Working as an industrial researcher on data mining, I always feel the first step of my career started at Bristol where I took the MSc course on machine learning and data mining (ML&DM) in 2001. Back then, data mining has just become a new trend in IT industry and only few prestigious universities in the UK capable of providing such a course and the CS department of Bristol University was one of them. As a result, it didn't take me long to decide on quitting my last job and enrolling for this MSc programme in order to broaden my future career prospects. Before this, I already got a first degree in Computer Science and had been working on software development for several years in my homeland.
The one-year MSc course on ML&DM is quite comprehensive and intensive too. But it's definitely worth my time and effort. A wide range of topics, both classical and cutting-edge, have been covered during lectures and the teaching stuff is well balanced between theoretical study and practical application. By the end of the course, all these things made me feel comfortable to decide between either applying for a job or further pursuing a PhD in the same subject area. In my case, I took up the PhD study at University of East Anglia, and then joined Unilever Research Colworth (UK) after graduating in 2006. Currently, my working area mainly focus on mining shopper's preference and behaviour using both association rule mining and statistical machine learning approaches.
While my time as an MSc student in Bristol is relatively short, the beautiful city and supportive lecturers and friends make it thoroughly enjoyable. Besides, the department building and accommodation are both near city centre, which provides great convenience to my daily life as almost everything is in an ease access from where I lived. Overall, coming to Bristol for the MSc course was a choice I will never regret.