A University of Stirling student has won a prestigious industry award for her data analysis project with NHS National Services Scotland.

Anita George scooped the top accolade at the Data Scientist 2.0: Talent Driven Innovation conference, organised by Data Lab. The MSc Data Science for Business student at Stirling Management School was recognised for the quality of her work and personal development while on placement with NHS National Services Scotland (NHS NSS).

The team at NHS NSS were so impressed by Anita and her work that she has been offered a full-time job with the organisation. Anita’s project involved identifying ways to optimise patient pathways which would help improve the level of patient care and efficiency for the organisation.

The Data Lab judging panel based their decision on a number of criteria, including; the challenges each project had to overcome, the impact it would have on Scottish society, and the soft skills students developed and enhanced while taking part.

What makes Anita’s success more impressive is that she had no previous data analysis experience before undertaking her Masters degree at Stirling, after securing a scholarship from Data Lab. The Stirling local, originally from India, previously worked as an architect before taking a career break.

She said: “It has been a whirlwind year since starting my studies at the Stirling Management School and it hasn’t really sunk in yet. Winning the Data Lab award for my course project and being offered a full-time job has been fantastic.

“The employability and personal development workshops held as part of my course were instrumental in helping me build the transferable skills required to go into the workplace as a data analyst.

“Coming from a creative architecture background made the transition to data analysis quite a challenge, as it was a whole new way of thinking. However, the lecturers were very supportive and approachable, which helped me to adapt.

“The wide range of different cultures and nationalities on my course and across the campus also played a part in my own personal development and ability to work in a team. This was really helpful when I went on my placement, as it meant I was able to take initiative and begin contributing right from the start.”

The MSc Data Science for Business course offered at Stirling Management School was the first of its kind to be launched in Scotland. About to welcome its second intake of student, the course was developed in collaboration with a number of companies and organisations, including HSBC, The Data Lab and SAS.

It has been designed to teach students how to use data to drive value for organisations and retains strong connections with industry. More than a third of the course involves students working directly with companies and organisations on real-world projects.

Jonathan Cameron, Head of Service for Strategic Development Public Health and Intelligence at NHS NSS, said: “It is fantastic news and great to hear that Anita’s hard work on her Masters project has been recognised and rewarded. We are also delighted that Anita will be working with NHS NSS in her career and look forward to seeing her skills and knowledge from the Data Science for Business course being used in our organisation.”