Ovidiu Costea, Master in Statistics for Smart Data Alumnus
Ovidiu Costea graduated from the Master in Statistics for Smart Data in 2020. He is now a Data Scientist at the Romanian financial institution Viva Credit IFN. The “Smartie” looks back at his academic journey and tells everything about the Master’s program and the job prospects.
The Master in Statistics for Smart Data at ENSAI is taught entirely in English. This one-year degree combines advanced notions in Statistics, Applied Mathematics, and Computer Science. Graduates are hired for highly-qualified Data Scientist positions in numerous sectors. They may also pursue a career in research.
The road to enrolling in the Master in Statistics for Smart Data
Ovidiu Costea: I am currently a Data Scientist at Viva Credit IFN, the largest non-banking financial institution specialized in online payday loans in Romania. The company offered me a contract right after my 6–month internship, which is a mandatory part of the Master in Statistics in Smart Data.
Now let’s rewind! Before ENSAI, I studied at a Romanian high school with a focus on Mathematics and Informatics. Then, I earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Business and Commerce from the University of Economic Studies of Bucharest (ASE).
In the meantime, I was a professional athlete, playing water polo. A few years later, after I ended my sports career due to an injury, I decided to pursue another Master’s degree in Cybernetics, Statistics and Informatics from the University of Economic Studies of Bucharest.
While in my first year in this Master’s program, I found out about the double–degree program and the French government scholarship to study at ENSAI.
The Master of Statistics for Smart Data in France would replace the second year of studies of my Master’s program in Romania.
I accepted this scholarship because after inspecting the course catalog, I realized that it contained a much more comprehensive course curriculum than the one I was attending at the time, and that, most important of all, the topics were treated in depth, both from a theoretical and a practical point of view.
The balance between academic coursework and internship
Being an intern for six months after a semester of courses is, in my opinion, a useful system. As a student, it really gives you the opportunity to test the knowledge gained during the first semester.
Moreover, it is a great way to realize what is expected from a fresh graduate in an actual working environment. You get the chance to understand the business point of view in relation to the topics studied and how they are applied in a company.
After graduation you can apply for a full-time job in the field of the internship. If you did a good job, the company may offer you a full-time contract.
This is what happened to me; I was hired right after my internship. For 6 months, my mission was to create a credit risk model and a score system through which the processing time of the loan request would be reduced. The new customers would be automatically approved or rejected, based on their credit score. Using machine learning techniques for classification and through statistical inference, I determined from previous successful borrowers and loan defaulters what the behavior of future customers would be.
The advantages of close-knit multicultural classes
The theoretical/practical balance also shows through projects. I really enjoyed working on these. They are very well designed as to cover the topics studied in depth, while being fun and interesting at the same time.
Often, we worked in teams of two or three students which was a great benefit because, at ENSAI, the students come from various parts of the world. Working in multicultural teams proved to be a valuable experience as it gave us the chance to connect and learn from each other. Also, this was a good way for me to improve my French!
Classes in the Master in Statistics for Smart Data are small (around ten students) which makes it easier to have an inclusive environment and coursework adapted to fit the class.
ENSAI is close to Rennes, a beautiful city with a nice setting and a rich student life. I encourage you to make the most of your time spent at ENSAI! However, you should know that the theoretical part is dense and the courses are done in a fast pace. Not having a solid theoretical background will make you miss a lot of events!
What awaits a Data Scientist
In the future, I plan to further expand my knowledge and skills and to gain more business experience in the banking and financial sector.
As time passes, Data Science jobs will become more and more specialized and I think that the right thing to do is to become an expert in your field or industry.
Find out more about the Master in Statistics for Smart Data