Students and Alumni

UBC MDS attracts bright minds from a wide range of backgrounds. Find out more about our students and alumni read about what they were doing prior to joining the program, their experience during the program, and their journey ahead.


Employment Status 6 and 12 Months After Graduation

Employment Positions

Data Science Consultant/Contractor Software Engineer
Software Developer/Data Engineer Research and Innovation Intern
Data Scientist Machine Learning Engineer
Data Management Engineer Consultant
Data Manager Technical Business Analyst
Data Engineer Analyst
Data Analyst Faculty, Operations Management
Research Analyst Application Architect
Faculty/Data Analyst in Residence Artificial Intelligence Industry Analyst Intern
Computational Biologist Business Intelligence Engineer

Job Location

Alumni Incomes

Top Industries Worked In

* Based on MDS Vancouver alumni survey responses 6 months and 1 year after graduation

Previous Degree

Where Students Come From

Previous Degree Level

Gender Identification

Years Since Last Degree

Class Size

* Based on all MDS Vancouver cohorts to date


Employment Status 6 and 12 Months After Graduation

Employment Positions

Senior Analytics Specialist Data Analyst, Enterprise Business Intelligence Team
Data Science Research Assistant Data Developer
Public Health Epidemiologist Data Analyst
Research Analyst Data visualization analyst
Director, Research and Data Science Data Scientist & Engineer
Data Scientist  

Job Location

Alumni Incomes

Top Industries Worked In

* Based on MDS Okanagan alumni survey responses 6 months and 1 year after graduation

Previous degree


Previous Degree Level

Years Since Last Degree

Gender Identification

Class Size

* Based on all MDS Okanagan cohorts to date

Computational Linguistics

Employment Status 6 Months After Graduation

Employment Positions

Data Analyst Developer
Agile Developer Data Scientist
Software developer Data Science Intern
Business intelligence developer NLP/Deep Learning Engineer
Language Engineer  

Job Location

Alumni Incomes

Top Industries Worked In

* Based on MDS Computational Linguistics alumni survey responses 6 months after graduation

Previous Degree


Previous degree

Years Since Last Degree

Gender Identification

Class Size

* Based on all MDS Computational Linguistics cohorts to date



Student and Alumni Profiles

Rafael Pillard Hellwig

Rafael Pillard Hellwig, MDS Vancouver, Class of 2021

"Coming from a non-STEM background, one of the things that drew me to the MDS is that it has a broad and diverse mission statement for recruitment. This program is known for being diverse, and I continually gain insights from the experiences that my peers bring to the table."

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Arts, Honours in Law and Political Science, Carleton University
Prior Experience: Monitoring & Evaluation Lead, USAID Jordan Local Enterprise Support Project
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2021

An increasing number of tools now exist that fully automate the machine learning pipeline, such that anyone can fit a powerful model with little to no code. In some ways, that is wonderful because it democratizes the field. But it also opens up the risk that people use AI without understanding their models. This is why for me, a critical function of the data scientists is to interpret and explain. It is about knowing how to frame a problem before crunching the numbers. For anyone worried about the future job market, these human roles are going to be replaced by machines for a long time. With its emphasis on communication, ethics, and extracting knowledge from data, the MDS will give you the technical and critical thinking skills to become a thinking data scientist who can tackle a broad range of problems.

About Rafael Pilliard Hellwig

After completing his undergraduate studies in the social sciences, Rafael moved to the Middle East to work in organizational development, sustainability consulting, and economic development. In these roles, a common thread has been that Rafael helped companies and governments make complex data intelligible and accessible. His experience includes leading large-scale enterprise surveys, answering causal questions through quasi-experimental analysis, championing open-data initiatives and corporate transparency, and creating tools that automate the analytics pipeline. After moving back to his hometown of Vancouver in 2019, Rafael focused on helping foreign aid implementers communicate complex concepts through visualization. Rafael chose the MDS Vancouver program to deepen his technical acumen and build a network of like-minded professionals.

Rob Blumberg

Rob Blumberg, Data Scientist at Validere

“There are so many smart and friendly people from different educational and cultural backgrounds in MDS, which makes learning and collaborating so much easier.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science in Physics, McGill University
Previous Experience: Data Science Intern, BMO Financial Group
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2020

It was around my third year of undergrad that I started hearing and learning more about data science. My first real encounter with data science came through my passion for soccer, as I discovered articles and blog posts explaining how data science is used to inform decisions across various departments in professional clubs. I was particularly interested in learning about these models and algorithms that were capable of uncovering meaningful insights about soccer games from data which did not seem to contain obvious patterns

About Rob Blumberg

Prior to MDS, Rob obtained a Bachelor of Science in Physics from McGill University. Right before starting the MDS program, Rob interned as a data scientist at BMO, where he worked on the People Analytics team. His team analyzed employee data, and his job was to analyze employee exit surveys to find out what was driving voluntary turnover. Read Rob's story.

