In the world of data and statistics, changes happen at the speed of light. To help our employees stay up to date and gain new skills – and move up within the company in the process – BNP Paribas Personal Finance offers our data analysts and staff in related fields the chance to take Upskilling courses at acclaimed universities.
An interview with Antoine, the 35-year-old head of statistical studies for the analytic marketing department at BNP Paribas Personal Finance who took part in one of these courses for the first time after five years at the company.
Tell us a little about the big data Upskilling programme that you completed
I had the opportunity to complete a data scientist training course at the national school for statistics and business administration (ENSAE), which has an excellent reputation for its engineering and statistics programmes.
After starting out at a market research firm, I was hired at BNP Paribas Personal Finance. I feel like here they care about me as an employee and the work environment is much more structured and organised. One day someone told me about this programme that offers continuing education courses to professionals like me.
How did you find out about this programme?
A colleague in the analytics department where I work had completed the programme the year before at a different school. He said great things about it and seemed happy to have earned his data scientist certificate because he can now work on a broader range of projects. Then this year our department head told us that there were two slots open that we could apply for, so I went for it.
What motivated you to participate?
I put my name forward right away because big data and data science are cutting-edge topics in our field. Things change fast. New technologies had come out since I had finished my degree and I didn’t know how to use them. This was my chance to catch up and gain new skills.
How many of you took the course and how often did you have classes?
There were two “students” from BNP Paribas Personal Finance and we started the course one month apart. The programme has classes of 15 students working in the banking, insurance, healthcare, digital marketing and other sectors.
We had lessons three days a month for six months. That’s 18 days of training in all, with a month between each session so we could assimilate and apply what we learned.
Did you have to take an exam at the end to get your certificate?
Yes, there was a final exam and we had to do a presentation to get the final certificate, which proves that we completed the course and we are now up-to-date on the new techniques used in our field.
The certificate is from a prestigious school, so it carries a lot of weight and shows that we have levelled up our skill sets.
What have you gained from it?
Data science and statistics are closely related, and I don’t see them as separate fields, even if some think differently. I wouldn’t say that I’ve changed jobs, but now I’m more informed about the new techniques used in our fields; techniques that didn’t even exist ten years ago. Since this is a field that is rapidly evolving and always changing, when you have a job you tend to stick with what you know and ignore what is going on outside your bubble. This gave me a chance to encounter and learn about new practices and methods in the fields of statistics, machine learning and big data, so I can take my data analysis and processing to the next level.
That will help me in my day-to-day work on more innovative projects that differ from the ones I’ve worked on before. It’s given me a lot of ideas and motivated me to try new approaches.
Would you recommend the programme to your colleagues?
I would tell anyone working in statistics and analytics that they should take this course because it will help bring them up to date on many different techniques and technologies. They cover a range of different topics so even if some subjects don’t apply to you, there will be others that you will find fascinating.
If you are passionate about data analysis, data science and all their related fields, find out about our internship, work-study and career opportunities in these areas by clicking here.