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Student story

Amanda Hughes

20 July 2023

"I love that my work is making a difference to people’s lives..."


Bachelor of Science in Statistics

Bachelor of Science with Honours in Statistics

Senior Data Scientist, Nicholson Consulting

With her role as a Senior Data Scientist, Amanda has the everyday opportunity to work with a wide range of clients for their data collection, processing, and analysis needs.

"As a consultant, each day can be quite different," she says. "My job uses a lot of the skills that I learnt as part of my degree at Canterbury. I get to use modelling techniques on a day to day basis and implement these in critical parts of the business. I love that my work is making a difference to people's lives."

Amanda has held a number of roles since graduating her Statistics degree, including work with PHARMAC and Stats NZ as a statistical analyst. Being able to adapt to data needs, from creating decision models to risk predictions, was a crucial part of her degree studies.

"My study prepared me well for the vast array of different issues I would be faced with, no two days are the same. It also prepared me for working with lots of different people, different ages, and different experiences, and how to manage both up and down in an organisation," she says.

By far her favourite aspect of Statistics is its ability to make a considerable impact on business processes and customer services.

"I really liked the real world applications and how statistics can be used to improve people's lives," she says. "It is an excellent area of study to choose, either as a major or as a minor with another subject. The ability to be data-savvy is becoming more and more important in today's economy and it is an area where skilled people are in high demand."

Considering UC as having "one of the best Mathematics and Statistics Departments in New Zealand", Amanda thoroughly appreciated the passion of the teaching staff in her Statistics courses.

"I enjoyed the support of the staff at UC, the tutors, senior tutors and lecturers were really supportive and talented in their fields. I am still in touch with many of my lecturers today. I also enjoyed the range of subjects and interest areas I was able to study, and the clubs on campus gave me a great outlet for my interests."

Being able to go on a semester exchange to University of Oxford in her final year was an added bonus for her studies.

"I had an excellent time and got to experience what life was like living on campus and studying at a prestigious UK university. UC is well connected internationally and has supporters in the form of alumni and donors around the world, and it really shows how much people value their UC education. I am still friends with my fellow classmates and have people to visit and stay with in the UK."

Likewise, Amanda hopes that she will eventually take her statistics career overseas. In her spare time she is learning French, and has previously spent a year teaching English in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

"I am working towards being more experienced in my area and learning from others. I love change and creating change in organisations so I can see myself being involved in change management from a data perspective more and more," she says. "I would love to be involved with the governance of a company, whether that is by me starting my own business or being on a board of directors of another business."

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