Alistair Clark

Alistair Clark, Associate, Data Science at Birch Hill Equity Partners

“I chose the MDS program as a way to quickly build the skills and credibility I needed to transition into data science. I could have tried to build these skills while working at my previous company, but that would have taken longer and would have made it difficult to break into the job market.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Queen's University in Kingston, ON
Prior Experience: Lead Product Developer and Head of Product, I Will Teach/GrowthLab and Management Consultant at Accenture Strategy
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2020

At the startup I worked for prior to MDS, I was facing big questions around our product and market strategy. We had plenty of data from our 40,000 customers and 500,000 email list subscribers, but we were only performing superficial analysis. I knew there were insights we were missing, but no one had the skills or experience to use and interpret the data effectively. I discovered the field of data science while looking for new tools and techniques to analyze our data.

About Alistair Clark

Prior to the MDS program, Alistair was the Lead Product Developer and Head of Product for I Will Teach/Growth Labs, an online e-learning startup. He also worked for 4 years as a management consultant with Accenture Strategy focused on financial modelling and business cases. Alistair came to the world of data science while looking for a better way to analyze customer data and make decisions about product and market strategy. Alistair holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Queen's University at Kingston.

Cari Gostic

Cari Gostic, Data Scientist at Sonoma Technology Inc.

I’m finishing the program with confidence that I can pick up on new platforms, languages, methodologies, and frameworks on the fly.”  

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University
Previous Experience: Analyst, Consulting Team, Risk Management Solutions (RMS)
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2020

I decided to pursue data science because it combines everything I like about research -- uncovering insights, the thrill of discovery, working with new and interesting data -- but is extensible across all fields. I love the idea that I can apply this skill-set effectively in completely different topics from day to day. It makes the future very exciting, because rather than looking for a specific type of job, I can instead look for a specific type of company whose mission and values I really believe in.

About Cari Gostic

New York-native Cari came to the MDS program after previously working as an analyst on the consulting team with Risk Management Solutions, a catastrophe modeling company. While working with RMS, Cari worked to streamline the integration of RMS software into clients’ workflows and complete custom projects like in-depth analyses of exposure or custom app development. Cari holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Atmospheric Science from Cornell University. Read Cari's story.

Reiko Okamoto

Reiko Okamoto, Data Analyst at BC Ministry of Health

“The MDS program concisely covers a broad range of topics in data science [and] I appreciated how the capstone project guaranteed industry experience.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2020

[During my Master’s of Science in Public Health], in one class, students were instructed to conduct a literature review on a topic related to public health. I don’t exactly remember why I decided to do this, but I chose to write about the challenges and opportunities in the implementation of data science techniques in healthcare. A few days after I submitted the assignment, I attended a Meetup event on the application of machine learning to biomedical imaging and diagnostics. As I sat in the audience listening to the keynote speaker, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in data science.

About Reiko Okamoto

After completing her Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology and immunology from the University of UBC, Reiko wanted to study diseases beyond the molecular level so she moved to Sweden to pursue a master’s degree in public health to learn more about the application of epidemiological methods to improve population health. However, it was during her time in Sweden that her interest in data science was sparked. Read Reiko's story.

Christian Hluchy

Christian Hluchy, Data Scientist at Irwin's Safety and Industrial Labour Services Ltd

“The smaller cohort in the Okanagan makes it more personable and it makes me feel more connected to the program."

Previous Degree: Master's of Business Administration, University of British Columbia
Program: MDS Okanagan, Class of 2020

While I was born and raised in Kelowna, I always knew I wanted to pursue an education in a different city. After obtaining my undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus, I worked for seven years before returning to UBC, where I obtained my master’s degree. I then moved to Calgary where, in my operations role using large data sets to inform drilling locations, I began to see the importance and value of data analysis. When it came time to return to the Okanagan while also pursuing a master’s degree in data science, the more research I did about the MDS program at UBCO, I knew it was the right fit.  Now I’m combining my business acumen and technical background with working knowledge taught in the MDS program.

