Shirley Lau

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Graduate Econometrician, MediaCom

The degree which Shirley studied, MSc Operational Research and Management Science, has changed its name to MSc Business Analytics.

I chose to study at LUMS because of Lancaster University's reputation and more importantly its reputation for Operational Research.

I particularly liked the fact that there was a real emphasis on being able to apply these analytical skills to the ‘real world’ through a client project. I was also offered an EPSRC scholarship which helped on the finance side of things!

I like the fact that this degree teaches you how to apply what you see on paper to the ‘real world’ and this is obviously a skill that is valued highly by employers. We also learnt a wide range of software such as excel VBA, SPSS, Eviews, etc, which makes us extremely employable.

My favourite modules were Pricing Analytics, Marketing Analytics and Forecasting because of all the modelling techniques learnt. It’s really fascinating to see the useful insights you can gain from vast amounts of data when applying the mathematical modelling techniques learnt at Lancaster. Another aspect of LUMS that I really liked is that you can really sense the genuine passion every lecturer has for their subject, and that enthusiasm translates across to the students!

My main focus at Lancaster was to study so I didn’t participate in many clubs/societies (although I was very tempted to join the baking society!). However I did nominate myself for course representative which was a great experience in terms of developing my leadership skills and I also organised Secret Santa for the Management Science department.

During my course I completed a three-month student project with British Gas in Cardiff, looking at improving their short-term forecasting within their call centres. From this I further developed my software skills, technical skills and communication skills. I also improved upon my presentation skills as the project required giving a final presentation to the clients – which was extremely nerve-wracking but definitely a rewarding experience!

I would sum up my experience at Lancaster as tough but rewarding. The knowledge you gain at Lancaster is really immense and valuable but it requires hard work and dedication.

Going to Lancaster University has really been key to the start of a successful career because without the MSc OR I don’t think I would have been lucky enough to work at MediaCom as a Graduate Econometrician – LUMS really has provided me with so many skills. The software skills such as Excel, SPSS and Eviews have really helped me in my role alongside the more technical knowledge learnt at Lancaster such as the mathematical/statistical modelling techniques, which is what my role is all about.