Analytics as a form of art

Team member Ann dancing

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I come from Estonia, and growing up as an aesthetic gymnast taught me several things early on: dedication, discipline, love for travelling and setting clear goals to succeed. These traits continued to develop and send me throughout my studies and career. Whilst I thought I would end up being an athlete my whole life, (I was a gymnastics coach and a referee for years while still being barely an adult myself), my interests started to branch out when I was in high school.

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I ended up diving deep into Chemistry and Biotechnology during my University years and became a young scientist who was curious to discover, learn and solve a mystery in front of me in a petri dish or HPLC machine. While science was engaging and opened up a whole new micro-world of possibilities, I felt there was something missing but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I decided to try out different professions and take on any challenge that excited me or helped me develop the skills I desired. So I went to organise big business conferences all around the world, to help build a bar to join Wise and work in compliance teams and operations before finding myself in Analytics.

Wise captivated me from the beginning because of its culture (you can grow into anyone if you just show initiative and work hard for it – it is a mindset I adopt in my life every day), the unique approach to a worldwide problem and it being a new challenge for me as I didn’t know much about the world of Finance. I feel lucky to have had the experience and opportunity to work alongside many talented and kind people and see the company from different perspectives. It is not as common to move freely between positions and departments or start a career from zero as it is in Wise and we should not take it for granted.

team member ann

Today I am part of the Spend Business team helping to shape the card product and account management for our businesses across markets. I am extremely excited to improve the experience for businesses to manage their expenses and account with multiple cardholders in a more comprehensive way and soon be able to get back from us in the form of cash-back and rewards.

I found my way into Analytics while working at Wise as a Card Operations Specialist. I wanted to understand our data more closely and to be able to help our developers fix incidents whenever they occurred to reduce the strain on them but also to feel more useful in our domain. As our analysts were busy working with product, I realised there is a gap between operations, developers and product teams and wanting to help more, do more – I started learning SQL, understanding our database and what the data shows and trying to propose solutions to incidents myself.

Very quickly I found myself in this gap between the teams and supporting my Ops team as a substitute junior data analyst. My curiosity grew bigger the more I was able to do and I saw the true impact my work and thoughts could give, so I managed to find a mentor and started doing projects with a product team to learn faster and see if product analytics is the “something missing” part that I felt while back in the Chemistry lab.

 I can say for sure it has been the best decision in my career so far. Analytics is a versatile, forever expanding form of art that you mould into a shape you need at any given moment. It is up to you to set the boundaries until you are ready to expand your skills, experience and ownership even further.

We need more women in analytics as difference in thinking and background is what helps us shape the analytics today, to write the new normal. For years the requirements for analysts and the product have been built for men and it is time to shake the bias and scale up to meet the market for women, men, kids, minorities etc.

When I think of the meaning of #BreaktheBias, I immediately think of my professor back in University who said that women can never become serious scientists as they are not smart enough but we let them study so they stay quiet and calm. This mindset is ,while an extreme example, part of the bias that we want to get rid of. There is no career path or goal that is determined by your gender or other physical characteristics – it is only you yourself that can say what you are capable of, what you’d like to do.

Women often don’t even dare to dream about becoming analysts or engineers or product leads as they grow up knowing this is a field only for men. Being in a room full of men is intimidating and finding your voice in this setting can take courage and time, so it is up to all of us to help break this mindset, break the stigma and encourage women to find their voice, their passion and support the growth journey they are embarking on. I am happy to say I can see Wise taking big leaps to create a supportive and gender-neutral environment so everyone can become anything they wish for as long as they show initiative and work for it – no matter how you look or sound like and no matter your background.

So to all women out there who have been thinking about starting their journey in Analytics: get curious about details and try to answer the questions you have on your mind you might ask from an analyst and most importantly what is stopping you from starting your journey today?

We might be able to help with that answer, so come and join us.

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