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I Am Merkle - Mandy Bath

I Am Merkle is a series of interviews that showcase the incredible individuals who make Merkle a unique and diverse place to work. This week we chatted to Mandy Bath, graduate analytics consultant, at Merkle based in the Edinburgh office.

1. Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

I was born and raised in Midwest USA (Nebraska) and moved to Scotland 20 years ago to study for my first Master’s Degree. Edinburgh is my home now and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

2. What drew you to your current career?

I was a forensic biologist for the Police here in Scotland for 18 years and needed a change. Forensics is a highly specialised career but has limited opportunities to move and/or grow. I was already utilising advanced statistical analysis and techniques in my day-to-day job and began looking for other avenues to apply my background and expertise. That’s when I fell down the rabbit hole of data science and was immediately seduced by the vast opportunities and growth in the field. I applied to do another MSc degree, this time Big Data at the University of Stirling, with the added bonus of funding by The Data Lab. Best decision I ever made and I haven’t looked back.   

3. Why Merkle?

Two members of advance analytics (one being Lucy Fraser Edmans) came to Stirling University and gave a presentation on what was then Merkle Aquila and it’s graduate program. I was impressed by the range of projects the company was involved in developing. Consultancy feeds my desire for variety and the opportunity to be involved in charity initiatives like Stop the Traffik satisfy my need to be involved in using data for the betterment of society. 

4. Tell us a bit more about your day-to-day.

That depends highly on the day and what project(s) I am on at the time. It can be anything from data cleaning and hours of coding building machine learning models to pulling together business analytics insights to creating project plans and outlines. Add in a healthy sprinkling of continued learning and team building to fill in any gaps.  Every week I find myself asking “How is it already Friday?” and I think that’s a good sign.

5. What do you enjoy most about Advanced Analytics? And what do you think future developments will be?

The endless possibilities! I love continual learning and the pace at which this field is growing means I’ll need to constantly keep on top of it. There are exciting things happening in machine learning and artificial intelligence that will improve cognitive computing, e.g. speech and image recognition.  

6. What would your advice be to somebody considering a career in Analytics?

There are endless ways to get started. Whether it be an online course and tutorials or a more traditional educational route, find a method that works for you and fits into your life and get started. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and help. The data and analytics community is a wonderfully supportive one and you will always find someone willing to help.

7. What is your greatest accomplishment?

There have been several professional and academic accomplishments over the years, but by far my greatest accomplishment is raising two daughters who are well on their way to becoming strong, funny, empathetic and kind young women who advocate for their own rights as well as those of others. My one expectation of myself as a parent was :“Don’t’ raise jerks.” In that I have succeeded tenfold.

8. Tell us a bit about your experience so far with Merkle.

I joined Merkle as part of the Graduate program right in the heart of the pandemic and second lockdown so it’s been an odd start. The team have been brilliant at supporting and including us and making us feel a part of the team even while working remotely. I have been very fortunate to have had a varied workload thus far, getting involved in several different types of projects and internal initiatives. It has been a steep learning curve but worth it. I am loving having the chance to go into Edinburgh’s shiny new office a few days a week and properly meet my colleagues in the flesh.

9. What inspires you about Merkle’s workplace culture?

The support that my colleagues show me and one another is excellent. Collaborative working is an important part of the Merkle Culture and it benefits everyone. I am a big believer in raising people up and Merkle does that very well. That and a continual push to improve how we do things and not just accept the status quo. 

10. What was your dream job growing up?

I’ve always wanted to be a pilot but my eyesight is too poor to allow me a career as one. I will still learn to fly, one day. Maybe after reading that people will be hesitant to get into a plane I’m flying….

11. Are you involved in any of our DEI Pillars? If so, which one and can you tell us a bit about it?

Not yet but thank you for the reminder to get involved!

12. How do you like your eggs?

Big fan of eggs so I’ll eat them any old way, but few things are better than proper huevos rancheros the morning after a late night. 

13. What are you currently watching on Netflix/Prime?

We just finished The Kominsky Method on Netflix and I’ve made my 3rd full pass through Good Omens on Prime (my favourite book). My niece convinced me to start watching Outer Banks on Netfilx so we’ll see how that goes. The jury is still out…….

14. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Being tired and going to bed early but ending up lying awake for hours reading a book I’ve read several times before.

15. What is your dream holiday destination?

That’s a loaded question for the wife of a travel agent! It entirely depends on mood. Costa Rica has been at the top of my list for years. Beaches, mountains, jungles, wildlife, lovely locals, rum, yes please!

16. Best advice or mantra you live by?

It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

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