Real-world experience enhances Maths students’ skills
Mathematics students from the University of Leicester have been putting their skills to use with a number of high-profile industry placements.
32 final-year undergraduate students gained real-world experience at one of several industry partners, including esports platform SideFest; policy research consultancy Tech4i2; play equipment manufacturer Red Monkey Play; and the East Midlands Policing Academic Collaboration (EMPAC).
Over the course of 20 weeks, groups of students applied their data analysis and modelling skills to help each business answer a real-world problem.
Hannah Amliwala was part of a group helping Tech4i2. She said: “Working with Tech4i2 gave me invaluable experience in real-life problems. Often in mathematics, there is a correct solution or not. The business project allowed us to dive into a world where a solution does not exist.
“As teams, we developed data analysis skills, negotiation techniques to reason why we should look into an area or not, and finally verbal and written communication skills with several presentations to non-technical audiences to report writing and minuting meetings.”
Alexandra Gemmell, Senior Research Consultant for Tech4i2, explained the value of the fresh insight offered by the students. She said: “Tech4i2 is an innovative technology company frequently developing ideas for new products and services. This student project has provided an excellent way for us to quickly develop these ideas and better understand which might be viable for further development. The students have also benefited by undertaking a ‘real-life’ project with our staff.”
Elsewhere, student Ebrahim Lambat applied his skills with EMPAC, whose aim is to improve policing through research and innovation. He added: “Working alongside EMPAC has provided an amazing insight as to the applications of statistical and analytical methods learned on our modules in a real-life scenario. Throughout the project, myself and the team were able to use various techniques we had learnt through the many courses we had chosen and were able to implement them into the task provided.
“I personally found it to be an intriguing and unique experience yet enjoyable as I can identify what the past three years have contributed towards. It also showed me the importance of the mathematical degree as these tasks require an analytical and logical mindset which is developed through the years.”
Dr Alberto Paganini is a Lecturer in Applied Mathematics and Royal Society Short Industry Fellow at the University of Leicester, and coordinates the project. He said: “The University of Leicester is committed to ‘levelling up’ our students’ skills, both through teaching and the experiences offered through industry placements.
“These projects give our students a unique opportunity to develop data analytics, coding, teamwork and communication skills by working on real business challenges in close collaboration with our industrial partners.”
Find out more about Mathematical Sciences at Leicester – part of the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences – at le.ac.uk/mathematics.