MDS Spotlight: Meet Mohammad Reza Nabizadeh (Nabi), MDS Vancouver, Class of 2023

Before enrolling in the MDS program, Mohammad Reza Nabizadeh (Nabi) accumulated nearly eight years of experience in marketing analytics and product marketing management roles with tech enterprises and hyper-growth Canadian start-ups. Simultaneously, he expanded his skills and understanding of business administration by pursuing an MBA in Marketing in 2017. 

“In a nutshell, my career has consistently intersected with data,” he said. And for Nabi, this made UBC’s Master of Data Science (MDS) program the logical next step in his professional and academic journey.

Master of Data Science Vancouver Nabi profile

Nabi’s interest in data science began while working as a Demand Generation Manager with in 2021, where he extensively prepared educational and promotional content in the form of blog posts and one-page PDFs to increase awareness about their data product. 

“At that time, there were a few AI tools available that assisted marketers in ideating content creation strategies.” added Nabi. “I felt an irresistible urge to learn about data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.”

For Nabi, what attracted him to the MDS program was friends from MDS Vancouver class of 2021 and 2022, who experienced significant career growth after graduation. “I felt confident that the structure of the MDS program sets students up for success.”

As well, Nabi said UBC is among a handful of universities in Canada that offer such an extensive, intense, and comprehensive curriculum in data science, which is further enhanced by the capstone project.

If a program like MDS didn’t exist, Nabi said he would have likely chosen to learn data science principles through online courses, webinars, boot camps, and self-study. 

“However, this method of learning can often be challenging, as it lacks structured guidance and mentorship from experienced faculty,” he explained. “Furthermore, the multidisciplinary nature of data science - encompassing fields such as computer science, statistics, and domain-specific knowledge - makes it a complex field to master without a holistic academic framework.”

Once Nabi started the MDS program, he found that diversity of the cohort as one of the top benefits. 

“MDS is one of the most diverse graduate programs in Canada, attracting talented students from all around the world, each bringing different expertise and experiences. This diversity significantly impacts the scale and quality of the data science concepts we learn,” noted Nabi.

Learning amongst a diverse cohort as well as from MDS faculty on UBC’s Vancouver campus was a fantastic opportunity for Nabi to cultivate a synergistic, collaborative environment, build professional networks, and most importantly, make friends. “Every single one of my classmates was incredibly talented, eager to learn, and supportive, which made each moment in MDS classes and labs truly unforgettable.”

When it came for the capstone phase of the program, Nabi said it was undoubtedly the most vital component of the MDS program, serving as a transition from academia to industry. 
“It's an opportunity to tackle a real-world project, build an impressive portfolio, and prepare for the job market while making a tangible impact on the world,” said Nabi.

Lessons learned during the capstone, for Nabi, included how to explore existing solutions and adapt them to solve unique problems as well as the importance of teamwork. 

For any potential students interested in the MDS program, Nabi has one piece of advice: Attend the classes and the labs. “MDS is a transformative and comprehensive program that will equip you with a solid foundation in data science and the necessary skills to thrive in the industry.”

Upon graduating from MDS, Nabi is interested in roles within marketing science or marketing Analytics. “The combination of my marketing expertise with the data science skills I have acquired through the MDS program will allow me to contribute effectively in these roles.”

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

  1. Develop Energy Recovery Strategies: The MDS program is indeed intense. Thus, it's crucial to find a method that helps you decompress. For me, skiing, cycling, and hiking were effective ways (and Vancouver provides easy access to stunning hikes in BC). The labs are due on Saturday nights at 6:00 PM, and you have only one day per week to relax and prepare for the next week. In short, my advice is to refrain from working on Sundays.
  2. Be Prepared: The MDS program is fast-paced and requires a significant commitment. To succeed, you must come prepared and stay focused. I recommend brushing up on your mathematics, statistics, and programming skills before starting the course as these skills will be utilized extensively throughout the program.
  3. Prioritize Networking: Working in diverse groups on various projects is a hallmark of the MDS program. Embracing others' ideas and learning to collaborate effectively will be critical to your success. The diverse backgrounds of your cohort can significantly help in building your professional network and can potentially lead to future interview referrals. Additionally, take full advantage of the MDS mentorship program, where you'll be paired with a data science professional in the industry for the duration of the program. This mentor can provide valuable career advice and help you achieve your set goals.

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