12th May 2022 Share article

Joining CIL as its first Data Scientist hire

Araan Mohanadass, a Data Scientist in CIL’s Advanced Analytics practice, discusses his transition into the expanding team.

What were you doing prior to joining CIL?

I did an undergraduate degree at Warwick University in mechanical engineering. In 2016, I decided to take an engineering doctorate, spending nine years at Warwick in total. During my doctorate years I was based in a research division, meaning I got exposure to both the academic and the industrial side of things too.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in data science?

I chose data science because it suits my passions. Being an engineer, I was already very data orientated and my degree was heavily based on data. To add to this, my passion for sport and the idea of using data to improve my sporting performance brought another practical angle. With my added interest in business management, applying data science to management consulting matched my interests perfectly.

What made you want to join CIL?

The kind of work that CIL does really stood out to me. I have always enjoyed learning about businesses and understanding what made them successful, so I saw CIL as a natural fit. My first-round interview was with my current Manager and was more of a discussion. We talked about all things analytics and data for the duration of the interview. As I learnt more about CIL, it was an easy decision to choose them as the company to pursue a data science path with.

How did you find the transition into CIL?

The transition to CIL was easy. My previous academic role was in a research-heavy department, meaning there were a lot of older academics and few younger PhD students, and that was it. This really limited who I could bounce ideas off. At CIL you are working alongside smart, like-minded people. This really enabled me to have interesting discussions with colleagues from all levels of the company. Whether that be with Managers or Partners who have been in my position previously, these discussions foster a learning environment where you are constantly being challenged and pushing your professional growth.

The culture makes a massive difference at CIL. When I first joined, I got sent a book on the growth mindset. This really highlighted how CIL wants to invest in you, not just in terms of your technical skills and role at work, but also in terms of investing in your personal growth. I also feel the idea behind the growth mindset is well demonstrated within the company, as Managers and Partners alike all emphasise that, at times, the work is going to be challenging and mistakes can happen, but it is all about learning and growing from these challenges. I feel this is a very sustainable way of growing both personally and professionally.

How are you finding your role so far?

There is so much scope to shape the data scientist role. There are times where I am pioneering and developing the role and pushing the boundaries of what the role should look like. I am constantly having these discussions and as the team builds this will become even more prevalent, as we continue to mould my role and the roles that are opening to form the advanced analytics practice. It is exciting as there are always new things to learn and opportunities to pursue. In a sense, the advanced analytics team feels like a start-up; it is exciting to grow with the practice. My day-to-day is so varied, and no two days are the same, which is one of the things I really love about the job.

What advice would you give to someone looking to make that transition into data science in CIL?

Get hands-on with your projects. As data analytics is a new and fast-growing field, it is worthwhile getting invested in projects and trying to develop your own skills alongside this. This really helped me when I joined CIL; I spent a lot of time developing my own small-scale analytics projects to help further my problem-solving capability. This highlighted my passion for the field which I think is hugely important, particularly within CIL.

What do you anticipate your future career looking like?

I am excited to see how my role and the analytics practice progresses and continues to integrate into the core client-facing side of the company.

I am excited to see how far we can push our advanced analytics team. We have analytical products that we are adding to CIL’s capabilities and going forward I see these products being increasingly important for adding value to our overall offering. The roles within our practice will reflect how this expands going forward.

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