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Women in Data Sciences & Business Analytics

18-11-2020
Women in Data Sciences & Business Analytics

An interview with Nadezda Timoshenko, first laureate of ESSEC-CentraleSupélec and 3M Foundation Scholarship for women

Our article discusses how this scholarship encourages and support women interested in Data Sciences & Business Analytics, fields just recently perceived for men only.

Following ESSEC’s continuous effort to encourage and stimulate women interested in the fields of Data Sciences & Business Analytics, we had an interview with Nadezda Timoshenko, first ever laureate of ESSEC-CentraleSupélec and 3M Foundation scholarship for women. She talks about her journey and gives advice to other women interested in these fields.

Data Sciences is not harder than economics, chemistry, music, architecture, medicine, but we still have prejudice about this subject."
Nadezda Timoshenko, Master in Data Sciences & Business Analytics student, ESSEC & CentraleSupélec


Q: Why did you choose ESSEC & CentraleSupélec master in DSBA over other programs?

Nadezda: I had been familiar with ESSEC and its programs long before I was making my decision. I was studying at the faculty of Economics and ESSEC was the top choice for Master’s Degree for many students who considered applying to a European University. However, when I decided to switch my studies a little bit, by choosing Data Sciences over pure Economics, I was very surprised to see that ESSEC was also at the top of the rankings for its DSBA program. As many students do, I pay a lot of attention to the rank as it is a clear and understandable characteristic. As I started to read more about the cooperation with CentraleSupélec and the way classes were organised between these two institutions, the program became even more desirable to me as it combined both business and tech skills. It is not possible anymore for a data scientist to be unaware of the business analysis and it is also hard to imagine a future business analyst to be ignorant of modern computational tools. With that in mind, I was sure that whatever path I would pursue in life this program would be an appropriate basement for me as it provides the best of two worlds: Data and Business.


Q: How does wining this scholarship benefited you/changed your life?

Nadezda: I am very grateful for winning this scholarship. These are not just empty words, I truly do appreciate even small gestures, not to mention a scholarship. Of course, this has helped me financially, making the decision to come to study in Europe easier. But it meant even more to me: this grant gave me confidence that I hadn’t had before. As a young woman, I was very unsure about my decision of switching my degree from Bachelor in Economics to Master in Data Sciences & Business Analytics. I was afraid that I wouldn’t get into and if I could then I wouldn’t fit. And then someone in the jury believed in me and in my future and even encouraged it. Now it is my turn not to let them down.

I have seen many girls and young women interested in mathematics, informatics, statistics, physics, or computer sciences; however, only a few of them had the courage to follow their dreams and pursue a degree in these fields.”


Q: What do you think is the social relevance of these fields, why is it important that there are more women with this expertise?

Nadezda: First, I think that any person, with no regards of her/his gender, nationality, ethnicity or any “label” that the society gives, must get the knowledge needed to fulfil all of her/his expectations. Data Science is not harder than economics, chemistry, music, architecture, medicine, but we still have prejudice about this subject. I have seen many girls and young women both in my school and in my university, who have been interested in mathematics, informatics, statistics, physics or computer science. However, only few of them had the courage to follow their dreams and pursue a degree in these fields. Others either were scared or were not even considering such opportunity. Women don’t need to be attracted to this Sciences – they already are. We just need to stop scaring or discouraging them. And even more, we need to talk about those who managed to get through – because you can’t dream to become a female CEO or a female startupper if you haven’t seen one.

Second, as Data becomes more integrated in our everyday life, we need to ensure that every voice is heard when creating decision-making algorithms. Women must be represented in Datasets that our models are trained on, women must have their input in the rules that algorithms follow, women must also decide how the technologies will be used. Otherwise, we create more obstacles to overcome the discrimination that already takes place as we cut women from the future.


Q: What would you say to other women interested in Data Sciences & Business Analytics, and interested in applying to this scholarship?

Nadezda: I would say – go for it! The program is designed in a way to prepare you for any career that you wish for yourself in data-driven world. You will have plenty of courses to choose from and there will be a possibility to adapt the program for your needs and interests. And with a scholarship this Master Degree will be even more accessible and it will help you to make this decision.

We need to talk about those [woman] who managed to get through – because you can’t dream to become a female CEO or a female startupper if you haven’t seen one.”


Q: Any idea what you want to do after completing your studies? Do you think that this master increases your chances on the labour market?

Nadezda: I have been interested in Digital Healthcare for 3 years now, it was even the theme of my Bachelor Thesis. Prevention is the key and I hope that Telehealth will make professional advice more accessible, so that people won’t postpone the needed care. I am not sure where exactly I would like to work, but I think that many big companies will come to the market in the future. Who knows, maybe Apple?

I am sure that this Master will help me to find a job that I will be interested in. Prior to DSBA Program I hadn’t had any specific data science knowledge and I hadn’t met the requirements for the jobs that I liked. Moreover, this program has a lot of group work. And an ability to be a good team player is very important at the beginning of the career! Also, I had an opportunity (even in these “zoom” times) to get an experience of studying in international community and I hope this will help me to get an offer in the EU or in the UK!


Q: Is there anything you would like to add?

Nadezda: Data is future and I can’t wait to see what the humanity will invent next. I am very happy to participate in this process and will be forever grateful for all the institutions and people who believed in me. I hope I will make them proud.


If you also wish to pursue a career in Data Sciences & Business Analytics, and/or discuss with Nadezda about her experience, click on the following link.
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