Soon after completing my O and A-Levels, I enrolled onto an undergraduate degree focusing on Computer Science at Bahria University, Islamabad. After graduating, I worked as a Big Data trainee for 10 months, before eventually applying for a Masters degree at University of Leeds Business School. I graduated from the University of Leeds in December 2017, with a Masters of Science degree in Business Analytics and Decision Science.
Currently, I am working as a Data Engineer at Engro Corporation; a Pakistani multinational company. My responsibilities include performing Inferential and Exploratory data analysis of industrial IOT data, before generating predictive models using machine and deep learning.
Choosing the University of Leeds
Having studied at a British system institution for my primary and secondary education, I always favoured the British way of teaching. This meant that I was more inclined to choose a UK based university for my postgraduate studies.
When deciding which UK based university I wanted to apply to, I took in a number of factors. One of the things I looked at was the ranking of both the university and the Business School at Leeds. At the time of applying, the University of Leeds was the University of the Year in the UK and the Business School was and still is internationally recognised as being one of the top globally. Once I looked at the detailed course outline for the Business Analytics and Decision Science Masters degree I quickly realised the course was a perfect mix of technical and management, which was exactly what I was looking for.
Studying at the University of Leeds
Something I was not familiar with but found very beneficial were the seminar classes after lectures, where we were put into smaller groups and assigned a class tutor. During these seminars, we were able to ask specific questions about what we learnt in the lecture, which ensured every student understood the topic we just learnt. They were also essential to encourage teamwork, as we often had to work on tasks together.
The concurrent deadlines, whether it was for an assignment or presentation, really helped me improve my time management, a skill I rely on in my current job role.
Additionally, the highly qualified staff were very accommodating and were always there to help and provide guidance when needed. Due to the universitys strong industrial links, I learnt a lot from guest speaker sessions and workshops, with representatives coming in from PwC, KPMG and many more top companies.
As I was leaving my home country to pursue postgraduate studies, I knew that in England, language would not be a hurdle for me as I was already quite proficient in English. I was extremely worried about the registration process, finding my accommodation and opening a bank account. However, with the help of the University of Leeds International Student Office, who made sure that I feel completely at home, everything went very smoothly. I was given a welcome pack that contained everything from maps and sim cards to instructions on how to register with the health service and emergency contact details.
The numerous societies at Leeds University Union hosted give it a go sessions where you could try out each society to see which ones you wanted to join. They also hosted many events throughout the year, which students could be a part of or attend. My favorite society was the Global Café where the basic rule was to talk to complete strangers most of which were international students like myself. This helped me make many friends from different countries who I am still in contact with today.
Student life at Leeds is one of the things I miss the most. From state of the art Libraries, to warm and cozy pubs at the union the student experience in Leeds was great. Due to the large number of students living in the city, you could guarantee to always run into someone you would know while doing groceries or on a night out which meant you never felt alone.
Leeds was home to many of North Englands oldest markets and pubs that were great to visit and learn the history. At the same time, you could find many contemporary shopping centres like the Trinity and many different restaurants meaning that you always had something to do.
There was never a dull moment when it came to the university accommodations. Every accommodation had its own schedule of activities, whether it was planned dinners or trips to historical buildings or neighbouring cities, which gave you the chance to interact with people living in the same building as you. The communal areas in the accommodations were clean and there was always a warden on duty in case of any emergencies.
The career centre at the University of Leeds helped me to write and structure my resume. They also conducted mock interviews in the lead up to me moving back to Pakistan, which allowed me to secure employment when I returned.
My study experience at the University of Leeds enabled me to acquire technical skills such as Statistical analysis and machine learning which aided me in landing a job in my home country. The field of data science in Pakistan is in its infancy stage and therefore there is a shortage of people with relevant technical skills. I was fortunate enough that my Masters curriculum comprised of practical knowledge and techniques such as time-series analysis, clustering, classification and neural networks which is in demand right now.
I would highly recommend the University of Leeds to anyone who is interested in pursuing undergraduate or postgraduate studies in the UK.
If you want to make the most of studying abroad, I would advise the following: stay focused, study hard, make friends and learn about different cultures.