Why we’ve partnered with Women in data…

At M&G plc, we believe that creating an inclusive culture is critical to our success. By bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds, we can better engage colleagues, uncover new ways of thinking, and better serve the needs of our customers and clients.

We need different perspectives, skills, talent, and the energy of exceptional people placed across every area of our business, to help us become the best loved and most successful savings business. We’re excited to partner with Women in Data to highlight our diverse talent, attract a larger female talent pool and widen our network in data science and analytics.

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with debbie kerr

Debbie Kerr, data scientist

Bio

Expertise: Data engineering, data visualisation, data modelling

Education: Mathematics (Hons)

My love of data started with my love for maths. Back in school, I thought a career in data would be adding numbers together on an excel spreadsheet, where I’d stop learning new things within the first year. It wasn’t until I dipped my toes in the water that I realised quite how challenging and fulfilling this career could be.

I joined M&G on a graduate scheme and after a rotation within Technology, I found a home in data. This allowed me to apply the knowledge and skills developed during my studies, in a real and practical setting. The problem-solving aspects of the job and the business challenge of using data to tell impactful stories, led me to realise a career in data was for me. The area I work in focuses on delivering products into the hands of our customers, which sounds simple, but the work is varied and challenging. My colleagues have a great passion towards growth, which is really motivating to be around. The role is not without its challenges – throughout the graduate programme I had to upskill continuously but, in an industry where the tooling is constantly evolving, this taught me valuable skills. Before joining M&G, I felt quite intimidated at the thought of long coding scripts, but now it’s something I’m extremely comfortable with. I used to think everyone who was good at programming learned the skills so early and naturally, that it would be impossible to catch up with them. However, diving into this role really taught me this is not the case. People join at varied levels, and everyone must spend time learning. Being able to problem-solve is much more important than what languages you know going into this type of role.

I’ve recently also started working on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiatives within the organisation. I do this in conjunction with my data role, alongside a team of people who are all passionate about creating an inclusive environment for all at M&G. A major focus of our work has been encouraging more women to consider data or technology as a career option. We’ve made a lot of progress so far and are excited to partner with WiD, to use their platform and expertise to have an even wider impact.

rebecca patrick, data management manager

Bio

Expertise: Business intelligence, data warehousing, data quality

Education: BEng (Computer Science), Anna University, Chennai, India

I opened the doors to the world of data by opting for a specialisation curriculum in data warehousing at university, which paved my way to a career in business intelligence. I upped my way through India’s technological boom in the early 2000s by further honing on my data skills, enabling me to travel to the UK to further advance my career.

My data journey has now spanned 14 years in business analysis and data management – disrupting and transforming data as well as technology initiatives across various telecom and utility businesses along the way.

Having always had the hope for a fairer and an equal world, I believe data is ‘the lifeline of the masses,’ and to be an enabler in the social and the economic upliftment of the community at large. 

I recently joined M&G’s Chief Data Office (CDO) as a Product Owner and Data Management Manager, trusted with the roadmap for the data catalogue and the adoption of data principles and policies by change initiatives. I’m glad to be part of an organisation who believes in team collaboration and offers a flexible and supportive environment. 

Outside of work, I’m a regular working mom of two young boys (six and three years old). My maternity breaks and recent juggling of home schooling and home working during the various lockdowns has made me realise the value of women’s extra efforts to be successful in a workplace

Mengting Sun, Enterprise Data Management Manager

Bio

Expertise: Data management, data process design and automation, data transformation and data modelling

Education: MSc in Management Information Systems – LSE

(MBA in Finance. BSc in E-commerce Engineering. BSc in Analytics and Management)

My data journey began 11 years ago in my second year at university, with running a start-up for a data-centric food delivery business in Beijing, where I learnt the magic of analytics and digital marketing to power-up business, even for SMEs (small medium enterprises). Whilst studying my Master’s in London, I worked for a small hotel reservation business in Shoreditch, analysing user journeys and modelling pricing for the consistent changing demand, which is now referred to as ‘dynamic pricing.’ I then opened my door towards the power of SQL, Python, Splunk and Tableau – these valuable experiences gave me the opportunity of being a graduate developer at the Bank of England (BoE) in their Data Analytics and Warehousing division. Whilst in this role I started to doubt my ability, as the work was heavily focused on software deployment rather than a culture or an environment for growing the power of data. 

After making a tough decision to leave the BoE, I moved to a data consultancy where I worked with companies like McDonalds, Sony, Unilever, and Prudential UK. I helped a large group of stakeholders on their journey of data collection, analytics, automation and eventually transformed their data culture. After a short stint with Barclays, I joint EY’s Global Data Office for two years, where I stretched my expertise into data process design, data modelling, taxonomy and data management and strategy, before I joined M&G in our Chief Data Office (CDO), working in Data Management and Operations.

As I reflect on my work journey, I realise I’ve always had the belief in the power of data and what it can bring to a business who truly values their future. The only thing that remains unchanged is the change itself and the passion can finally take you to where you want to be.

“At M&G plc, we believe that creating an inclusive culture is critical to our success.”

How m&g see the data landscape changing in the UK in the next five years

We see the data landscape continuing to evolve over the next five years according to four key trends. Firstly, as data volumes increase and teams work with large datasets, more challenges will arise. In search for flexibility, businesses will continue to migrate to cloud-based software, making the role of public clouds, multi cloud environments and hybrid environments an even more important trend.

Secondly, we’ll see a continued focus on privacy – linked to our first trend comes the challenges of privacy and security with the ever-increasing data volumes. It’s important that privacy and security capabilities continue to evolve at the same pace as the data growth rates, to manage the liabilities of data, and to enable the value from data, for businesses. Thirdly, we’ll see a greater and more actionable role of machine learning (ML) across a wider range of use cases. The combination of ML capabilities continuing to improve, more data scientists growing their knowledge on how to build and deploy, as well as more ‘business’ colleagues understanding how ML can support their business challenges, will create further advancements in ML. Finally, we see data being used by more organisations as a force for good i.e., identifying opportunities to reduce the impact they have on the environment, to improve diversity and inclusion for customers and employees as well as to build a successful, sustainable future.

about m&g

We’re a leading international savings and investment company with a long-term outlook, built on the core values of care and integrity. Our aim is to grow our customers’ wealth and improve their world by investing with care.

We serve customers through a number of brands including M&G Investments – an international asset manager; and Prudential which manages long-term savings, investments, and retirement solutions.