I was recently invited by Tracy Lim to INSEAD to share on how Lazada applies Data Science to e-commerce, as well as my personal journey towards becoming a VP of Data Science. The talk was extremely well organized, and I was surprised at the large turnout (~100) of students given that it was over lunch time.
My sharing had three main threads.
Firstly, we discussed on the problems that Lazada solves through data science and machine learning. For this, we dived deep into two use cases (i) Automated User Review Classification, which reduced manpower by >90% leading to 5 figure savings monthly, and (ii) Product Ranking, which improved conversion by 3-8% and increased revenue by 5-20%.
Next, I was also requested to share about my journey into data science. I qualified that my experience was likely idiosyncratic and should not be emulated. I won’t go into the details and leave the reader to go through the slides below. I also shared about the typical day of a data scientist and more specifically, how my time is spent at work.
Lastly, I shared about how to pick up data science tools and skills, as well as practice them. To this, I shared about some free MOOCs that I’ve taken and found useful, and my experience applying them (e.g., personal projects, volunteering with DataKind, writing, etc.).
After the lunchtime talk, my hosts invited me to a scrumptious lunch at the INSEAD cafeteria. The food was delicious, but it wasn’t the main highlight.
What I was most impressed by were the students who followed us to the cafeteria and joined us for lunch. They followed up with more questions that pertained to how they could apply data science in the future careers, perhaps not as a data scientist, but as an analyst or manager. I was of course happy to oblige their questions and provide guidance.
All in all, I think it was a very fruitful trip where I managed to provide a greater understanding about data science, as well as clear up any misconceptions that the students had.
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