Profiles: Milensu Shanyinde, Medical Statistician, Oxford Clinical Trials Unit

Real People
Feb 25, 2014

Milensu Shanyinde

Medical Statistician, Oxford Clinical Trials Unit

Studying for a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics and Statistics at Plymouth University was the right decision I made for a career in Statistics. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it was not for the high level of support I received and the wide variety of topics I learnt during my undergraduate studies.

I really appreciated the open door policy among members of staff in the department as it enabled more contact time in areas I found challenging. My degree helped me and gave me a firm foundation for my postgraduate studies and career prospects because I had gained insight into statistics and its applications. In addition to the course, the department provided up to date information on different career paths to take, which meant that my next step was a result of making an informed decision. Besides my studies, I found Plymouth to be a lovely place to live, with its natural characteristics of being on the coast. This meant that there were places to relax and living costs were very affordable.

Since graduating in 2009 with a first class honours degree, I was able to apply for an MSc course in Statistics with Applications in Medicine at Southampton University, and successfully received funding for the course. During that year, the mathematical background and computing skills I had acquired at Plymouth allowed me to integrate on the course with minimal supervision. I found that having a background in Mathematics and Statistics and having some computing skills was to my advantage as I could transfer some of these skills onto the postgraduate degree. The self discipline and self motivation I acquired through working on my Dissertation at Plymouth University resulted in the same work ethic when working towards my MSc thesis. I was able to work towards my first publication of my thesis with the support of my supervisor at the time.

During my MSc course, I applied for a job at the Centre for Statistics in Medicine, which is part of Oxford University and was offered a position as a Medical Statistician as part of the Oxford Clinical Trials Unit in October 2010. I mainly work on Phase II/III cancer clinical trials. My job entails day to day handling of clinical trials project queries, writing statistical analysis plans and reports. I attend and prepare reports for meetings such as the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee and the Trial Steering Committee meetings. Additional duties include some consultancy work leading to further publications, carrying out some data analyses for clinicians/consultants, some small element of teaching, attending and presenting at some conferences and taking part in methodological research with fellow colleagues at the unit. My additional transferable skills gained during my undergraduate degree included statistical computing, reporting writing, presentation and time management skills have all have played a significant role.

Finally over the past couple of years after completing an undergraduate degree, I feel that the problem solving skills I have were mainly obtained from the mathematical modules I learnt at Plymouth University. I believe that having this background has worked to my advantage as I have been able to transfer these skills to several aspects of my work as a Medical Statistician where you need to be able to think outside the box, pay attention to detail and provide appropriate solutions.

Reproduced by kind permission of Plymouth University

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