Statistics: Student Testimonials

Talah Qamar

Specialist: Statistics - Quantitative Finance Stream

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 
In the beginning , I was unsure what program I wanted to study, so I received counselling from an Academic Advisor to discuss my options. I came to know about the Statistics Program which interested me greatly. Further to this, I researched what it could offer me in terms of future careers and this encouraged me as well. Also, it this area aligns well with my strengths which are math and finance.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 

The Statistics program requires one to have a good understanding of math as students must take many core courses in math for this program. He/she will experience how to use stats in real world programs such as statistical programming / data mining programming languages such as: (R, Matlab & SAS). You will take a lot of finance courses, as required by this program, which teaches the individual about interest rate, stocks, call/put options. Overall, this program teaches an individual the basics in math and programming for Stats and focuses in finance and statistical courses. This program is very heavy math and theory based and finance courses require a reasonable understanding of economics. I would not recommend this program to anyone who doesn’t enjoy math/finance courses.

What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?

Tips/Advice: As this is a specialist program one should figure out when to take all the courses as soon as possible due to the fact every course has a prerequisite. So, if someone doesn't plan it out he/she can fall behind a year. Focus on first and second year math courses, as they build the foundation as one continues on to C & D level courses. Instructors expect students to know all the basics as the instructor is aware of the fact that it has been covered already.

What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)

In regard to my future plans, I plan on either working in the government or banking sector as a junior financial analyst. Also, after taking multiple finances course I plan on exploring into stock market as a hobby.

What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?

First Year, I was figuring out how to adjust to university life and what program I wanted to pursue as I continued to excel. During the second year, I started to focus on my A & B level math/finance courses where I developed a basic understanding what my program would teach me and how it could help me in my future endeavors. By third year, I started to focus into deep understanding of my stats/finance program. It was also then that I started looking into the possibility of doing masters and where I would like to work. As, this is my final year I have started to focus more on how I want to use my degree to its full potential and how it can help me pursue my goals in life.

Soaad Qahhār Hossain

Specialists:
Statistics: Statistical Machine Learning and Data Mining Stream
& Philosophy: Mind, Metaphysics and Epistemology Focus

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?

I have an interested in many areas and industries. I find the mind, machines, brains, knowledge and learning fascinating. These are my primary reasons why I chose my programs. Additionally, the influences that contributed to the programs that I chose was through performing market research in my first two years as an undergraduate, learning about myself, and learning from others. I spoke to many individuals in the industry regarding what employers are seeking. After that, I spent time fully understanding where my strengths and weaknesses lie. During that time, I also found out what exactly I want to do with my life. Finally, those helped me finalize my decisions, leading to me pursuing a double specialist in statistics and philosophy.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?

For the statistics program, the way the program is designed is that the program first exposes you to introductory material during your first two years as an undergraduate student. Students are exposed to areas of computer science, mathematics, probability theory, and statistics. In both third and fourth year, students become exposed to more advanced material, specifically in areas in computer science, probability theory, and statistics. In the courses focused on areas probability theory and statistics, students will primarily learn the theory, reasoning, critical thinking and problem-solving skills required to create machine learning and data mining algorithms. In the courses focused on areas of computer science, students will be able to apply their critical thinking and analytical skills along with their knowledge in machine learning and data mining to create applications that utilizes complex algorithms.

What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?

1. Learn time management, organization, and to prioritization. I highly recommend mastering these three things as quick as possible. From my personal experience, while I am not an expert at these three yet, having learned how to manage my time, stay on top of things and prioritize what needed to be done as soon as possible allowed me to be maximize my time in a day. Not only was I able to get eight hours of sleep daily, but I was also able to be a full-time student, work three jobs at some point during my academic journey, and have time-off to socialize and relax.

2. Know your limits and learn from mistakes and failures. No one is perfect and no one can do everything. Mistakes and failing at things happen. It is how we learn from those mistakes and failures that matters. Learn from your mistakes so you do not make the same mistakes again. Failing is interesting as society sees it as something negative. However, from personal experience, I can confidently say that failing at things was the best thing that happened to me. I learned so much about myself and others that I did not know before. The most important lessons I learned from them was knowing my limits and when to stop and move on as well as learning how to stay strong during hard times and move forward. Through learning these, I learned exactly how real motivation, courage, confidence, happiness, and success feels like.