About Christian Hluchy

A Kelowna native, Christian relocated to Vancouver where he received his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of British Columbia.  Christian then obtained a Master’s degree in Business Administration nearly a decade later, also from the University of British Columbia, before moving to Alberta to pursue a career in the oil and gas sector. After a successful stint as an operations manager that exposed him to the value of statistical analysis, Christian began looking for different career options that would help him find employment in the Okanagan. His research into the best data science program led him directly to MDS program on the UBCO campus, where he has excelled in the smaller learning environment. Christian hopes to combine his business background with the working knowledge taught in the MDS program to pursue a data related role in the Okanagan.

Kaitlyn Hobbs

Kaitlyn Hobbs, Data Scientist at Statistics Canada

“UBC MDS Okanagan offers intimate class sizes and specialized professors that motivate participation, networking, and rapid skill development.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Medical Sciences Degree with an Honors Specialization in Biochemistry from Western University's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
Program: MDS Okanagan, Class of 2020

[While completing my undergraduate studies], I was lucky to land myself in dry labs, where I found myself enjoying statistical analysis and introductory-level programming. I wanted to elevate my foundational skills as I believe . . . data science is an effective tool that leads to a measurably impactful career in an array of disciplines. When looking at programs with accelerated learning combined with small class sizes and a campus with a close-knit community feel, the MDS program on the UBCO campus presented itself as the perfect fit. I hope to utilize the working knowledge taught in the MDS program to pursue a data related role in the global health sector.

About Kaitlyn Hobbs

Originally from Mississauga, Ontario, Kaitlyn obtained a Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree from Western University. It was during her undergraduate studies where she developed a deep appreciation for statistical analysis and programming and it was Kaitlyn’s investigation into the best data science program that led her directly to UBCO’s MDS program. Kaitlyn hopes to parlay the knowledge taught in the MDS program on the Okanagan campus into a job in the global health sector, where she would like to work on improving data collection. Read Kaitlyn's story.

Connor Lee

Connor Lee, MDS Okanagan – Class of 2020

“The UBC MDS Okanagan program provides a fast paced learning environment that provides you with the skills to get started in a career in data science or machine learning.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor Degree, Mechanical Engineering from the University of Victoria
Program: MDS Okanagan, Class of 2020

I gained an interest in improving my data collection and analysis techniques through teaching myself how to use Excel VBA. I started to look into how I could further improve my skills and during this search, I found that data science was the field that employed the skills that I was looking to develop. I searched for programs that offered both small class sizes and an accelerated learning path. I quickly discovered that my best option would be to return home and attend UBCO’s MDS program. Now through the program, I have gained the skills and knowledge to apply for entry level data science, data analyst, and machine learning positions.

About Connor Lee

Connor, a native of Vernon, obtained a Bachelor Degree, Mechanical Engineering from the University of Victoria. Having developed a deep appreciation for data collection and analysis techniques, Lee’s desire to improve his technical abilities and love for the Okanagan led him straight to UBCO’s MDS program. Read Connor's story.

Swapil Paliwal

Swapil Paliwal, MDS Okanagan – Class of 2020

“This is an excellent program, in an amazing location. The MDS-O program provides an exceptional foundation in the areas of data science.”

Previous Degree: Master’s Degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle
Program: MDS Okanagan, Class of 2020

I have always had an interest in multidisciplinary fields which allow for collaborative work, and have applications in variety of areas. Data science is one such field and being able to see its wide impacts in almost all walks of life really got me hooked. Now through the program, I feel confident and prepared to enter the job market knowing the program has provided me with tools and knowledge I will need to succeed.

About Swapil Paliwal

Originally from (Firozabad, India), Swapil obtained a Master’s Degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Washington. It was during his time working as a Data Scientist where he fostered an interest in sharpening his technical skills.  Situated in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, the MDS-O program, with its accelerated learning program and intimate cohort, caught Swapil’s eye. Having now completed the 10-month program, Swapil hopes to utilize the knowledge and technical expertise taught in the MDS program on the Okanagan campus as he prepares to continue working as a data scientist or data engineer in cross-disciplinary teams. Read Swapil's story.

Elizaveta Volkova

Elizaveta Volkova, Analyst at Hootsuite

"Everyone in the program has different backgrounds, which is terrific because we get to see and hear different perspectives, but there is also a sense of community as everyone is willing to help each other."

Previous Degree: Bachelor’s Business Information Systems, Bauman Moscow State Technical University
Program: MDS Okanagan, Class of 2020

While managing a system that collected vast amounts of data for a company I worked with in Moscow, I came to the realization that our customers would be interested in accurate predictions of both their revenue and future customers. This prompted a personal interest in building predictive models, however, I knew I would need to further develop my skills and experience in interpreting and using data. I recognized that the field of Data Science would provide me the skills I needed and the MDS program in Okanagan offered the perfect balance of small class sizes and accelerated learning. Now immersed in the program, I am gaining the technical expertise and practical experience that I know I will be able to apply when entering back into the workforce.

