For Felishya Samuel, an opportunity to be part of the computer science department of the University College Dublin (UCD) was godsend as it opened the doors to a career in Data Science and Robotics. Currently, working as a Business Technology Consulting Analyst at Deloitte, Ireland, Felishya has added many feathers to her cap including a sponsorship from Accenture for her Master’s degree - a first for an Indian.
In this interview with Careers360, Felishya talks about the uniqueness and flexibility offered by UCD’s MSc Computer Science Negotiated learning programme and how the university helped her step closer to her dreams and discover her ability as a global student.
Read below the complete interview:
Q: How and why did you choose University College Dublin?
A.I always wanted to do master’s in computer science as I was keen on pursuing my passion not just to experience but to be a part and create my signature in the digital revolution. During my research on the courses offered by various universities in Europe, I found University College Dublin in Ireland to be unique as it had a highly personalised degree that is tailor made to students’ goals and experiences. Impressed by what the university had to offer, I chose UCD to pursue my masters.
Q. Was there any specific reason why you chose to study in Ireland?
A. The reason why I chose Ireland is because UCD is the only university in Europe that had the course I wanted. Also, UCD is among the top 100 universities in Europe and one of the top universities in Ireland. Being the first graduate in my family, my decision to take up masters abroad was strongly opposed by family members and I underwent the darkest time of my life. However, I am thankful to my parents for being supportive towards my decision to study rather than getting me married.
Further, I was worried about the expenses before heading to the European university, but I fortunately received a 2,000 Euro Global Graduate Scholarship from UCD.
Q: Tell us about the MSc in Computer Science (Negotiated Learning) programme. Why did you choose to pursue this course?
A.I wanted to pursue MSc in Computer Science (Negotiated Learning) programme because it is a flexible and innovative programme with world-class facilities and rich portfolio of subjects across streams like Data Science, Cloud Computing, Software Engineering, Forensics and Security, Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science. On joining the course, there was a Student Needs Advising session with a staff member who helped me in selecting my modules after assessing my prior expertise and career goals. I was also given opportunity to work on a specialised research project and take up internship as part of this programme.
Q. Which modules did you opt for and why?
A. I chose my modules mostly based on my personal goal and interest in streams like Data Science, Cloud Computing and Cognitive Science as I wanted to specialise in these areas. UCD allowed me to attend lectures of any module of my interest as extracurricular (audit module) apart from my core modules. There was never a restriction to gain and develop knowledge at UCD.
Q. Did you take up research at the end of the course?
A.UCD’s strong industry relationship paved way for opportunities from some of the world’s top companies. I am glad to be the first Indian girl to get selected and sponsored by Accenture Analytic Innovation Centre, Dublin, to do my Master degree research in the space of Data Science and Digital Analytics in Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence .
Q. What kind of career opportunities can students explore through this course in Ireland?
A. Career opportunities in Computer Science are abundant. Ireland is one of the IT hubs of Europe and companies like Google, Facebook, Paypal, Accenture, Apple and Pfizer among others have their European headquarters in Ireland. Apart from that, Ireland is also home to four of the largest international professional services networks in the world- Deloitte, KPMG, EY and PWC, which offer a lot of opportunities in consulting and corporate finance.
Q: Tell us about your choice of career. Why did you choose to stay back and work in Ireland after studies?
A. Before graduating I had multiple offers from many companies, but I chose to stay back in Ireland and started my career as a Business Technology Consulting Analyst at Deloitte, Ireland. I feel proud that I am the only woman working in Deloitte Ireland’s, Digital Innovation and Robotics division and also one among the handful of women scientists around the world who have successfully established their careers in Data science and Robotics. My master degree and UCD experience offered plenty of opportunities to boost my career, by adding knowledge and international networking skills.
Q. How did your institute guide you in terms of exploring career opportunities?
A.In terms of exploring career opportunities UCD has an excellent Career Development Centre to help students develop graduate attributes and employability skills enabling the students to discover and achieve their career potential. Throughout the year they also run career fairs, professional programmes of personal & professional development, career coaching, training in effective job search, managing graduate recruitment and selection and effective interview skills and provide access to quality assured occupational and related information.
Q: Tell us about the campus life in your university. How different is it from the Indian campus life?
A. Unlike most of the universities in India, campus life at UCD is not just about lectures and academics. I discovered that sports and an active campus life are vital ingredients of the university experience. It added to an enjoyable and exciting education experience in a foreign country.
Q: How would you describe your experience of studying in a foreign university?
A. My study abroad experience made me strong and helped me develop self-reliance and adaptability. It also taught me to be myself and discover my ability to shine in the darkness and pursue my dream career.
Q: Did you look beyond the Indian community while making friends?
A. I have a friend to welcome me whichever country I travel to now! One of the best aspects of international education is networking, building relationships and links, which in future enhances one’s career prospects. My friends’ circle was very much diverse, which really helped me learn new languages like Spanish and Polish. Also I got to know many different cultures, cuisines and traditions across the globe.
Q: Going from India, how is life at a foreign country? What did you do to adjust in a new environment?
A. Going from India to a foreign country all by myself, sounded scary but fortunately it was not. UCD had its airport welcome team receive me at the Dublin airport. To my surprise everyone I met in Ireland was friendly and welcoming. I usually asked for directions and little guidance from random people and fellow students. It’s been 2 years that I am in Ireland and believe me when I say that it is one of the friendliest countries in the world.
Q: What about food? The food culture is not same as in India. How do you manage?
A. Even though European cuisine is different from that of India, I never had trouble cooking Indian food in Ireland. The real fact being Indian food is very exotic and famous in Ireland. Many of my friends are in love with Indian food! We get most of our curries, rice, breads and all the spices and vegetables in supermarkets. Besides, there are plenty of buffets and restaurants that serve Indian food.
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