19th Apr, 2024

Making a difference with data: Iza's work placement experience

A four-week placement at DYW North East tasked MSc Business Analytics student Izabela (Iza) Jarzab with helping the team translate the data we gather into real-time, meaningful reports that can be used to analyse and improve performance. Iza shares how she rose to the challenge.

Iza web 1

Can you tell us a bit more about the qualification you are studying for?

I am currently working towards my MSc in Business Analytics at the Robert Gordon University, having previously completed an MA in Economics at the University of Aberdeen. The course is a deep dive into using analytics techniques to make smarter business decisions. It covers skills such as data preparation visualisation, modelling and ethics.

What part does the placement play in your course?

The placement at DYW North East has been a fantastic addition, offering hands-on experience that not only aligns with what I was learning in class but far beyond this. The projects I tackled during my course were relatively ‘tidy’ compared to real-world scenarios. For instance, the datasets provided typically had minor quality and accuracy issues, failing to mirror the complexities of actual data landscapes. However, dealing with data from Microsoft Forms during my placement was a different story altogether. It demanded a much deeper dive into cleaning and transformation techniques - skills I honed and expanded upon significantly during this practical experience.

What attracted you to the placement opportunity with DYW North East?

What drew me to DYW North East was not just the project itself, but also your values and mission. It felt like a perfect fit for what I'm passionate about. I discovered myself becoming deeply engaged in DYW North East's mission and seamlessly integrating your objectives into my work. For instance, as I prepared each visualisation, I couldn't help but envisage how it could enhance your operations in the future. I pondered on ways that you could leverage these visuals to connect with more young people, educators, and employers - and ultimately amplify your impact.

Can you tell us a bit more about your experience over the four weeks?

Over the four weeks I was granted the independence of a full-fledged employee, which made me feel valued and taken seriously. It wasn't just about being a student tagging along; I was entrusted with responsibilities and treated as a vital part of the team.

Any highs and lows?

Starting with the lows, there were moments when nothing seemed to go right and I felt like I needed to scrap everything and start over. The frustration built up, but with the support of my team, I was able to take a step back, clear my mind and find solutions effortlessly. Each small success and completed visualisation became a high point for me. However, the real high point of my experience came on my final day of the placement, when the team responded positively and genuinely appreciated my contributions. This filled me with immense motivation, gratitude and the realisation that I had made a tangible impact—I wasn't just a student, but a valuable asset to the team.

Has the placement added value to your learning? If so, can you explain in what way?

This experience has added so much value to my learning, not just in terms of technical skills, but also in communication, adaptability, resilience and self-discipline.

What are your next steps from here?

Feeling more confident now, I'm excited to explore future internship and job opportunities. In fact, I've got an interview next week and I can't wait to share what I've been up to at DYW North East. I obviously also have to write my dissertation over summer (duhhhh!).

Any parting thoughts or advice you would give other young people who are offered placement opportunities?

At times you might experience imposter syndrome, feeling like you're not good enough or deserving of your opportunities. Don't let that feeling consume you. Remember, they didn't hire you to revolutionise technology or discover new elements. Everything they ask of you is achievable and you have the capability to excel. It may require time and effort but that's all part of the journey. In the end, the sense of accomplishment you'll feel, despite any obstacles, will make it all worth it. I wish everyone the chance to experience that feeling of triumph against all odds.

Does your business have a project that would be suitable for a student? The benefits are two-way: students gain valuable experience, while your organisation benefits from fresh thinking, ideas and expertise. DYW North East can help you make the right connections, so that you can identify a placement to suit your organisation's sector and requirements. Contact us to find out more.

Get in touch with the team at info@dyw.org.uk

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