About Elizaveta Volkova

Originally from Moscow, Russia, Elizaveta received her undergraduate degree in Business Information Systems from the Bauman Moscow State Technical University. During her undergraduate studies, Elizaveta also took work with a Russian company that optimized business processes where she helped to manage a system that compiled and stored significant amounts of data. As a part of this work, Elizaveta identified the need to improve her skills and experience in interpreting and using data and it was in searching for different tools for data analysis and predictive modelling that she realized that the field of Data Science would provide her with the skills she was interested in. Having moved to Kelowna to enter into the MDS program, Elizaveta is now gaining the technical skills she so greatly wanted to enhance, from programming to practical experience, which will make her standout as an exceptional candidate when she seeks opportunities after graduation.

Ravi Gill, MDS Computational Linguistics – Class of 2020

Ravi Gill, Validation Engineer at Intel Corporation

“The program exposed us to most of the big topics in computational linguistics such as sentiment analysis, text classification, or machine translation…I believe many companies would be ecstatic to find talent fresh out of university with these skills.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Computer Science, Vancouver Island University
Prior Experience: Performance Analyst Co-Op, TELUS
Program: MDS Computational Linguistics, Class of 2020

I was fully committed to finishing my bachelor’s and moving directly into a software position. My senior project in undergrad was a basic machine learning project where I attempted to look at social media metadata over time (number of likes, shares, etc) and try to predict the next most popular musician. This led to an 8-month co-op with TELUS which focused heavily on machine learning and text processing. This changed my perspective and interests from programming for software to programming for data science.

About Ravi

After obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, BC native Ravi Gill didn’t want to move too far away from home to pursue a master’s degree in data science. Ravi’s 8-month co-op with TELUS changed his interest from software programming to programming for data science. Read Ravi's story.

Niki Hajmoshir

Niki Hajmoshir, Language Engineer at Amazon

“What I really like about this program is that we get more hands-on experience and work with data sets and corpora so when we go into industry we won’t be lost because we know how to handle these things.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor's in Medical Laboratory Science, University of British Columbia
Program: MDS Computational Linguistics, Class of 2020

Everything I am learning in MDS CL, from coding to statistics to Natural Language Processing is all interesting, relevant and applicable to what we've seen every day in the world. It makes you think how I can use this in my life and I like how the instructors put it in a way that I can easily apply these to multiple fields.

About Niki Hajmoshir

Niki received her Bachelor's in Medical Laboratory Science from the University of British Columbia. It was towards the last few years of her degree that Niki realized she wanted to switch fields into something more computer related and found herself working on projects that used Natural Language Processing. This resulted in Niki becoming very interested in Computational Linguistics and to apply to the MDS CL program. Meet Niki.


Chidera Okoma

Chidera Okoma,Business Insight and Analytics Associate at TD

“I am thankful to the MDS-CL at UBC for arming me with the skills to be a creative problem solver and a great critical thinker. These are skills that experts in the field are renowned for and I am confident that my training at UBC has prepared me adequately.”


Previous Degree: Bachelor of Engineering, Computer Engineering, Covenant University
Prior Experience: Data Analyst, BaverianVine Ltd.
Program: MDS Computational Linguistics, Class of 2020

I saw the MDS-CL program as a typical MDS program but with the cherry on the cake. It offered mostly what the Master of Data Science offers with an additional focus on natural language processing. This was the deciding factor for me. NLP was important for me because a lot of the data I had come across came as free form texts and it was important that I learnt to work with those.

About Chidera Okoma

Chidera holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Computer Engineering from Nigeria’s Covenant University. Prior to joining the MDS CL program, Chidera worked as a data analyst with BaverianVine Ltd., a startup that consulted for the largest Nigerian institutions. It was while working in her role as a data analyst that she saw the impact that data insight had in decision-making. Read Chidera's story.

Toshiko Shibano

Toshiko Shibano, MDS Computational Linguistics – Class of 2020

“If you are like me and enjoy devising solutions to real world problems, have a desire to transfer knowledge and skills from a previous job to the digitized world, or are passionate about language, this program is worth the money and time.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, University of British Columbia
Prior Experience: Executive Vice President, Senior Translator and Programmer, Simulingual Inc.
Program: MDS Computational Linguistics, Class of 2020

“If you are like me and enjoy devising solutions to real world problems, have a desire to transfer knowledge and skills from a previous job to the digitized world, or are passionate about language, this program is worth the money and time.”

