LOCAL: KTP Brighton Associate Scheme – Find Out More…

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So now you know all about the KTP Associate Scheme and you’d like to know more… check out the Associate profiles below to discover what being an Associate entails, and how it will help you.

Maria Diapouli

Background

Knowledge and Innovation Management, MBA, University of Brighton, Brighton, UK

MSc in Internet Technology and e-Commerce, Grade: Distinction, University of Greenwich, London

BSc degree In Computer Science – Informatics, Grade: 2.1, Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, Greece

Brief description of project

I was working with Crimtan, a global digital marketing company as part of my KTP project. Crimtan’s clients include Marks and Spencer, Santander and Sky and provide services including:

  • running advertising campaigns
  • campaign optimisation towards customer KPI
  • audience profiling and segmentation
  • audience targeting/ retargeting and reporting

The project was supported by academics from the University of Brighton’s School of Computing Engineering Mathematics. My project focussed on developing and implementing innovative data mining and modelling techniques to enhance customer profiling and optimise advert placement and effectiveness.

This included:

Phase 1: I reviewed and analysed the company’s business objectives, customer base, technology, delivery architecture and processes. Data mining and artificial intelligence techniques and methodologies were also analysed in accordance to company’s business objectives and systems architecture and business processes were documented.

Phase 2: I investigated data availability and developed processes for data collection, data cleaning, data validation and preparation. Open-source algorithms were identified, implemented and the best-performing ones were incorporated into business workflows.

Phase 3 I developed innovative approaches to enhancing placement rules by developing models for prediction for user click and conversion rate. Additional techniques were developed for accelerated tuning models behaviour in order to refine models for achieving peak effectiveness on new campaigns. The impact of these innovations is measured through the development of business impact metrics.

Highlights from the project

I had the opportunity to take part in industry relevant conferences including Thirty-second SGAI International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and the Seventeenth UK Workshop on Case-Based Reasoning, UK KDD BCS 2014 and was also able to participate in technical workshops. Which included Hadoop, Microsoft VBA, Microsoft SQL Server, all of which supported the successful delivery of the project.

A particular project success was the final outcomes of the model implementation. We can normally expect projects in data mining area to indicate that the accuracy of the learned patterns is between 40-60% however this KTP project delivered 90% accuracy of the data mining patterns, which a huge success for the company pushing them ahead of the competition in this area.

The best thing about being a KTP Associate

Through this KTP I have gained invaluable commercial experience, particularly in online advertising. I had professional training in technical excellence/ state of the art (e.g. Hadoop, Hive, MS SQL, VBA), had business management/leadership exposure and had the chance to be mentored by lead academics and industry experts which I would not otherwise have been able to experience.

Challenges overcome during partnership

In the beginning, this KTP seemed to be challenging due to the nature of the company – the large volumes of data, and its specialisation in terms of low level complexity (e.g. raw cookies, xml data, csv files, etc.). However, both my company and academic supervisors helped me to overcome the challenges: The academic supervisors have provided their expertise in the Data Mining research area and the company supervisors have delivered descriptions regarding their data processing and optimisation systems. With the support of my supervisors the project has followed a successful path and has delivered insightful results to the company.

What I am doing now

My current job as a Research Officer in Data Mining Project Management at the University of Brighton has a similar feel to the KTP in terms of tasks, roles and responsibilities. In particular my everyday duties are related to:

  • project management
  • demonstration of analytics knowledge and implementation of heterogeneous databases and Big data
  • competence in programming on data analysis tools
  • research on various data mining algorithms and techniques

I would recommend a KTP because

Definitely I would recommend a KTP since it is a very well structured program that offers huge support on the KTP Associate. The whole experience is invaluable.

Top tips for maintaining a successful and rewarding KTP partnership

From the Associate perspective:

  • Be responsive to any changes to the project plan
  • Always consider the final company’s objectives
  • Consider your personal development as early as in the process as possible
  • Enjoy the KTP Residential Course modules and keep in touch with other Associates

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Jugal Desai

Background: University of Warwick (MSc Engineering Business Management)

Brief description of project

To develop and implement an innovative product design process, fully integrated into the supply chain, to deliver competitive, modular products for new and established markets.

Highlights from the project

Personal highlights:

This project was an eye opening opportunity for me. Working on this project has helped me to realise my hidden potentials. My key personal highlights from the KTP include;

1)    Presenting a paper at the KTP Associate’s Conference 2013.

2)    Achieving certified status of Managing Successful Programmes ® Practitioner.

3)    Delivering a motivational marketing presentation for UoB members of staff.

4)    Presenting as a key note speaker at the KTP Associate’s Conference 2014.

5)    Becoming a finalist for “Business Leader of Tomorrow” Awards.

6)    Identifying my hidden managerial and leader potential along with business acumen that led me to an Operations Manager role post KTP.

Project highlights:

The project has fundamentally changed the way that Dando’s operations are performed. The most effective aspect has been the integration of the information between various departments and key supply chain links. Any queries are now being flagged in real time, enabling Dando to be more flexible, proactive, economic and responsive.

The project has also provided strategic benefits for the University. It has been able to document and understand the impact of this work in a real manufacturing environment and has been able to apply this to relevant teaching materials. The project also generated a significant number of student placements, and two of these students were recruited by Dando after graduation.

This project has helped me to build an engineering managerial career as I have since been employed by the company as Operations Manager.

The best thing about being a KTP Associate

There are infinite benefits to this role but of all, I believe following to be the best thing about being a KTP Associate;

“You own your success”. There is no better thing feeling you have been successful. I was a strategic partner in this Partnership and my career dream is to achieve a key corporate leadership position within a global organisation. This is a long term dream that could take more than 10 years of learning and experience, however KTP has been a driving force to help me achieve this dream sooner by giving me the opportunity to lead a corporate strategic project.

Challenges overcome during partnership

Mine was a two year long project with high level strategic aims and significant outputs, so maintaining enthusiasm throughout the project was a key challenge. Some say, “Success consists of going from failure to failure but without the loss of enthusiasm”. The success of the KTP project depends on the enthusiasm, patience and motivation of the Associate. I treated KTP Project as a business in itself and KTP Associate (myself) as its Business Director. Hence, all the challenges were to be faced with passion to make this business successful – enthusiasm is the catalyst that will make a KTP Project shine to the stars.

What I am doing now

I am currently employed as Operations Manager at Dando Drilling International. I oversee Supply Chain, Planning, Product Development and Production functions. My work includes managing day-to-day activities as well as coming up with new processes and strategies, so potential applicants must be able to see both the big picture and the minute details. Daily tasks may include: reading, writing, and analysing reports and statistics; presenting to stakeholders and members of upper management; establishing and tracking budgets; researching new technologies or methods of efficiency; and managing employees, manage inventory, facility layouts, product distribution, and many more tasks.

Working as a KTP Associate, I gathered a good strategic insight of the company’s operations, the challenges it faced and its vision. This provided a strong foundation that led me to Operations Manager role.

I would recommend a KTP because…

In today’s world, the fact is that being different is the first step to success. I have found KTP to be the only programme that is truly different compared to others and which adds great value to your career dreams. I believe that “Leading a successful team and leading a successful dream are two different things”; KTP is the only programme that will fuel both.

The Verse Staff

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