What it’s like to study data science as a woman

Sophie Merl is currently completing a Master’s in Applied Data Science at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. After finishing her undergraduate studies in psychology and economics, Sophie realized she wanted to pivot her career towards statistics and data science. She shares more information about the program, including what it’s like to study data science as a woman and why Frankfurt School isn’t your typical German university.

In short

What’s it like to study data science as a woman?

As it stands in 2022, data science is a very male-dominated industry. Tellingly, 65% of data scientists in the United States identify as men.

Sophie admits that men make up the majority of her cohort at Frankfurt School. “Of course, we are not that many women in the class. In total, we’re 39 students, and I think around a quarter is female,” she explains. (03:56)

However, Sophie believes that the makeup of her cohort simply reflects student interests. Many of her fellow students came from backgrounds in engineering and physics, which are other predominantly male industries. It’s only logical that the makeup of her class reflects that reality.

The Master of Applied Data Science at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management is diverse in other ways. “The diverse background is more [related to] the subjects and courses you did before, and the programs you were enrolled [in]. So, there’s definitely a diverse component to it,” she describes. (04:24)

In addition, it’s always great to see increasing numbers of women enter into professions that have historically been male-dominated.

The Master of Applied Data Science at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management

Frankfurt School’s Master of Applied Data Science is a two-year degree. It’s designed for mathematically-inclined students who want to pursue dynamic careers in data science. It also offers lots of unique opportunities like study abroad placements, innovative electives, a Cooperation Company project, and the flexibility to work part-time while studying.

When Sophie explored different master’s programs in Germany, she was attracted to Frankfurt School’s practical focus on knowledge application. She loved how the program prioritized “working on projects with fellow students and trying to have an impact on a real topic.” (01:29)

The Master of Applied Data Science program starts with the basics, encompassing everything from quantitative fundamentals to computational statistics. After the first quarter, students start getting assigned lots of projects so they can test out what they’re learning.

In the program’s third semester, students even work on company projects. Sophie says that students undertaking these projects “really work with a company and try to focus on some of their problems and try to find an analytical solution for that, so that’s where you really have an impact.” (03:12)

Why Frankfurt School isn’t the typical German school

When asked how typically German the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management is, Sophie smiles. “It’s maybe a strange answer to that, but I’d say about 30%,” she answers. (08:23)

Even though some things about Frankfurt School are very German, like their great organization and strong German industry ties, the school’s international edge adds something different to the mix.

Sophie further explains that “there are a lot of Germans there, which makes it German, but the [there are also] people coming from very different countries. I would say that it’s more of a small bubble within Germany, so you can’t really say that it’s typically German.” (08:29)

All in all, the Frankfurt School does a great job in upholding Germany’s outstanding academic and professional reputation while also offering something unique with its diverse, innovative atmosphere.

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