What happened at Creative Data Academy Edinburgh 2020?


Our second Academy of the month saw us head virtually to Edinburgh via Zoom. Having postponed all three of 2020’s Academies due to coronavirus, we have adapted the programmes and run them virtually, as we continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Creative Data Academy Edinburgh, supported by the DM Trust, saw another group of aspiring marketers join us from 9 to 11 September to discover how data and insights are harnessed by businesses and crucial to their marketing strategies.

The first day saw ScotRail present the students with a business challenge, which they worked on in small teams over the course of the Academy, using data to inform and support their ideas.

Over the three days, our students heard from a diverse mix of speakers from locally based businesses, including The Data Lab, Golden Charter, Tesco Bank, Ethical Intelligence, MediaCom, MBN Solutions and Merkle.

Topics covered included how to breakdown a marketing brief, data segmentation and targeting, and using data ethically. Insights from these sessions helped the students tackle the brief and prepare their pitches, which they delivered on the final day to a panel of judges from ScotRail and DMA Scotland Chairman Firas Khnaisser, who's Head of Decisioning at Standard Life Aberdeen.

The quality of the pitches was so high, they couldn't decide on a winning team, so in a Creative Data Academy first, we had joint winners in 'Digital Diversity' and 'The Goal Getters'.

A careers session brang the academy to a close, gaving the students some guidance about how to get a job in the industry, from CV and interview tips to how to build their personal brand using LinkedIn.

We asked a couple of our students about their experience of the Academy. Discover what they had to say below.


Erin Bryce, a fourth year Statistics student at the University of Glasgow

“Three years into my Statistics degree, I don’t know what sector, what direction or even what job I would like to go into after I graduate. I decided to start narrowing down my options by exploring them, and the Creative Data Academy seemed to be the perfect opportunity to start doing this, and it was.

Over the three days, we heard from a huge variety of speakers from lots of different companies. Hearing how they use data, the expanse of projects they get to work on and the importance of different media channels to market products was incredibly insightful. A highlight from the academy’s talks for me, with my data-based background, was Gillian Docherty’s presentation on the future of data. She spoke about the many technologies that are being tested and the broad spectrum of technological advancements data can provide, from virtual profiles to intelligence systems that track our health.

Working on the ScotRail brief with students, interns and recent graduates from so many different subject backgrounds was a great way to network and learn. My team, dubbed ‘Digital Diversity’, included two marketing students, one political science student, a post-graduate engineer. Together, we pooled our knowledge to create projections of how increased cycling might decrease rail journeys and a strategy to turn this situation into a positive source of revenue for ScotRail. Pitching our ideas to ScotRail was nerve-racking, but exciting at the same time. The experience has really opened my eyes to a pathway in data and marketing and I would encourage others to attend.”


Maria-Madalina Ifrim, a fourth year Management with specialisation in Marketing student at the University of Manchester

"Analytical and creative mindset by nature, I have always been attracted to a career in data analytics as a way of combining the skills I learnt as a further-mathematics and computer science student in high school with the outside the box thinking of a marketing professional. After finishing a year in industry as a Data Analyst and Marketing intern for RCI Bank, and having already participated in one of DMA Talent’s Creative Data Labs, I decided that I wanted to learn how to make the “numbers” work even better, how to excel in a creative and dynamic industry while also connecting with professionals and like-minded individuals that have the same goals as I do. So, I applied for the Academy and luckily, I was selected.

What I enjoyed the most was the insight I got into what working in the industry is really like. The session from Merkle was great, as we heard from people in a range of different job roles at the agency, who gave us advice on how to succeed in a role similar to their own. The real-life brief was extremely useful in self-assessing my strengths and weaknesses, and the feedback from the judges was invaluable.

I would recommend this experience to anybody considering a career in Data. Whether or not you have any experience in the sector or you’re not sure it’s the career for you, give it a shot! You learn so much in such a short amount of time.”


If you’re interested in attending an Academy in 2021, join our mailing list by clicking here and you’ll be among the first to know when applications open.

If you're looking to recruit talent or raise your profile amongst aspiring marketers, the Creative Data Academy provides the perfect platform. We've got plenty of partnership opportunities available - find out more here.

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