As a professional translator, I have always been interested in machine translation. In particular, I wanted to know how linguistic data were processed in deep learning models. I wanted to be able to test out my hypotheses about how to improve the current machine translation models.

About Toshiko Shibano

Prior to the MDS Computational Linguistics program, Toshiko ran a translation business in Japan, which specialized in financial accounting and her clientele included major international audit firms, listed companies, and multinational corporations. Toshiko picked up programming to automate routine processes so that she could spend more time on translation. After handing over her business, Toshiko moved to Canada and pursued a Bachelor of Art degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia. Read Toshiko's story.

Aaron Tian, MDS Computational Linguistics - Class of 2019

Aaron Tian, Data Engineer at KPMG Canada

“The biggest benefit you get coming into this program is you get to work with a lot of people with different backgrounds, in terms of the fields they come from, and who tend to approach the same question from different angles.”

Previous Degree: Master of Science in Computational Finance, DePaul University
Program: MDS Computational Linguistics, Class of 2020

With MDS CL, the data science courses are very essential to becoming a computational linguist. The program gives us a solid foundation for us to use our linguistics skills and put them into practice.

About Aaron Tian

Originally from China, Aaron has a Master of Science in Computational Finance from DePaul University. Coming from the finance industry, Aaron noticed that a lot of people were using Natural Language Processing tools to measure sentiment of the market to make better investment strategies. Seeing this, Aaron saw that the MDS Computational Linguistics program would give him the skills in sentiment analysis that he can apply to the finance industry.

Carrie Cheung

Carrie Cheung, Data Scientist at NuData Security, A Mastercard Company

“The MDS program gave me the confidence to explain and reason through data-related decisions.”

Previous Degree:  Bachelor of Arts, Double Major in Computer Science and Psychology, University of British Columbia
Program:  MDS Vancouver, Class of 2019

When I looked at the [MDS] curriculum, it was a really good range of relevant topics that I could tell was carefully designed and curated to fit within a ten-month window and also included a capstone project. That timeline really appealed to me as someone who was coming in as a working professional wanting to take that plunge but not wanting to do it for two or four year.

About Carrie Cheung

Prior to the MDS program, Carrie worked for Boeing Vancouver in various roles including one as a data scientist. While at Boeing, Carrie analyzed flight sensor data, which opened her eyes to a world where programming and math can be applied to data to solve business problems. Carrie holds a Bachelor of Arts, Double Major in Computer Science and Psychology from the University of British Columbia. Since graduating, Carrie is now a data scientist for NuData Security – A MasterCard company. Read Carrie's story.

Ayla Pearson

Ayla Pearson, Computational Biologist at Poisson Consulting Ltd.

“The MDS program was exactly what I wanted to be able to do with data, which is to turn data into meaningful actions and be able to create decisions from them.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science, Chemistry – University of Victoria
Prior Experience: Resource Clerk, Province of British Columbia
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2019

I've been looking for data science master's programs for months. Nothing really clicked and as soon as I read the MDS program description, it was exactly what I wanted to do and that is being able to use already collected data to answer decisions to create solutions and to try and get new information out of it which was everything that I was trying to do in my work already but didn't really have the skills to do it or the confidence.

About Ayla Pearson

Hailing from Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Ayla initially wanted to pursue a master’s in biology but couldn’t find the right program. Ayla realized that she preferred to do the data analysis side of biology versus going out in the field and collecting the data but she didn’t think that she could. A conversation with her mother made Ayla realize that she could separate those careers. Ayla enjoyed the fast-paced environment of the MDS program and the small classes allowed her to engage with other students and faculty on a one-to-one basis. Ayla will be returning to her role as a resource clerk with the Ministry of Forests Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development but hopes to transition into a data science role within the organization in the near-future. Ayla holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry from the University of Victoria. Read Ayla's story.

Birinder Singh

Birinder Singh, Modeling Engineer at Alice Insights Inc.

“[MDS’] extensive and comprehensive curriculum was not being covered at any of the other programs within this short span of ten months.”

Previous Degree: Integrated MTech, Geophysical Technology, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2019

I was already curious and reading articles about the developments in machine learning and doing Kaggle competitions and some online courses. If I was only doing online courses, I would have missed a lot. MDS taught me what skills were important and how to connect the dots while providing guidance that is missing from online courses.

About Birinder Singh

Originally from Amritsar, India, Birinder worked for Schlumberger for almost 5 years as a Petro Technical Engineer. It was falling oil prices that prompted Birinder to find a way to better utilize available data to create value for its clients. Birinder holds an Integrated MTech, Geophysical Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee. Since completing the program, Birinder is now a data scientist for Integra Data and Analytics Solutions, a Calgary-based company that provides data science solutions to the oil and gas industry. Read Birinder's story.