3. Get involved on and off-campus. The first organization that I was accepted to and joined was in University of Toronto St. George Campus known as Juxtaposition Global Health Magazine. Little did I know that by joining that organization, it would change my undergraduate experience and impact my life in every aspect directly. My positive experience from being part of that organization motivated me to join more organizations on both St. George and Scarborough Campus. I was able to meet many different people, exposed to multiple unique opportunities and made countless friends. I also learned many things that a textbook and classroom would never have and will never be able to teach me as well. Being involved with the community at the University of Toronto is one of the best things that happened in my life as it helped make positive changes in my life and made lifelong friends that I would have never met. I will always be grateful and thankful for making friends that the perfect combination of every positive thing from amazing to trustworthy.

What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)

I have many plans for what I want to do with my degree. I have a strong interest in both research and entrepreneurship. My dream is to do research within artificial intelligence. After completing my first Independent Study in third year, I have developed a strong interest in operational research and interest in doing research in probabilistic computational psychology and neuroscience. Additionally, after second year when I competed in the Hult Prize competition at the Rotman School of Management in the University of Toronto, I have always wanted to start my own company. To decide between research and entrepreneurship is tough for me. Combining both together is extremely tough as both requires time, money, effort and commitment. I am still contemplating on whether to pursue a master’s program, start my own enterprise or continue my current job in project management for at least a year or two before considering doing a master’s program or starting my own company. Nonetheless, I like to keep my options open and see how things go and where life takes me.

What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?

My academic journey currently and has been tremendously different from other students. I had a very rough first and second year as an undergraduate student. Thankfully, it was through the help and support from six very dear and close friends of mine and assistance from my counselor that has helped me stay strong and motivated to help me get to where I am in my academic journey. I will admit that I am not the smartest and brightest student out there. I have failed many times during my academic journey. However, despite all the academic, social, professional, psychological, and personal challenges that I had to go through, I can proudly and confidently say that all these challenges and obstacles that I had to face and overcome during my academic journey has allowed me to transform into the person that I always wanted to be. Through my academic journey, I was able to experience thirty years’ worth of experiences in three years as an undergraduate student, positively impacting and changing my life forever.

 

Jiahe Lu

Majors: Statistics & Health Studies
 

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 
Habits.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 
Health Studies is combination social studies and biology humanity together. Statistics is always like using math, computer science and some data analysis to deal the varietal data and number.
 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
 
Thinking of your job you would like to do in the future. Also the things you are interested and the subject you are good at also could be an important factor.
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
 
Data researcher in a hospital.
 
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 
First year getting started. Second year having a rough view of the program. Third year starting earn some professional knowledge about the program.

Shubhani Jindal

Majors: Economics for Management and Statistics

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?

Personal interest and future job prospects were factors in my program choice.

Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?

The statistics program is quite rigorous. You definitely need to keep up with the material week to week as this is the only way to get through the courses. The professors also make sure of this by keeping weekly assignments/quizzes as part of the grade evaluation. Expect to have a very busy weekly schedule in terms of hand-ins and deadlines. But also keep in mind that this format of assessment also means that by the time finals are here, you're ready for them and not trying to cram 3 months’ worth of material in one night.

What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?

1. Time management is extremely important. Sometimes you might have something due every single day of the week or even more than one thing due on the same day (when I talk about things being due, I'm talking about quizzes/assignments/etc.). So it becomes really important that you make sure you're prioritizing your work with respect to when its due.
2. Being organized is key to winning at anything but it’s especially important here because there are so many dates and so many tutorials that you need to keep up with, it's very easy to get things mixed up.
3. Help is always available and you'll never know unless you ask. Don't be shy to ask your professors/TAs or any other resources for help. At the end of the day it’s your education.

What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
Statistics is a very fast growing field today. It is required in every industry and this means opportunities are endless. I want to go into risk assurance/consulting as these fields incorporate things I've learnt from both, my economics and statistics majors.

What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?

