Hi my name is Yulong Wang from China and I'm and MSc student in Financial Operational Research. My name is Rory Preston, I'm from Norwich in England. I decided to apply for the MSc in Statistics and Operational Research when finishing my final year of my undergraduate degree in economics. I particularly enjoyed econometrics, which is the application of statistics to understanding economic data, and so thought that the Masters would be a good way to try and pursue that interest further.
I think it's an amazing class because you have people from different backgrounds - not only different regions, different nations, but also different education backgrounds - some from mathematics, some from computer science, and also some from engineering. And also, people have different levels of work experience - some have just graduated from university and some have many years' experience. I actually had a job before I started the MSc, but I now think that having done the MSc it's opened up a much wider range of options for the future which I didn't really know about beforehand, so that's definitely been a good thing. It's very exciting for you to all sit together, to learn, to cooperate and sharing your stories. A lot of the lecturers took several of our courses, so not just one, meaning that you got to know them quite well, and that by the end you felt very comfortable approaching them if you had any particular problems. Don't be put off if you didn't do a maths - straight maths - as your undergraduate degree. I did economics and found that I haven't been at too much of a disadvantage because my course had a reasonable amount of mathematical content. I think the MSc programme provides a tight link with industry all across the whole year.
In the first semester you will see lecturers, speakers, from industry - different areas like in the... from British Airways, from the energy sector and also from financial institutions. And then in the second semester you have optional course which is delivered by the industrial people. And then finally you've got a wide range of choice for your dissertation. My dissertation is based at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Edinburgh, which is an interdisciplinary environmental science research centre. My dissertation in particular looks at trying to understand and predict the errors in environmental models which are created by running those models on low-resolution instead of high-resolution input data. An example of such a model might be for predicting the greenhouse gas emissions from soil and vegetation into the atmosphere.
I would absolutely recommend the MSc, so long as you're prepared for quite an intense year of work and knowing that you'll be expected to learn a lot - and hopefully will learn a lot. But I definitely feel like, by the time you leave, you'll have felt like you've got your money's worth. As a city I would also definitely recommend Edinburgh. I'd visited it quite a few times before I applied and every time I'd loved it. And after being here for a year, that definitely hasn't changed. It's very well-known for having a great arts scene, but as a sportsman I've also found it a great place to be.
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