In this week’s edition of the #AlumoftheWeek, we bring you the reflections of an AIMS Ghana alumnus working as a Data Scientist at the Consolidated Bank Ghana. He reflects on his days at AIMS, lessons learnt, and how they are of help in his current role. Our alumnus of the week is Nii Amoo Decardi-Nelson.
Q: Tell us about your journey before AIMS
Nii Amoo: I read Actuarial Science at the University of Cape Coast for my undergraduate degree. This decision was driven by my desire to find a program that blended rigour mathematics and statistics and their applications in economics and business, demonstrating how they contribute to problem-solving in the industry. I went on to take the professional actuarial exams with the Society of Actuaries and had passed the first three before joining AIMS.
Q: How will you describe your time at AIMS?
Nii Amoo: Professor Essel, the then Head of the Department for Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Cape Coast, introduced my year group to AIMS and spoke highly of it. He would often post some research work done by AIMS students on our notice boards and encourage us to go through it even if we felt we would not understand it.
At AIMS, it wasn’t enough to be good at math; we had to learn how to communicate those often-abstract concepts, which helped deepen my understanding of what I was studying and why they mattered. I was also challenged with courses and projects outside my comfort zone, giving class presentations on quantum machine learning and taking on a final year project I initially had reservations about. But they were worth it!
Hearing Nathaniel Bassey’s “Olorun Agbaye – You Are Mighty” brings back memories of working with my floormates and other colleagues on assignments. At the same time, it played in the background on Saturday mornings, the Waakye we got for lunch, and the relief we felt after submitting them! The times we spent brainstorming over assignments, preparing for quizzes, and playing video games and table tennis helped me forge relationships I wouldn’t otherwise have.
Q: Tell us about the impact AIMS has had on you
Nii Amoo: Through AIMS, my mathematical acumen is much sharper than it was before, and this helped me develop the skill to critically assess research papers, systematically break down problems, build logical solutions to them and improve my programming skills. These have proven invaluable in my current role in developing data and software solutions to solve business problems.
Q: What would you describe as your post-AIMS success story?
Nii Amoo: Even before I completed AIMS, I had received multiple offers. It was due to my ability to impress my interviewers with how I approached and thought through problems and recommended solutions. The Mathematical Problem-Solving class taught by Dr. Bainson has been instrumental in helping with that. Being a good communicator combined with technical math and programming skills has also been a plus at work, allowing me to interact with the business and the developers, further improving my overall knowledge. After considering the several offers I received while still at AIMS, I settled for the role of a Data Scientist at the Consolidated Bank Ghana. A position that resonants perfectly with me and all my interests.
Q: Which of the SDGs is most important/relevant to you? How do you plan on addressing it in your current role?
Nii Amoo: I am passionate about SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure. If we are to develop as a country and a continent, then this will be one area we must address with tact. Doing so will result in other areas such as education and healthcare receiving significant improvements. I believe it’s one area I can contribute significantly to, given my background. This interest led to me co-founding the startup Perigee Insights (Pi), a software company focusing on providing solutions and driving innovation in InsurTech Fintech, Analytics, and Healthcare systems.
Q: What is your message to current students and young people across the continent?
Nii Amoo: Firstly, don’t be too worried if you’re unsure of which courses to take. You came to AIMS to become a better mathematician and scientist, and all the courses on offer will help you become exactly that if you’re diligent enough. From my experience, it helps to have a breadth of knowledge early on. You’ll get to know what you’re passionate about, and that’ll help you focus and hone your skills in the field you choose to pursue later. And that breadth often enables you to consider solutions to problems others who lack that breadth overlook or miss altogether!
It makes it two pieces of advance, but it’s indispensable, so I’ll mention it. Have positive interactions with your colleagues, tutors, and lecturers. AIMS isn’t designed to be conquered alone, the journey is arduous, and it helps to have people around you who can assist and encourage you when you’re feeling overwhelmed. AIMS is fun when there’s collaboration. You’ll learn new and exciting perspectives you could assimilate to help develop you personally and as a professional.