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School of Mathematics

School of Mathematics

Blog for the School of Mathematics community

Alumni Stories: Maria Poulli

Photo of Maria. She has straight blonde hair is wearing a cream jumper with a black and white checked blazer jacket. Text reads: Alumni Stories, Maria Poulli, Data Scientist Consultant, BSc Mathematics

Maria shares how her initial job after graduation led to her moving to New York to pursue a Masters degree in Data Analytics.


Programme BSc Mathematics
Year of graduation 2018
Job title Data Scientist Consultant
Industry Technology
Home country Cyprus


Why did you decide to study at the University of Edinburgh? And why did you choose to study Mathematics?

The University of Edinburgh was my top pick for university, firstly due to its outstanding academic reputation and an excellent mathematics program. Beyond academics, it was also important to me that there was a large international student community, offering a rich cultural experience which I was very excited about. Furthermore, the university’s campus was impressive and I was drawn to its vibrant city location. Living in Edinburgh was a strong desire for me, as it’s a truly wonderful city, offering a blend of urban life and nature, with plenty of activities and attractions.

I chose to study Mathematics because it was my favourite subject in high school. Given my natural inclination for problem-solving and analytical skills, I believed that pursuing a Mathematics degree would be a good fit with my abilities. Beyond being a personal passion, I also acknowledged that mathematics offers numerous career opportunities, which was an important factor in my decision-making process.

How did you get where you are?

After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, I relocated to London and joined a consulting company, collaborating with talented individuals to enhance the skills acquired during university. This experience exposed me to diverse projects in telecommunications, competition, regulation, and public policy. The exposure to quantitative tasks and data analytics fuelled my passion for this field, leading me to pursue a master’s in Data Analytics in New York.

Following my master’s, I joined a New York-based consulting firm, joining the technology consulting data analytics group. Project-based work has allowed me to engage with clients across various sectors such as power and utility, manufacturing, and retail. My daily routine involves team meetings to strategise and adhere to timelines, alongside client meetings to discuss progress and review materials. I leverage a variety of tools, including Excel, SQL, PowerPoint, Python, Azure DevOps, and Jira, depending on the project’s requirements.

Through this journey, I’ve learned the value of embracing new opportunities, stepping outside my comfort zone, and adapting to new situations. Every experience, whether positive or challenging, has contributed to my growth. The decision to move from Europe to the US initially seemed daunting, but in retrospect, it has opened doors to rewarding career opportunities and the chance to immerse myself in a new culture. Grateful for my experiences, I recognise how they have shaped my current position and outlook on both personal and professional growth.

What did you gain from your time at the University and were there any experiences during your time at university which particularly helped prepare you for life after graduation?

My journey at the University of Edinburgh not only broadened my academic horizons but also equipped me with a valuable skill set, for my post university life. I engaged in various student societies and attended networking events which helped me improve my communication and interpersonal skills and gain insight into potential career paths.

My role as a Resident Assistant, which was my first ever job, really helped me grow and mature, become more responsible and shaped my leadership skills.

My degree in Mathematics not only cultivated analytical and problem-solving skills but also emphasised the importance of teamwork. These skills have proven to be significant assets in the work environment.

I am also grateful for the University’s Career Service which helped me prepare for the professional world. Their guidance helped me navigate the job market, refine my resume, and improve my interview skills. This support helped me secure internships and, eventually a full-time role.

Beyond academics, my university experience marked the first time I lived independently away from home. It was a transformative period that taught me self-reliance, how to balance academic responsibilities, work commitments, and daily chores simultaneously. Moreover, navigating interactions with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds enhanced my ability to collaborate effectively in a globalised world. The growth during my time at Edinburgh continues to influence and contribute to my personal and professional development.

Do you have any highlights or a favourite memory of your time at the university?

My favourite memory from my time at university, is spending time at the Meadows park with friends. In late May, right after exams were over the Meadows was the perfect place to be. The weather was finally warm and sunny and the trees were blossoming. The park was full of students who were playing games and barbequing and there was a lot of joy in the air. To this day, the Meadows is my favourite park and holds a special place in my heart.

What advice would you give future students who are considering studying Mathematics at Edinburgh?

  1. Be prepared for a challenging but rewarding academic journey.
  2. Make the most of available resources and don’t hesitate to ask for help. Edinburgh University provides numerous resources to support students, and both professors and other support services are happy to help.
  3. Dedicate time to look for a job. While earning a degree is valuable, it alone will not secure a job. The university provides a quality education and the career centre aids in job search, but the responsibility is on you to invest effort in building a good resume and proactively applying for positions.
  4. Balance Work and Life. While academics are important, don’t forget to take care of your physical and mental well-being. Find a balance between studying and engaging in activities that bring you joy. Edinburgh is an amazing city so find the time to enjoy everything it has to offer.




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