MDS Spotlight: Meet Lili Tang, MDS Okanagan, Class of 2023

Prior to entering UBC’s Master of Data Science (MDS) Okanagan program, Lili Tang was a fundamental analyst in bulk commodities, focusing on price trend predication and providing arbitrage strategies for trading based on futures and derivatives markets.

With advancements in computer technology opening up new possibilities for data analysis, Tang had a desire to explore the optimal synergy between human insights and machine capabilities. 

“This professional ambition placed high demands on my analytical expertise, critical thinking, and decision-making skills. Therefore, pursuing a master's degree in data science had become a pressing priority for me,” explained Tang.

Master of Data Science Okanagan Lili Tang

Tang did try to learn such data science topics as data wrangling and modeling on her own but found it unorganized and time-consuming. This made Tang firmly realize that only a systematic data science program could help her achieve her career advancement goals more efficiently.

After doing researching her options, Tang found that UBC’s MDS Okanagan program aligned with her goals and aspirations.

“The UBC MDS program offers an accelerated 10-month curriculum that covers all stages of the data science value chain, providing me with a comprehensive skill set in a relatively short period of time,” she said. “Moreover, the program's structure allows me to quickly return to the workforce after completing my studies.”

Tang specifically applied the MDS Okanagan program because of its small class sizes and limited student intake. 

“The small class size creates a warm and supportive learning environment where I have easy access to professors, TAs, and program assistants whenever I require assistance. This close-knit community fosters a sense of camaraderie and encourages open communication, making it easier to seek help and engage in meaningful discussions” she added.

As well, being amongst a diverse cohort gave Tang an opportunity to learn from different opinions. 

“During class discussions, group projects, and study sessions, I have had the chance to engage in stimulating conversations with my peers, who often offer fresh insights and alternative viewpoints based on their backgrounds. This exchange of ideas has enhanced my critical thinking skills and allowed me to consider multiple perspectives when approaching data science challenges.”

Additionally, the allure of Kelowna as a serene and picturesque location made it an ideal place for Tang to pursue her studies while also maintaining a healthy study-life balance. “I was excited about the prospect of immersing myself in both academia and the natural beauty that surrounds me in Kelowna.”

As for the capstone project, Tang said the most important thing that she gained from it was the understanding of the purpose of data science, which is to apply data skills to solve real-world problems and deliver valuable insights to clients.

Tang reflected that the MDS Okanagan program offered numerous notable advantages. For example, Tang said it ensured a comprehensive understanding of data collection, wrangling, modeling, and visualization. “This breadth of knowledge allowed me to gain familiarity with each step of the data science process. Additionally, the program allowed me the flexibility to explore and select the area that truly captures my interest.” 

Roles that Tang hopes to pursue quantitative analysis roles in a hedge fund or asset management company that would combine her data skills with her fundamental analysis experience. 

Lili’s Top 3 Tips on Succeeding in the MDS Okanagan Program:

  1. Interests: A genuine passion for data science is a crucial factor for success in the program. Your passion will fuel your motivation and drive you to go the extra mile.
  2. Persistence: The program is intensive, covering a vast amount of knowledge within a relatively short time frame. Persistence is key to navigating this demanding journey successfully.
  3. Exploration: While the UBC MDS curriculum covers all stages of the data science value chain, it is essential to actively explore and delve into the specific field or area that aligns with your interests and future career aspirations.

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