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Scotland’s Data Students Display “Impressive” Ethical Outlook

Duncan MacRae


MBN Solutions

Strong ethics and gender diversity are helping set Scotland’s upcoming data workforce apart from their European counterparts, according to MBN Solutions.

MBN Solutions has successfully completed its third year placing MSc Graduates of data topics into high performing data-enabled Scottish organisations.

The work placements were completed in partnership with The Data Lab, Scotland’s innovation centre for data and AI. Over the past three years, MBN has placed 220 students into work, with around 100 of those finding placements in 2019.

With the massive growth in the exploitation of data and at a time when many ethical questions are asked about trust, privacy and security of data, MBN observed an impressive trend in candidates being very interested in the corporate values of the organisations in which they were being placed.

Michael Young, chief executive of MBN, said: “Data Talent in Scotland demonstrates impressive traits when it comes to their ethical outlook. We most frequently hear this at our regular Data Science and Technology meetups across Scotland. We believe this is great news for organisations seeking inquisitive and balanced data scientists to help solve the most complex data challenges they face.”

MBN’s own research also indicates a modest improvement in the gender diversity of graduates seeking to be placed through the programme over the past two years. This is a trend that MBN is helping to improve further through its programme of data events by encouraging more women in data to participate as speakers and panellists; and by helping to foster informal mentoring activities.

Paul Forrest, chair of MBN said: “Scotland’s data sector benefits from better female representation than elsewhere in Europe but, to improve overall, we must continue to create a culture where access, ambition and progression is encouraged by business and academia alike. We continue to both lead and support initiatives and ventures that further enhance this and encourage others to do the same.

“Over the course of the next year, our events programme will see us continue to focus on this with enhanced opportunities for all to participate in structured networking activities to help identify a new generation of women in data role models and mentors.

Young added: “As CEO of MBN, I take great pride in what we have achieved in our relationship with The Data Lab. However, I am even more proud of the culture we have created within MBN that means we take issues of ethics and gender seriously. I look forward to the future knowing that we will continue to take an important role in cementing Scotland’s global reputation as the place to be for the best in morally robust data talent.”

Gillian Docherty OBE, CEO of The Data Lab, said: “Every year MBN has increased the placements and we’re delighted to see the breadth and depth of organisations now exploring the use of data to drive value in Scotland.”

MBN believes that, along with The Data Lab, it has created a successful model to match candidates from the MSc programme with the right businesses and the right projects. And this has not gone unnoticed by the wider business community in Scotland, according to MBN.

Lorraine Bryce, data research & development manager at RBS PBB, said: “For the past two years, we’ve had the pleasure in working with the MBN Academy on the MSc program, offering students placements in our data team here in RBS.

“We had such a positive experience last year, managing to secure two students as permanent members of our team, that we decided to go for it again this year and give three students an opportunity to do their dissertations with us.

“We’ve enjoyed watching all the students flourish and seeing them start their data career journeys by working on some real projects for us. And what’s more, we’ve also enjoyed watching them teach our own permanent members of the team some new data skills too, which was a bonus! The team at MBN make the recruitment and matching process so easy and it really is a great way of test-driving new talent”.

Duncan MacRae


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