Emma Walker – Head of Data Science @ M&S

The M&S team have partnered with Data Science Festival for 3 years. Find out below how they have found the partnership!

On a day-to-day basis, what do the tech teams within your company or brand do?

Everything from the technology in stores, to running the website, to the data science behind all our personalisation.

What was your reason for wanting to partner with DSF?

Raise the profile of M&S as a centre of excellence for data science in London and where we have open roles, recruit attendees into them.

How did working with DSF help with the above reason?

Firstly, access to the community DSF serves either through digital or in-person events. This has helped get our message out there and build recognition of our work. It’s allowed us to talk directly to people who then become candidates for our roles. DSF in-person events deliberately try to over-index on minority groups within the community (eg. women) and this helps us build a more diverse pipeline.

Secondly, many of our team have expressed interest in presenting at external events and with DSF, we have been able to provide them with this opportunity. Over several years we have built up a YouTube playlist of technical and non-technical presentations from M&S employees, which showcases some of the best work we are undertaking. These are used to engage candidates during the interview stages, as well as provide an online showcase.

What do you think about the DSF Community and its diversity initiative?

We wholeheartedly support this initiative!

Did you hire anyone directly or indirectly from our partnership? Do you know how many people?

We have hired 2 people directly from our partnership, but as mentioned, we use the recordings of our talks as a way of publicising our work, so lots of people have seen them.

If you didn’t partner for hiring what other metrics did you use for success?

Applications per open role has increased significantly since we started working with DSF.

Would you be able to share some feedback about working with DSF and what you enjoyed about it and how it added value?

Outside of everything mentioned about, working with DSF has been a very positive experience for us. The team are great to work with, always amenable to our feedback and willing to help. The events are always well-organised and as such they are a pleasure to be involved in, rather than a chore!

Want to know more about how you can get involved in partnering with DSF? Click here to get in touch with a team member today.