Making a stop in “the Red Island” nation – Madagascar, we take a look into Andry Naivo Ramanambelo’s journey from the University of Antananarivo to AIMS and life thereafter on this week’s edition of #AlumoftheWeek.
Q: Kindly walk us through your academic journey before coming to AIMS.
Andry: I read mathematics at the University of Antananarivo for my undergraduate studies. Those were the moments when we were introduced to the basic mathematical concepts. I followed it up with postgraduate training, specialising in numerical analysis, a speciality of mathematics applied in computer science.
A professor who had recommended AIMS to many of his students did the same with me during postgraduate studies, even though I could not apply within that year due to certain constraints. I finally dared to apply for admission in the 2017/18 academic year and got selected to be part of the program at AIMS Rwanda.
Q: How would you describe your time at AIMS?
Andry: One thing I picked up during my time at AIMS was their selection criteria. I noticed from the composition of the class that selection criteria at AIMS are not only based on academic transcript but also on leadership, social-relational skills and most importantly, the scholarship is reserved only for African students.
At AIMS, I learned to communicate, share, and exchange ideas in English with other African students and international lecturers from countries like France, Switzerland, the USA, Canada, Italy, South Africa, Nigeria, and Rwanda. AIMS also taught me to meet deadlines and provided me with the assistance of tutors and lecturers to accomplish all tasks, learning under a 24/7 working environment. My favourite memory was during the research phase, where every student got to choose their supervisor. I struggled initially to select a supervisor, but I finally settled on one through advice and guidance given by colleagues and tutors. The research phase introduced me to the world of Machine Learning and its applications. It was a hard time because there were many steps I was required to follow. In the end, my effort was crown by getting the privilege to publish the research result in the Scientific African Journal.
Q: Tell us about the impact AIMS has had on you.
Andry: AIMS allowed me to learn the English language and master programming languages such as python and be familiar with operating systems like Ubuntu and Debian. Furthermore, AIMS also helped me become a problem-solver and critical thinker through mathematical problem-solving and mathematical reasoning. Those skills are vital for me, especially for seeking jobs in the area of Data Science, Data Analysis, Data mining and Artificial Intelligence.
Q: What would you describe as your post-AIMS success story?
Andry: After four months of graduation from AIMS, I got my first professional job as a Senior Data Analyst at a company that works in Artificial Intelligence. After a year and a half with the company, I moved on to pursue a Master’s in Computer Vision and Pattern recognition at the Lappeenranta University of Technology.
Q: Which of the SDGs is most important/relevant to you? How do you plan on addressing it in your work?
Andry: I see Quality Education and Climate Action as the essential SDGs to achieve immediately. A part of my professional job, I am also a scout leader at a place where I lead young boys to be responsible. As part of their activities, I suggest and guide them through actions that they can do personally to affect climate positively.
Q: What is your message to current AIMS students and young people across the continent?
Andry: Work hard and have faith in your goals. And whenever you feel desperate, remember how many people want your place but do not have the chance you got.