Our People Stories: Rebecca

Head of Data Science & Engineering

Rebecca studied Psychology in her undergraduate degree before embarking on a PhD in Clinical Neuroscience. After that, she worked in academia and then went to a think tank which enabled her to use her quantitative skills in healthcare. When data science as a profession began to take off, she moved to a data science role in a big technology house before deciding to join KPMG.

“I wanted to stay in data science, but I’d started to look at employers that would allow me to have an impact on public sector healthcare and KPMG really stood out. I knew someone who worked here so I already had an understanding of the values, and they really resonated with me. I see those values all the time now, especially in terms of diversity and respecting difference.

“As Lead Data Scientist, my role is 25% client facing – that’s when I go to meet clients out on site. The rest of my time I’m immersed in code or data. I don’t need to be in the office for that long as I can access all the systems I need remotely. I have a long commute, so it’s important for me on a personal level that KPMG are really flexible about remote working.

“The projects we’re involved with is a big reason why I love coming to work. For example, one of our data science projects involved identifying and understanding the variations in approaches and outcomes for patients arriving at A & E with acute cardiac problems. We were interrogating the data to understand the treatment patients are meant to receive, versus what they do receive, and the business processes that contribute to those variations.

“Working on projects with that level of societal impact makes me feel incredibly proud.”

“As a team, there’s variety in the types of problems we have to answer, in the technologies we need to develop and deploy (and keep on top of), and in the clients we support. I get exposure to and learn from all sorts of people, from A & E nurses through to radiologists who are interested in how machine learning could help them interpret scans.

“Innovation is very much at the heart of what we do in data science. Our clients come to us because they have a problem they can’t easily solve on their own. As the Lead Data Scientist, I put together a team of people to find an innovative answer to each problem using optimal data science and engineering approaches.

“The open source ideology here in the Data Science & Engineering team enables us to be the most innovative we can be for our clients. It means we’re on the cusp of any new developments that are happening – that can often be ahead of what’s happening with proprietary software.

“At KPMG, not only do we have a positive, ethical and societal impact, we’re also empowered to bring our whole selves to work. As a gay woman, I really value that openness and the fact that diversity is celebrated across the firm. You can be confident about being who you are and about belonging to a particular group, like Breathe, our internal LGBT network. Diversity is completely built into the fabric of the firm and that matters a lot to me.”

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