Data School 1: Let the games begin

by William Guicheney

As I write this blog post surrounded by the recently met members of DS6 – my classmates and colleagues for the next four months – I have to admit it feels quite surreal. What have I gotten myself into?


I initially applied to the Data School to join DS3 back in May last year, and even though I was accepted into the program back then, I chose to take my chances and re-apply later so I could spend the summer writing my Master’s thesis. Even though it was the only company I had applied to – probably because of how little Andy and Tom tried to convince me to apply when I first met them at a career event at the LSE – I felt that taking the time to finish my academic career before selling my soul to the world of data visualization was a sensible plan, even if it meant having to re-apply entirely. Little did I know that I would actually end up leaving for Mexico a few weeks after handing in my final dissertation to work as an impact and strategy consultant with various social businesses and NGOs.  As I kept pestering Andy with more e-mails explaining to him that the Data School program was the only graduate scheme I truly wanted to pursue, but that yet again I was going to postpone my application to the next cohort, I felt that my chances of actually ever walking into this building as a trainee consultant were getting slimmer and slimmer. And yet, after submitting a hastily prepared visualization exploring the evolution of the energy sector in the UK back in February when the DS’ application rules changes (And you could now apply anytime to join the cohort of your choice), Tom and Andy offered that I join DS6. This was back in February, and I’ve been waiting impatiently to start ever since.

Having spent the past year trying to explain to my family and friends – who really don’t seem to think that making pretty pie charts and heat maps all day sounds fun – why I am so excited about this program, I’ve come into this experience with a whole set of expectations and personal growth objectives. In the interest of everyone’s cognitive load and precious time, here’s a short, simple, bullet-point list summarizing everything:

  • Become really, really, really good at Tableau. And also Alteryx. And other cool stuff too,
  • Understand the intricacies of integrating cutting-edge analytics tools into all types of businesses, big or small,
  • Figure out the role a self-service analytics tool consultant plays within an  established organization with its own best practices and professional culture.
  • Meet interesting people, learn from some of the best, and really, have a lot of fun.

I’ll do my best to tune in every week and let you all know how my adventure at the Information Lab is going.

That’s all for now, tune in next week for more!

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