"Hi! My name is Philippa and I'm the student ambassador for the Master's Programme in Data Analytics and Business Economics. I am happy to answer any questions you might have about the programme, courses, student life, and life in Lund and Sweden via the Unibuddy Platform, where you can chat with me (see below). Please note that I cannot answer questions about the application process, scholarships, or residence permits."
Why did you choose this programme?
"After my Bachelor's, I did a few years of work and was mostly working in marketing and innovation. So, I was involved a lot in data and finding patterns and insights, and then writing brand strategies. We relied a lot on consumer market research and used that knowledge from the data to then advise a business on what product to innovate or what products to produce. But sometimes, I felt like we were just being given data or knowledge that had already been collected. So, I thought, wouldn't it be awesome instead if I was maybe working on a team where I was doing that data aggregation myself? Then I checked Lund University and a few other universities, but it was mainly Lund that had a really solid programme on this topic. I got lucky because it's actually the first year they are offering it as well."
What do you think about your programme (so far)?
"For someone like me who has been out of school for a while, I am finding the programme is really well structured. It’s a one-year programme so it's been a bit fast-paced and there are a few difficult courses. But generally, you feel that interconnectedness of the subjects we study and the purpose and relevance right now. We study machine learning and even the basic ramifications of replacing human jobs. At the same time, we have a legal course to start to learn about the ethical and moral situations in which we are using data (you need to be conservative about what the regulations are about data sharing, data collection and stuff like that). Then we also study data visualization, which is how then you visualize data patterns. So yeah, it's really been good!"
What is the best thing about your programme?
"We are learning about artificial intelligence and ethics and about what happens when there's a security or safety issue from the AI programme (for example a car crash from a self-driving car). So who's to blame? Is it the owner? Is it the project team? Do you blame the actual program or the actual unit itself? You might say it is malfunctioning or something like that. So just looking at how AI can be used to work with humans has been great – we've been taught a lot."
To what extent did your degree programme prepare you for a career in your field?
"In my opinion, I would say I think it has prepared us for getting hired. But if you don't do extra work on your own, like self-learning, then you might be lagging behind. Let's say in terms of programming languages – for example, if you wanted to learn Python, Lund provides free Python classes to students which can be helpful for an exam or project. So if you want to do that, you could teach yourself. If you don't know Python and you're going out in the data world, you have a disadvantage compared to a data scientist. So, a lot of it is up to the student on the self-learning on the side, but I think that’s how Master’s programmes are supposed to be."
What do you do in your spare time? Are you involved in any extracurricular activities?
"Yeah, so I made friends in the first few weeks by joining a nation right away. You could go to nation events on your own in the first weeks and then meet new people who are still your friends right now. Also, in the first few weeks, before school started, my class used to get together and get to know each other. I think that also led to a few close relationships as well. In general, just finding activities to stay busy or to keep out of your room during the day is helpful. I do things like hiking or going to another town or area to visit."
Have you been able to get by with English in Sweden?
"Yeah, I would say it’s easily adaptable here. Of course, I speak English because it's my country’s national language. I had plans to study Swedish, but then when we came in the first week, our program director told us it wasn't necessary because everyone else knows English. I always say it's kind of like back home. We have so many languages, because we have so many tribes, and you don't have to know all of them. You speak English at work as well. So I think it's been easy. People first speak to me in Swedish which I think is nice, because then they're not discriminating in any way, but I just ask them to speak English and it is no problem."
Have more questions for Philippa?
You can chat with her and other current students directly via Unibuddy.