MiM alumni and Accenture Digital Strategy Consultant, Caryn Tan, sat down with us to talk about how her LBS experience led her to pursue a career in analytics and her thoughts on how LBS’s new Master in Analytics and Management (MAM) programme addresses a very real skills gap in the industry.
Can you tell us a little bit about your role and working within the analytics space?
I currently work at Accenture in the digital practice, wearing two hats in the analytics space. Under one hat I’m an analytic strategist, where I help businesses and executives think about analytics. This involves talking to businesses about if it’s worthwhile them investing in analytics, what’s the return on investment and how do they then look at analytics for their whole organisation and operationalise it. The other hat that I wear is in a really exciting and topical space, which is around responsible AI. I work closely with the global responsible AI lead of Accenture looking at how we help clients safely and responsibly deploy and govern algorithms. As we move into a world where more and more decisions will be automated, we look at how to ensure that algorithms are fair and do not result in ineffective predictions and injustice on a huge scale.
Why did you choose to seek out a career in analytics?
My exposure at LBS is the reason I’ve ended up in my current role and in the area that I’ve specialised in. We had a Global Immersion Field Trip (GIFT) to Silicon Valley, where we visited various tech companies, start-ups and scale-ups. I had a lot of conversations with people who emphasised the importance of data, regardless of the role they were doing, and I found this was a common theme threaded across many different companies and industries. I came home knowing analytics was an area I wanted to know more about. Fast forward 3.5 years and I am now working on the most cutting edge questions around ethics of AI in Accenture’s digital practice.
What impact did the LBS experience have on you?
Being at LBS has really made me understand the importance of networking, and thinking about where your strengths play in to add value to the conversations you’re having. It’s also given me connections with other programmes and people in my class. When thinking about where I want to be in my career, those conversations really helped me shape some of the more difficult decisions I had to make. It’s amazing to have a network of people who are like-minded, but also friends to discuss career decisions within an informal and friendly setting.
As a MiM graduate working in analytics, what are your thoughts on LBS’s new MAM?
The MAM programme couples what LBS is really good at – management modules around business and technical modules for analytics, and this combination gives a really good grounding for people looking to enter the analytics space. Businesses value strategist and employees who can translate between technical understanding and business. It is not uncommon to see people who do a data science degree to gain technical understanding but not with the goal of being a data scientist, but the scarcity of data scientists means that it’s easy to get fenced into only doing that specific work. A degree like the MAM programme is great because it signals to the market, I’ve not only got technical skills you’re after but I’m also someone that you can trust to put in front of a CEO to have business conversations. At present, I don’t know of any programme that caters to that like the MAM programme – and my company is already interested in speaking to MAM graduates!
What advice would you give to those looking to work within the analytics space?
Firstly, read up on the industry. Look at news and blogs to get a good grounding of the area so you can understand if it’s something that really does interest you. The space is really big, so once you’ve got a bit more knowledge, narrow it down and think what capacity you would be interested in becoming involved in as a career. Whether it’s AI for health-tech or developing the AI for a company regardless of the application, there’s a wide range of fields you can specialise in. You also don’t need to be technical to make impact in the space, this area requires strategists, project managers, operations, sales – the lot.
How do you think the importance of analytics and AI will grow in future workforces?
I feel like the area of analytics and AI is going to be very similar to what happened during the ‘.com’ boom when the internet became something that everyone could have access to. I think that in the future of work as a whole, analytics and AI will have its place regardless of industry, geography or organisation types – whether that’s business, government or not-for-profits, there’s going to be a lot of infusion of analytics and artificial intelligence. I think it’s a really exciting space to be in at the moment.