Heather Van Tassel, MDS Vancouver - Class of 2019

Heather Van Tassel, MDS Vancouver - Class of 2019

“The years of knowledge and expertise that the MDS teachers have is priceless. Even if I did sit down and try to learn data science, I wouldn't know where to start or what to focus on.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science, Integrated Science: Biochemistry and Neuroscience, University of British Columbia
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2019

Even though at first I was skeptical about whether the MDS program would be worth the investment, and also extremely nervous about the intensity of the program, given my limited coding skills, I could not be happier with the knowledge, experience and job opportunities I have gained through the program, and would recommend it to anyone looking to challenge themselves and help shape their career towards utilizing these exciting, powerful and innovative data science tools. I have learned so much in such a short amount of time and am inspired to continue adding diversity to the field as a woman in data science.

About Heather Van Tassel

As Heather was completing her biochemistry and neuroscience degree at the University of British Columbia, she took a biostatistics course which became her doorway into data science. A MDS alumna and UBC professor encouraged her to apply to the MDS program. What appealed to Heather the most about the MDS program was how inclusive it was in accepting students from all backgrounds who don’t necessarily have a strong background in computer science. Heather feels that the MDS program gave her the hands-on skills and knowledge to actually be able to help businesses find value and insights from their data for real-world impacts. Read Heather's story.

Vaghul Balaji, MDS Okanagan – 2019

Vaghul Balaji, Data Engineer at RBC

"When I was looking for a program to take my career to the next level, I found the program at UBC and it ticked all of my boxes – it’s accelerated, it’s in a field that I really like, and gives me the skills that I need for the current trend in the market; it satisfied everything I was looking for."

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Engineering – Computer Engineering, National University of Singapore
Prior Experience: Technology Developer & Analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Program: MDS Okanagan, Class of 2019

I’ve always been intrigued by the power of computers and what you can program them to do. After some time as a developer and analyst, I realized, that I don’t want to be a traditional or a standard software engineer. I want to get into my own niche area, and I really like the field of data science, especially these days with the amount of data that’s out there.  When I was looking for a program to take my career to the next level, I found the program at UBC and it ticked all of my boxes – it’s accelerated, it’s in a field that I really like, and gives me the skills that I need for the current trend in the market; it satisfied everything I was looking for.

About Vaghul Balaji

Vaghul spent four years in the financial services industry where he began as a software developer before transitioning to the role of business analyst. Since childhood, he has been fascinated by technology, the power of computers, and what you can do with them. That is even more true today than it was then, with the amount of data in today’s world. During his time as an undergraduate student at the National University of Singapore, he did an exchange program that led to a term spent at the University of Ottawa, where he fell in love with Canada. When he decided it was time for a career change, Canada and data science were the two key requirements. Vaghul was part of the first cohort of MDS students on the Okanagan campus and graduated in the summer of 2019. He is now a data engineer at RBC in Toronto, Ontario. Meet Vaghul.

Kira Wiese, MDS Okanagan-2019

Kira Wiese, Financial Data Analyst at Mattamy Homes

"I really like that the program is 10-months and all course based. After coming from a degree focused on theory, I was really looking to gain practical knowledge."

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science – Statistics, University of Calgary
Program: MDS Okanagan, Class of 2019

Growing up in rural Alberta, my first step away from home was pursuing an undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary. With an analytical but also creative personality, I was unsure of which path was my best fit. It was not until I completed my first statistics course that I started to see the applications of data analysis – whether it was in health care or agriculture, or anything, really. I gained a firm theoretical knowledge of statistics, but still wanted to see the real-world outcomes of my numbers. In the MDS program I’m getting the more practical training—the programming and the real-world applications—to accompany my theoretical knowledge.  

About Kira Wiese

Originally from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Kira got her undergraduate degree in statistics, with a minor in actuarial science, from the University of Calgary. Having excelled there, she began looking for career paths that would let her put her love of numbers to practical and important use. A fellow undergraduate told her about the MDS program at UBC, and when she saw it was being offered at the Okanagan campus – a smaller learning environment she thought might better suit her desire for a more close-knit, personal experience – all of the pieces seemed to fall into place. Kira hopes to be able to combine the practical skills she is learning in the MDS with the theoretical skills gained in her undergraduate degree to pursue a career interpreting data for industries relevant to her home region, like agriculture, oil and gas. Since completing the program, Kira is working as a financial data analyst with Mattamy Homes, North America's largest privately owned homebuilder. Meet Kira.

