About my degree: MSc Business Analytics by Jiadan Xiang

I remember how I was attracted by the magic of business analytics for the first time during my first internship where I worked as an operations assistant. Through analysing tens of thousands of records, I was able to identify the company operations, find out the factors that influence the behaviour, and even predict the future revenue. At that time, Excel was the main tool I used. This got me thinking that if I can use this basic software to carry out such detailed analysis, what extraordinary information will I get when I managed to analyse businesses scientifically with more advanced tools? This simple question to myself soon ignited my passion to develop my analytical skills.

The MSc Business Analytics at Lancaster University perfectly bridges the gap between my passion and reality. It provides a well-designed course structure, hands-on skills and training, which has equipped me with a critical evaluating capacity and an in-depth understanding of the industry. Besides the compulsory modules, I chose “Forecasting”, “Introduction to Intelligent Data Analysis”, and “SAS Programming” as optional modules, acquiring practical analytical and programming skills and tailoring my learning to my ambition of pursing a technical career in the future. The world-leading experts who teach on my course embedded the latest concepts and findings within their teaching, not only keeping me at the forefront of research, but also helping me combine theoretical knowledge with practice.

One of the highlights of the programme is the three-month summer project. The projects are selected carefully by supervisors specialising in various fields and are open to students to apply. Considering my interest of taking simulation and optimisation as future focuses, I decided to work on the project of evaluating the operation of the aircraft for an air ambulance charity. This was my first chance to complete a real-company project, and it was completely different from the coursework I have completed before.

Spending the first week communicating with the client about the current operation of the company and interviewing him about the data he had to hand, my fellow workmates and I realised that acquiring the datasets that are valuable to the project can be quite challenging. What we took for granted in the coursework became a huge obstacle of completing the project. Luckily, the client was very supportive and spared no effort to get us the information and datasets. We spent the following weeks reading literature, conducting statistical analysis and building up the simulation model, while at the same time waiting for the data required. During the project, we also reflected on our previous performance and discussed the mistakes we had made to help us learn from them in the future. Now, we are in the midway through the project and the experience we have gained by overcoming several challenges has helped us learn a lot. We are confident that we will successfully complete the project with the help of the client and supervisors, and this valuable experience will be a lifelong treasure.

The year I have spent LUMS has been amazing. I sincerely appreciate that the efforts of the extraordinary LUMS staff to help me connect with the cross-cultural community and build a life-long personal and professional network.