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The University of Southampton
Southampton Business School

Jack Cookson BSc Business Analytics2018

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I chose to study at Southampton as it was one of few top universities offering the ability to study analytics at undergraduate level. I have always been very technical, and the Business Analytics course allowed me to continue this. Additionally, as I compete as part of the British Sailing Team, studying in Southampton has also allowed me to be within an hour and a half from our training base in Weymouth.

Business Analytics has provided me with a real technical understanding of both mathematical and computational techniques for data science and general business application.

Business Analytics has provided me with a real technical understanding of both mathematical and computational techniques for data science and general business application. I have enjoyed very small class numbers throughout my study allowing me to build up personal relationships with many of my lecturers. This has made it much easier to approach them if I had any questions regarding a module. I found this close relationship with academics at the forefront of their respective fields inspired me to delve deeper into concepts that I found especially interesting, something that I don’t think I would have had the opportunity for on another course.

A main highlight of my study was my dissertation. I initially found the project quite challenging, but as I explored the field further I became increasingly intrigued in ideas and techniques I could use to solve my problem. Throughout this process I developed a strong relationship with my supervisor who allowed me the freedom to research what I was interested in whilst still being able to help me create a piece of work I could really be proud of. Outside of academia, I was also really fortunate to have a fantastic group of friends and housemates who have made my time at university so enjoyable.

My time management, organisation and planning skills have seen huge improvement over my time here. These skills have not only helped me in general university life, but also have been directly transferable to my Olympic campaign.

Academically I have also gained very technical skills including the ability to formulate and test algorithms, coding in several languages and build machine learning models. These skills are in very high demand in the modern business world massively improving my employment prospects upon graduation. The university also has the fantastic Bloomberg suite and copious amounts of university computers which are perfect for running large computationally intensive models.

As an athlete I spend a large amount of my time in the gym each week once I finish studying in the library. As a sports scholarship athlete I have had the ability throughout my study to use all the gyms run by the university, including those at mayflower halls which I found really convenient in my first year. At times the jubilee gym gets quite busy but being able to use the Wide Lane sports facilities for athletes was a real bonus and something that has allowed me to continue to train effectively whilst at university.

If for any reason my sporting career does not work out, I hope to pursue a career in data science and analytics. I have explored several opportunities as a business analyst and as an analyst consultant, both areas I’m very interested in.

My advice to new students would be:

·         Never miss an opportunity. In my first year I was often very reluctant to ask questions and approach lecturers as I believed that they would not be interested in helping me. I could not have been more wrong! Once I begun to ask questions, I found myself engaging so much more with the course, and before I knew it opportunities which I didn’t even know existed were presenting themselves.

·         Never to just do the minimum. Don’t just turn up to lectures; engage and ask questions. Don’t work on an assignment for a short amount of time, re-visit it, go beyond the lecture notes and find things out for yourself. You are always rewarded for going further and demonstrating a true appreciation for what you are learning.

·         Finally, make sure the course you have chosen is right for you. The business pathway at Southampton allows students to transfer to any business course within their first year. I have various friends who have done this and have enjoyed their course much more following this. Remember, it is three years of your life, you need to enjoy it!

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