Mohsen Zardadi

Mohsen Zardadi, Data Scientist at Terra Sense Analytics

"I have found people in Kelowna so friendly and easy to connect and students might find much better opportunities here. I strongly recommend students to consider small communities like Kelowna." 


Previous Degree: PhD, Electrical Engineering, University of Birjand
Program: MDS Okanagan – Class of 2019

I have been working with image data for a long time so, I was kind of familiar with machine learning, AI, and programming. I believe what we are doing with big data, machine learning, and AI is just the tip of the iceberg. It is like the internet in the 90s. I did so much research and talked to many people before I make my decision and switch to data science. 

About Mohsen Zardadi

Mohsen has a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Birjand and worked for Burnaby-based Kardium, a medical devices company, as a Usability Team Member. It was while in this role, he could see that everything is getting affected by machine learning and AI and saw a bright future for data science. Since graduating, Mohsen works as a data scientist for Kelowna-based TerraSense Analytics.

Jordan Dubchak, MDS Vancouver - 2018

Jordan Dubchak, Data Scientist at Teck Resources Ltd.

“Having the support of a very dedicated team of instructors along with the environment of your fellow students who have all such different backgrounds is my favorite thing of the program because you're learning so much not only from your instructors and your TA’S but also the people around you because they have different specialized skills.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science - Biology, University of British Columbia
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2018

I took my first computer science course in the last term of my undergraduate degree, which lead to a change in career path. The switch to data science began through self-learning, and my curiosity lead me to the MDS program. I was initially drawn to the program by the accelerated format and believed the structure of the fundamental data science materials would best set me up for success in my new field.  

About Jordan Dubchak

Between Jordan’s undergraduate and MDS degrees, Jordan worked as a preschool teacher. Since MDS graduation, Jordan has been working as a consultant for Slalom Consulting - Silicon Valley,  helping Fortune 100 companies solve their data problems. 

Ted Haley - Applied Materials and Software Engineer

Ted Haley, Applied Materials & Software Engineer at UBC

"Coming from a Civil Engineering background, I was initially unsure if the MDS program would benefit me. My uncertainty was quickly put at ease seeing more and more industries leveraging the benefits of Data Science. There is tremendous opportunity to use the skills learned in the MDS program and apply them to solve hard problems in traditionally low-tech industries."


Previous Degree: Bachelors of Applied Science in Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia
Prior Experience: RJC Engineers
Program:  MDS Vancouver, Class of 2018

I came to the UBC MDS program because I knew that I wanted to learn as much about Data Science as I could and I wanted to broaden my skill set. The UBC MDS program accomplished this by supplying students with world-class educators and by providing engaging labs to apply this theoretical knowledge, in a hands-on environment. I learned a lot this way in the short 10-month program, but I also can attribute this to having helpful and knowledgeable peers, and thought-provoking work. This program attracts brilliant people from all over the globe, and I'm very pleased to have them as friends and potential future colleagues. 

About Ted Haley

Ted is a civil engineer with 6 years of experience in construction management and consulting industries. He has experience managing construction projects from minor renovations to multi-billion dollar design-build projects. He hopes to apply his skills from the MDS program in conjunction with his experience from the consulting industry to solve tough problems facing society and industry. Since graduating, Ted is now an applied software and materials engineer with the University of British Columbia where he has developed a data management platform for an automated robotics platform using Python.

Rodrigo Coronado, MDS Class of 2017

Rodrigo Coronado, Director for Advanced Analytics at Avande

"MDS gave me a great insight into the data science value chain, and provided me with a deep understanding of algorithms, statistical models and development practices."

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Management Information Systems, Technologico de Monterrey
Prior Experience: Hewlett Packard, Microsoft
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2017

With my background in business and global enterprises, combined with the data science experience I gained in MDS, I’m eager to pursue a strategic role translating the benefits of data science into business value. I’m passionate about how enterprises and society are leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning—from retailers using AI bots, warehouses powered on AI robots, utility companies forecasting energy demand, hospitals automating triage processes, and researchers predicting heart attacks. I get excited thinking about the possibilities of applying my skills to drive change in industry and in the world.

About Rodrigo Coronado

Prior to completing the UBC Master of Data Science program, Rodrigo earned a degree in management information systems. He has a wide range of experience leading delivery teams and international projects and has worked with Hewlett Packard and Microsoft for 18 years in a diverse set of positions in business development, project management, enterprise applications, and global enterprise architecture practices. Rodrigo currently works as the Director of Advanced Analytics for Avanade in Calgary, Alberta.

