NatWest Group is the largest business and commercial bank in the UK, with a leading retail business. As a relationship bank in a digital world, NatWest Group champions potential and supports 19 million people, families, and businesses in communities throughout the UK and Ireland to thrive. The Group’s Data & Analytics and Performance Insights teams rely heavily on data science, engineering and analytics to drive innovation and put the customer at the centre of its operations.
We look at how NatWest has unlocked insights from a new and highly skilled, junior talent pool from the MSc students in The Data Lab’s Placement Programme – could our students bring the same benefits to your business?
NatWest Group employs hundreds of data scientists, engineers and analysts within its Data & Analytics and Performance Insights teams. Working with data covering financial transactions, customer interactions, applications and products, the primary goal of these teams is to generate insights and build new data-driven products and solutions that will improve the customer experience in diverse areas such as fraud detection, customer contact channels and protecting those in need of support.
Heavily relying on skilled individuals to collate, analyse and interpret data, NatWest Group recognised that it needed a strong pipeline of talent to continually transform and achieve its aim of being a fully customer-centric organisation. To support this ambition NatWest Group has partnered with The Data Lab since 2017, taking on several MSc students each year across its Data & Analytics and Performance Insights teams.
As a major high street bank that is trusted by millions of customers, we understand the power of using data to generate insights that put the customer at the centre of how we operate. However, working with data can be messy, and you need perseverance and talent to achieve results.
Since we partnered with The Data Lab, the calibre and attitude of students we have taken on has been exceptional.
I’d recommend any business that is committed to using data to unlock insights and value across its organisation to get in touch and see how The Data Lab can help.Greig Cowan, Head of Data Science for Data Innovation, NatWest Group
The Graduate Experience
The three-month MSc placement students can gain unrivalled experience working within a team of dedicated and talented data professionals.
NatWest Group takes a collaborative approach to assigning projects to MSc students, with these being selected by a committee based on the level of impact they will have on the business. Students are embedded in their teams from day one. They receive regular catch-ups with their line manager and can draw on the wider team’s experience to help resolve any issues they encounter in their day-to-day work.
NatWest has seen several benefits since joining The Data Lab’s placement programme, taking on several MSc students.
It has allowed the organisation to help more graduates understand what the bank does and how it operates, ultimately helping the business to tap into a new and highly skilled, junior talent pool by identifying individuals that fit its purpose-led strategy. It also ensures the organisation keeps on top of the latest data science techniques, tools and processes by working with graduates straight out of university. Several of the MSc students that have worked at NatWest Group over the last five years have secured full times roles within the business and, due to the success of the programme, the bank is continuing to partner with the Data Lab, as well as investigating links with other universities. For further information about NatWest’s Data and Analytics Graduate Programme and how you can get involved, please visit this page:
Student Spotlight: Gayle Raeside, MSc Science and Financial Technology, University of Strathclyde
Gayle joined The Data Lab’s MSc graduate placement programme in 2021, with extensive experience in international business and finance, having graduated with First Class Honours from the University of Strathclyde in 2018. During her time with NatWest Group, Gayle created a new algorithm, which allowed the bank to identify customers with multiple incomes streams. This was then used to help the bank to improve the services and products it was offering to these individuals. A quick starter and dedicated team player, Gayle brought meaningful results and a highly regarded can-do attitude to the team.
Prior to starting my journey to become a data analyst, I was working as a fashion buyer with an international brand. I had secured my undergraduate from Strathclyde University in Finance and Entrepreneurship, but decided it wasn’t the career path I wanted to be on.
I found out about The Data Lab’s scholarship via my dissertation supervisor, and I secured a scholarship to complete a Master of Science and Financial Technology at Strathclyde. Everything was online, but I still received so much support, including regular employability sessions as well as attending the innovation week despite the disruption resulting from the pandemic.
Upon completion, I secured a three-month placement at NatWest Group as a Data Analyst, which provided me with invaluable real-world exposure to new skills and processes. It was a fantastic experience, and one I’d recommend to anyone looking for a career change.Gayle Raeside, Analyst, GCEX
Are you interested in taking part in our Placement Programme? Your business could also benefit from the new ideas and perspectives that our talented data students bring.