The University of Southampton
Mathematical Sciences

Yingbo Wang MSc Statistics with Applications in Medicine , 2007

Studying for a PhD in Biostatistics

Yingbo Wang's Photo

Hi, I'm Yingbo Wang and I studied MSc Statistics with Applications in Medicine within Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Mathematics and statistics, for me, is no longer just about getting the right answer on paper. It is about safeguarding the validity and integrity of clinical trials which have a huge impact on healthcare.

Describe your career since graduation:

In my first job, as a Biostatistician for a Cmed Clinical Research, my role was to write the analysis plan for clinical trials, oversee the quality and conduct of clinical trials from a statistics prospective, and explain the statistics work to non-statisticians. I was also given responsibility for chairing the meetings for the trials, programming statistical outputs and controlling spend and budget for the statistics tasks.

I am now working towards a PhD in Biostatistics at Imperial College London; my research is focused on the statistical methodology development for Bayesian hierarchical models.

What has been your favourite job since graduation? Why?

I have enjoyed both jobs, but for very different reasons.

Working in the pharmaceuticals industry is thrilling and there is a very steep learning curve; the work is very fast paced and every minute counts when you are working to project timelines. The three things I always needed to keep on my mind were quality, timelines and budget.

Now I am starting my own research for my PhD, I can research pretty much anything I am interested in - as long as it is relevant. Working towards a PhD, although not as fast paced as the commercial world, offers wider intellectual possibilities. I certainly enjoy the freedom of going back to university life again.

What advice would you give current and prospective students who desire a similar career to yours?

In terms of technical knowledge, the most important skills to have are: competence in applied statistics, knowledge of clinical trials and confidence with SAS. However employers are looking for more than just academic strength; in my role as a Biostatistician it was important to be a good team player, to be organised and efficient, and have strong communication skills. You need to show that you are the whole package.

What led you to study your MSc at Southampton?

Because I wanted a career in the pharmaceuticals industry Southampton, with the MSc in Statistics with Applications in Medicine, was an obvious choice. It is a perfect course for anyone wanting to get into the industry. Southampton also offered regular presentations for MSc students by a range of pharmaceuticals companies; this is great for networking and career advice and led to me getting my first job.

Has your perception of maths changed since you graduated?

Mathematics and statistics, for me, is no longer just about getting the right answer on paper. It is about safeguarding the validity and integrity of clinical trials which have a huge impact on healthcare.

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