One of the greatest assets of a company is the people working behind the scenes to achieve #OneTeamOne Dream. In today’s series of Meet The Unstoppable Boosties, we have Manura Dissanayake, Head of Data Science, to find out what it takes to be an Unstoppable Boostie.
Life as the Head of Data Science
Being in my role is both exciting and challenging at the same time. With Boost on track to launch the digital bank, the data team is responsible to deliver data services for this organisation. At the same time, I oversee existing data related operational work in our current lending business, which is interesting for me as I get to collaborate with exceptionally intelligent people to find solutions for real business problems.
A typical working day for me is having to shift between different topics but at the same time, bringing my best to the table. As a data science professional, I allocate time for project collaborations and keeping up with the latest developments in data science and engineering. We also make it a point as a team to share about the challenges encountered and how to overcome them for team learning.
Challenges & Solutions
Being in the Financial Services industry, data security and privacy are at the forefront of our attention. Our team is considered the gatekeeper of various data, where we take those with utmost importance to deliver accurate insights for business users to make data-driven decisions. This also means that we carry great responsibility for data protection. With these matters on my priority list, the team knows that we thrive for zero tolerance on any governance breach and getting there means that we must be on our toes all the time.
In having accurate data, it is key to ensure we don’t end up in a ‘garbage-in, garbage-out’ scenario. Defining and setting Data Standards while aligning with internal teams is a tedious task. One thing I learned is that there are no shortcuts other than discussing these matters as much as necessary with all relevant stakeholders. It is a collaborative effort in defining the agreed standards, not a top-down or bottom-up charge.
Proud Moments & Achievements
When I joined the company in 2019, my key responsibilities were to define, establish and acquire our own Data Science capabilities. The initial phase relied heavily on external support, however, we steadily managed to build our own in-house capabilities. Looking back, building a “Data Lake” seemed like a mammoth task at that time, but reflecting on this today, it gives me a great sense of accomplishment.
Being part of the digital bank team during the application stage, it was a challenging task to pitch to the regulators on different topics, explaining machine learning methodologies and the approaches that we will take on. However, with the support of other team members, we contributed to the application paper on the related topics. So, when Bank Negara Malaysia granted the Boost – RHB Consortium the digital bank license, it was the greatest pride for me.
Life & Career Aspiration
There is never a dull day at Boost given the learning, unlearning, and re-learning I had to go through to date. As I go along this journey, I have brushed up my leadership skills to contribute efficiently to my team and get the best output in return. In my view, there is a huge potential to be a leader in shaping the Fintech industry in Malaysia and we have been offered an open canvas to define ourselves, and the heights we can soar are only limited by our imagination.
Beyond achieving my personal goals, I am happy to trek this journey with my team so that we can really make something big in the future.
Advice to an Unstoppable Boostie
While we get shaped by many people’s views and perspectives, it is also fundamental that we don’t forget to be “yourself” – The honest you, the humble you, every day.