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LAB CHAT with Ben Jordan (Industrial Placement @ Decision Lab)

Tell us how did you come about doing an industrial placement?

I took a break from studying to work full time. I will be going back to the university to do my third year of studies. I study mathematics, operational research, statistics and economics. I was introduced to simulation through my OR studies and this is how I got the idea to do an industrial placement in Simulation.

How was your industrial placement experience at Decision Lab?

My work placement was everything I hoped for and more. I engaged with clients and produced meaningful work. The array of problems I encountered; the different techniques I learnt and used; the hard and soft skills that I developed, made it a truly great experience!

From the client facing & project management side to the solution engineering and technical development side, I was able to get involved with it all. Making it a very complete experience which I can be proud of and take a lot from.

Do you already know what you want to do in your career or you’re keeping your options opened?

I’m still not certain what I want to go into, but I know what I’ve enjoyed. I was based in the sim team, but there are many areas at Decision Lab, such as data science, machine learning, product development. It is a great mix of disciplines, and I can take this learning to my studies and choose my modules accordingly.

What was the highlight of your time at DL?

I developed and presented a proof of concept model to the actual client in a meeting, where I walked them through the model and explained what I have modelled and what they can do with the tool. This has led on to a very big project where we have emulated a very complex system. It has then been very satisfying to continue to develop this model and engage with the client throughout. It was great seeing the project progress, especially for this particular client [the NHS!].

What were the biggest surprises?

I guess the biggest one was how quickly I got stuck in.  I was thrown in the deep end, but quickly adjusted [laughing]. This meant I was working on live projects within the first 2 days. This meant I was able to get the most out of this opportunity especially since I was treated like a full-time employee not a just placement student from the get-go.

The other thing was that I was able to get involved working with the actual clients and produce value, where perhaps from many internships you wouldn’t expect that. Although you do get exposed to different areas it’s not the same as actually doing the work. This means I can look back and actually see that I have had a measurable impact, which is extremely satisfying.

I was also surprised how friendly and informal everyone is. A very nice atmosphere in the company that mainly does remote working.

Lastly, how much freedom and responsibility I was given when solving a problem or designing and implementing a task. It was initially daunting but then quickly became liberating allowing me to be creative and really think for myself. This meant I learnt and developed so much more than I thought I would have.

Any other interesting observations about DL as a company, apart from the general niceness of people?

Mainly how innovative the leadership is. Everybody is reading up on new areas to be able to bid for and bring in exciting new work, to continue to build the company. They are taking into consideration what people actually would like to work on, what projects they enjoy. This is just great!

Are you sad to be leaving?

I don’t want to be sad, as I want to look forward to studying, but my experience has made me excited about going to work after studying, for sure!

Although, of course, it is sad to be leaving at the moment when the company just won some new really interesting projects and I won’t get to see them. But I guess that’s how it always will be at Decision Lab.

Thanks for the chat Ben. The team will be happy to welcome you back if you decide to have another gig with us.

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Decision Lab
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