Olga, Student in the Master for Smart Data Science 

Olga Anabitarte López joined ENSAI in the Fall. An undergraduate from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, she chose the Master for Smart Data Science because of its theoretical and practical balance. A few weeks into the program, she tells ENSAI about her experience as a Data Science student in Rennes. 

The Master for Smart Data Science is a one-year program taught entirely in English. Lectures in Statistics, Applied Mathematics and Computer Science are given by academics and professionals in Data Science.

“A perfect fit”

Olga Anabitarte López: “Going abroad to study for my Master’s was an adventure I had always wanted to try. I am originally from Madrid, Spain, where I completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics. My studies were mainly focused on theoretical maths, but when I studied Statistics, it proved to be my favorite subject. During my last year of university, I started working at a consulting firm, which was my first contact with data science. There, I realized I wanted to explore the subject with more depth, and a Master’s degree was a natural way to achieve that.

It was difficult to find a program that properly combined my interests in mathematics and computer science, until I found ENSAI’s Master for Smart Data Science. It stood out as the perfect fit for me.

Not only did it offer exciting courses like Machine Learning or Deep Learning, but the location was also a positive addition. I have had the opportunity to get to know parts of France, and always enjoyed them. In particular, even though I did not know Brittany, I had always heard that it was beautiful. And it was true. I also love the language, so this seemed like a great opportunity to perfect my level in French.

A hands-on approach to Data Science

Three months after arriving at ENSAI, I can say that I did well in choosing this Master. Although it has been hard and will continue to be, I am really happy with the choice I made. As my background in previous studies was mainly mathematical theory, I did not have the chance to work on many projects. I believe that is the greatest difference between the education system in France and in Spain. In Spain, education is mainly oriented to the theoretical part and does not focus so much on putting into practice all the concepts learned. But, from my experience here, I think that the best way to learn all the concepts is to put them into practice: that is the only way to see if you really understood the assignments. For instance, one of the projects that we did during the Data Visualization course, was a web app regarding the US presidential elections in which we studied the results regarding demographic characteristics using different algorithms.

Another positive aspect of this Master is, since we are a limited number of people (only eight!), we became close very fast. As every one of us comes from very different backgrounds, we really need to work together, by helping each other, in order to thrive in this Master. It has been a great opportunity to learn from each other and see each other’s points of view.

Nowadays, Data Science can get you to work almost anywhere, so I am not sure yet where to specialize, but the future is exciting. The only thing I know is that I would very much like to stay in France, and get to know more about French culture!”

Looking to become a Data Scientist? Find out more about the Master for Smart Data Science