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Nguyễn Ngọc Hải

Data scientist, KPMG

Data Scientist at KPMG

Nguyễn Ngọc Hải spills the beans on what it’s like to work in finance at one of the big four accounting firms – KPMG

Hải grew up in Vietnam and completed his degree in India and Australia. When he’s not dreaming up ideas for startups, he’s cooking up a storm or practicing calligraphy.

5 minutes with a data scientist at KPMG

CwS: What did you study at uni?
H: When I was a kid, I wanted to be a businessman and make lots of money. I did a year of business studies at uni in Vietnam, but I realised it was something you could learn from experience. I did some research on data science and decided to pivot to that. 

CwS: Have you always been good at maths and coding?
H: In high school, I specialised in social sciences like literature, history and geography. I got decent marks in maths and physics, but I wasn’t outstanding. 

I actually didn’t have much of a coding background before my degree. I spent an intense month teaching myself Python before classes started. We learnt an ancient programming language called Pascal at school in Vietnam and that helped me work out the logic.

CwS: How did you end up studying in India?
H: I was supposed to go straight to Sydney but the course was cancelled at the last minute. My options were to wait a year or start the course in Mumbai. I joined them in the middle of the second semester and finished my first year in just four months! My journey has been a bit of a wild ride.

CwS: What do you do at KPMG?
H: My first job was bridging the gap between two teams: the finance team, which understands data within the business, and the market intelligence team, which understands our competitors. I helped bring the data from both sides together to make something bigger.

My current role is mainly reporting and analysing data, but I’d like to get back into the data science side of things.

CwS: What do you like to do outside of work?
H: I like to have a good work-life balance. I enjoy getting outdoors and away from the computer screen. I’m still new to Australia, so I like to explore and hang out with friends. I’m a good cook, and sometimes I do calligraphy. I was the calligraphy champion at primary school for five consecutive years!

Hải’s study and career pathway to becoming a data scientist at KPMG

  • Bachelor of Data Science, S P Jain School of Global Management (Mumbai + Sydney)
  • Data science intern, VPBank (Vietnam)
  • Data science intern, Faethm AI
  • AWS educate ambassador, Amazon Web Services
  • Business systems engineer, Nexon Asia Pacific
  • Finance + market insights data analyst, KPMG
  • Senior data analyst / data scientist, KPMG

This article was originally published in Careers with STEM: Maths & Data

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