foundations in different areas: statistics, optimization and programming. I was really happy to gain a robust theoretical basis, so that I am able to understand the mathematical theory behind optimization software and data analytics packages. Thus, I feel more prepared now to design customized solutions for diverse applications using multiple programming languages.

The programme offers very useful resources to guide our learning. The lectures were very organized; the projects were interesting and well structured. Therefore, we could apply our knowledge as well as enjoy working with others. The lecturers are very friendly and passionate about teaching. I have really enjoyed the workshops where we would go through problems together with my course mates. Moreover, the tutors were always generous and willing to assist us.

In addition, the program organized an Analytics Challenge with Edinburgh Airport, which represented a good opportunity to demonstrate our abilities while working on a real life problem. The Operational Research programme gave me the techniques I needed to face this challenge. Using the optimization, modelling and programming knowledge from my courses, I was able to formulate two models that could optimize the operations of the parking services at Edinburgh Airport.  Moreover, working with the analysts at the airport gave us a great insight to the business, its operations, and the importance of optimizing resources and data analysis. Most importantly of all, the challenge encouraged us to work as a team with people outside of our programmes where our different skillsets complemented one another.

Living in Edinburgh is like a dream come true. I am from Ecuador, and while I was arranging everything prior to arriving in Edinburgh, I had the great opportunity to meet Ecuadorian alumni from the University of Edinburgh. They were really nice and encouraged me to come here, not only for academics, but also for the magic of the city itself. And they were not wrong. The architecture and history of the city is absolutely breathtaking. Personally, I really enjoyed the Open Doors weekend when we had access to buildings that are not normally open to the public. I also adore the long walks in the beautiful parks, and love meeting my friends at cafes or pubs.

The university offers other resources, such as societies and clubs, which are a great opportunity to meet new people and has made my experience even more fruitful. I was able to get to know more people from Latin America who are pursuing programmes from other departments with interests very different than mine. We have had opportunities to share the similarities in our experience, while supporting each other. Joining societies and attending conferences are a great way not only to enhance our networking abilities, but also to see the world with a new perspective.

All in all, although it is an intense year of hard work, it is totally worth it. I have met incredible people over this journey that I can luckily call now my friends, while I have also attained the skills I need to boost my career.