Haiqin Zhuang MSc Data Science

‌Current MSc Data Science student Haiqin Zhuang, from China, looked to enhance her SAS and SQL skills whilst working for The Co-operative Insurance group in Manchester.

How and why did you choose to work with business?

“I am working for the business as part of my MSc Data Science. I wanted a course that would allow me to gain experience in the technologies used in commercial data science, that would enable me to apply my mathematical knowledge and enable me to gain work experience through an industry placement."

What company project are you working on and what have you done so far?

"I will be spending three months with The Co-operative Insurance company in Manchester. I will be working on developing and testing models within their analytics team and will be able to see the results of my work applied to their business.

"I’m hoping to gain familiarity with how data science is used within a commercial orgnanisation and what can be achieved using analytics. I’m looking to enhance my skills in SAS and SQL, and, hopefully, be well-placed to find a good job in data science afterwards."

What problem did the organisation face? What did they ask you to do to help them?

"During 2014, a Co-operative Member Score was developed for its current and future Motor Insurance customers. This is a unique customer-level scorecard derived from the Co-operative Group data, comprising 8million members. It is being introduced as a live pricing tool to deliver a better motor insurance proposition for all of these members in 2015. Developing it requires extensive analytic resource, investigating potential new data variables from the extensive membership database."

What skills did you use and develop working with the company? 

"The work is helping me develop my proficiency in SQL and SAS, my ability to analyse large sets of data efficiently, and my mathematics ability."

What did you do for the business?

"I am analysing group membership data to identify and create new variables which help predict customer behaviour.  I am investigating trends in conversion and cancellation rates and working closely with the Home and Motor Pricing teams, using Microsoft SQL Server and SAS to analyse the data and Towers Watson Emblem, a generalised linear modelling programme, to identify trends and produce models. I am also helping to identify predictive variables and produce a range of bespoke variables that will be used to improve the membership scorecard."

Did you get paid for your work? 

"The company will provide a bursary direct to me in the region of £1,000 to £3,000."

Would you recommend your course to prospective students? If so, why?

"Being on this course has developed my confidence in a number of areas – in programming, data mining, visualisation and in the presentation of my results. The modular format of the course allowed me to shape my own learning in the areas most appealing to me. The industry placement made the course very attractive as this is a way to leave university with proof that I’m able to use data science techniques in the workplace. I have also been pleased with the diverse nature of the students on this course – being able to share ideas with people from different countries and different backgrounds has really helped us to learn."