Kai He, MDS Class of 2017

Kai He, Data Scientist at BGC Engineering

"My capstone project involved Natural Language Processing using topic modelling tools, where I learned about not only model and feature selection, but also collaboration, exploratory data analysis process, and much more."

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science, University of British Columbia
Prior Experience: University of British Columbia, Bioinformatics Laboratory
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2017

I realized early on in my undergraduate studies that I also have a strong interest in mathematics and computer science. I took many math and algorithm electives while studying Life Sciences, and decided that I'd like to learn more about how to process large amount of raw data, build practical statistical models, and derive insightful and actionable solutions. That's exactly what I learned in this intense, accelerated program. I was trained in data wrangling, machine learning as well as communicating my ideas and insights as a data scientist.

About Kai He

Kai has worked in multiple Bioinformatics labs as a data analyst/research assistant. He is currently a Data Scientist at BGC Engineering, where he is applying machine learning techniques to real industrial problems in the field of geoengineering. He believes that this is a new domain with a large amount of data in all forms, such as time series, unstructured text, images, and even 50-year-old paper maps with coffee stains on them. He is learning more everyday and is very excited to find new ways of utilizing all the historical data. 

Nada Salem, MDS Class of 2017

Nada Salem, Data Scientist at Spotify

"My goal is to empower management to make better and more informed data driven decisions for the organization."

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Carnegie Mellon University
Prior Experience: EY
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2017

My background as a management consultant as well as my MDS degree have made me aware of the value a data scientist can drive from large amounts of information already present inside an institution. This program has allowed me to amass a large amount of skills that extend from data wrangling and visualization to training machine learning models and algorithms. Hear more about Nada's story.

About Nada Salem

Nada has 2 years of experience as a management consultant and has worked on solving business problems through structured and data-based analyses to improve client performance. Prior to being a consultant, Nada completed a degree in business administration with a focus on marketing analytics. With a passion in Behavioral Economics, Nada’s thesis analyzed and classified consumer risk-taking behavior using a wide range of features collected from various data sources. After graduating from the MDS program, Nada worked as a data scientist with Microsoft and is now currently working as a data science with Spotify in New York City.

Nasim Taba

Nasim Taba, Data Scientist at BC Stats

"I am excited to participate fully in the sweeping changes in data science, and the ideal next step is to use my MDS knowledge for social good. I am interested in exploring factors that contribute to youth homelessness; using hard data to shed light on social patterns may help alleviate problems of teenagers and their families."

Previous Degree: Master of Management Sciences, University of Waterloo
Prior Experience: Deloitte
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2017

In the MDS program, I learned to extract and analyze data from both unstructured and structured forms and communicate the findings to enable organizations to make informed decisions based on data. We were well trained in Python, R, and SQL. Projects included working with both structured and non-structured data; data cleaning and imputation; applying cleaned data to various machine learning models to provide multivariate assessments, classification and prediction; visualizing data using Matplotlib, Shiny app and ggplot.

About Nasim Taba

Nasim Taba has more than 4 years of management consulting experience gained through her career at Deloitte IT Consulting. With experience in implementing small and large scale IT project implementations for Fortune 500 and 1000 companies, Nasim has experience working throughout the entire project lifecycle. From managing JAD sessions with stakeholders, developing functional design and specifications to quality and transformation requirements to developing test cases for highly complex projects, she has also simultaneously managed project staff and resources to ensure all milestones are delivered on time and within budget.

Subi Zhang - MDS Vancouver, Class of 2017

Subi Zhang, Data Science Consultant at Deloitte

"My passion is to understand and empower business through data science approaches."

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Management, Beijing Forestry University 
Prior Experience: Xiaomi, Publicis Media
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2017

Two years ago, I decided to make a bold career change moving from human resources into data analysis. I made it happen through the UBC MDS program. MDS helped me gain the knowledge and skill sets required as a data science professional. The final capstone project was amazing: I obtained hands-on industrial experience on real-world data science problems in a collaborative manner. As an international student, I also felt MDS provided an excellent immersive environment that greatly improved my English in a short period of time.

About Subi Zhang

Subi is a self-motivated learner who keeps extending her career through her curiosity for business and technology. She started her career as a technical recruiter at Xiaomi supporting the advertising algorithm team, where she got in-depth exposure to multiple business applications in machine learning. This peaked her interest in data science and she took a job as a data analyst in Publicis Media where she helped advertising clients make informed decisions. She is currently employed as a Data Science Consultant at Deloitte in Toronto, Ontario.