I'm currently in my 4th year. I started out as a Pre-Management student. In pre-management, I took a lot of economics courses. This made me realize my love for economics. So I decided to pick a second major instead of getting into management. I picked Sociology, which was something I found interesting at first but after a couple of semesters I realized I didn't really have the inclination towards it. Then I started looking into Statistics and the more I looked into it the more I wondered why I hadn't considered it before. I've been in the Statistics major for a year now and I couldn't love it more (despite the hectic schedule). At the end of the day your major is completely dependent on wherever your interests lie. So don't pick something just because it will increase your opportunities. Make sure that the opportunities that your major opens up for you are actually opportunities that you like and that inspire your drive for success.

Shuxin Cait

Majors: Statistics (co-op) and Economics

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?

I choose this program due to the fact that the labour market asks for more aspects on statistics.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?

Statistics is more like math but not like the pure math. Stats courses require more calculations than theorem.

What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?

1. Be careful with the order of courses you are taking if you are in stats and Econ double major.
2. If you are good at computer science I will recommend the stats specialist.

What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)

I want to work in a bank or be a data analyst.

What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?

My first year is all about management and after first year I transferred into Statistics and Economics then the courses are all about mathematics and a some basic knowledge on coding( python). Now I am in the third year and the courses is more particular on stats and distributions' calculation and macro and micro economics.

Raphael Alviz

Major: Computer Science

Minors: Statistics and Linguistics

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 

From a very young age, I have always spent a lot of time on the computer. Out of sheer curiosity and interest, a couple of years before high school, I started to try and make some programs on the computer. This interest carried on with me as I transitioned into high school, where I was able to take some computer science courses. I was able to learn a lot in these courses and I thoroughly enjoyed it. With my interest on the topic, the desire to learn more about it, and knowing the opportunities this field has to offer (especially in this day and age), it felt very natural to choose computer science. In the end, this major allowed me to take a large variety of courses to learn about many different aspects of computer science. As for my statistics and linguistics minor, these topics grabbed my interest after taking some electives in my first two years and allowed me to have a greater mix of courses to keep things refreshing.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 
Being part of these programs has exposed me to a lot of very different courses. Computer science requires you to take quite a few math courses that you may feel doesn’t feel useful at all. And although it might not be directly related, I think the skills developed in those courses helped in many computer science courses I was interested in or had to take later on. This combination of programs has taught me a large range of skills. In general, computer science has really developed my problem solving skills, whereas statistics and linguistics have both improved my analytical skills in their own ways. I have also been able to take these skills and apply them to more real-life scenarios in upper year courses making me feel more confident for what is to come after graduation.

What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
 
1) Start early. Whether it’s an assignment or studying for a test, getting started early enough to run into problems and find holes in your knowledge will give you time to fix this before it’s too late. Especially for all the programming assignments in computer science, you’ll never know when you’ll run into a bug or how long it will take to fix it. Allowing yourself time to seek help will save you a lot of a stress throughout the program.
 
2) Don’t take anything lightly, especially in the first 1-2 years. You need to prove yourself by getting a good GPA to get into the computer science programs. The requirements to get in are constantly getting harder and if you don’t keep up you may not get in. However, if/when you do get in, there is a lot more breathing room and staying in the program isn’t as hard as getting in.
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
 
Upon graduating, I am looking to go straight into work. After taking so many different courses, I have found that I became really interested in web development. Throughout the program I had quite a few opportunities to design and develop web applications and I quickly realized that this type of work was really enjoyable and rewarding for me. The fact that the web also requires design (another interest of mine) made it that much more appealing. So for now, I’d say a web/mobile developer job, or something else that will allow me to incorporate both my programming and design background would be what I’m most interested in doing after graduating.
 
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 
In my first year, it was mainly about getting the fundamentals down. All of the non-elective courses I took were required, core courses. This consisted of mostly introductory programming and computer science concepts, as well as some mathematics. In second year, it was still mainly the core required courses, but these courses dug deeper into the topics introduced in the first year that we only scratched the surface of at that time. In both third and fourth year, there were a lot more choices in what to take to satisfy program requirements. This allowed me to take more specialized courses in what I was interested in. In general, the courses I took between third and fourth year were pretty flexible in terms of what year I could take them which allowed me to balance the course load between both semesters in both years.