Head of Data and Analytics

Prodigy Finance, Cape Town

Funding shouldn't be a barrier to education, so they're revolutionizing international student loans.

Prodigy Finance - who we are

Prodigy Finance is a platform that enables financing for international postgraduate students at the world’s best universities, whilst delivering competitive financial and social returns to alumni, institutional and private investors.

This borderless and innovative model enables education loan financing to students from across the globe, whilst using predicted post-degree affordability rather than present-day salary. Since 2007, Prodigy Finance has extended over US$500 million through the platform to fund over 12,000 students from over 150 countries.

Our team of over 160 (and growing) is already truly global. Our head office is in London with much of the team being based in beautiful Cape Town. We also have an office in New York plus team members based across Europe and Asia.

We are funded by some of the best, pre-eminent institutions in the world including Index Ventures, Balderton Capital, RMIH, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank.

Why this is an amazing opportunity

This role is perfect for an experienced Head of Data Science who wants to supercharge their career by experiencing first-hand what it is like to be part of an energetic, extremely fast growing company.

The sense of impact and reward will be huge.  You will help to build a product which makes a very real difference in the world.  Be a part of delivering socially responsible financial services to the masses; make it possible for students from more than 150 countries to obtain the finance to fulfil their dream of studying at the world’s top universities and schools.

We are a small non-hierarchical team; this means that you are going to get exposure to all aspects of our business immediately.  You’ll gain as much accountability as you can handle and have a huge influence on scaling the company.

Our team is very international and very sociable; you will interact with the broader business on a regular basis. The position will be based in Cape Town.

One of our goals is to build one of the top FinTech teams and cultures anywhere in the world. This means putting a lot of time into ensuring we only hire people with exceptional potential and creating the best working environment possible. If you want to work somewhere where you're learning from some of the best brains in FinTech, this would be a good fit.

Why join Prodigy Finance

  • Be a part of a pioneering global growth company
  • Experience the excitement and learn from being part of an incredibly fast-growing young company. No kidding – exponential growth. Happening right now
  • Be pivotal in scaling the business by identifying smart solutions and partners with tech at the heart of it
  • Enjoy the agility and flexibility offered by a startup culture. A sociable, relaxed and friendly work environment (with a serious coffee culture where you can wear shorts to work)
  • We will help you make your mark. Make a real impact on the business and experience a steep learning curve with huge opportunities to grow and develop
  • Gain an inside perspective on the functioning of a venture-backed FinTech startup, backed by top VCs, learn day-to-day management and build functional expertise
  • Build a platform that helps to make a very real difference in the world

What you will do in the role

As our Head of Data and Analytics you will head up a focused team that goes out into the rest of the business looking for opportunities to study and measure its core business operations, learning how to make them better and putting in place infrastructure to support ongoing measurement and learning.

Specific responsibilities will be to:

  • Manage, hire, retain and grow an amazing data focused Engineering and Analytics team
  • Develop a strong data science capability within the department that can drive business value by implementing advanced data, mathematical and statistical models
  • Lead Data Architects and Data Engineers to architect and deliver the solutions that fulfil the business data requirements
  • Manage the development of data-driven approaches for the purpose of generating business insights through data analytics, information visualisation, and addressing unanswered business issues in a proactive manner
  • Build automated measurement, learning and analysis pipelines for business products, systems and processes
  • Research and integrate relevant sources of data both inside and outside the business to enrich input to analysis and machine learning pipelines
  • Support the Data Analysts in understanding business processes and to form meaningful partnerships with business stakeholders in order to extract maximum value from the analytics tools and data
  • Lead the initiatives related to predictive and prescriptive analytics in order to increase the adoption of automated and embedded decision solutions
  • Educate and collaborate with Product Owners, Software Engineers and Operations Managers about the methods used by the Data Science team so that they can contribute to data-based learning within the organisation

What you will be measured on

  • Your management of the Data teams and the focus on how the team adds business value via data decisioning
  • Your ability to scale the data teams in line with our growth as a company
  • Your delivery of automated data science and analytics pipelines and visualisations
  • Data engineering and data architecture evolution with data integrity as a key metric
  • Your education of other teams and spreading of a culture of measurement and data-driven learning within the business
  • Your ability to think strategically, deliver change incrementally and influence the culture of data as an asset 

What you need to be great at

  • Analytical thinking capability; be logical, systematic, strategic and pragmatic
  • Technical competence; love coding and look to continuously improve and find better ways of doing things
  • Strong attention to detail, both quantitative and qualitative, can organise large amounts of data from disparate sources
  • Able to learn new concepts and business issues quickly
  • Mindfulness; be considerate of the implications of your work, really care about what you are doing and the impact of your contribution
  • Problem-solving aptitude; able to research complex open-ended problems and prepare solutions that address them and are backed by data and solid theoretical models
  • Ability to explain complex concepts to others with patience and humility
  • Biased towards action; able to generate ideas, experiment with them, test them, learn from them, improve them, implement them, automate them
  • Collaborate well with colleagues of all levels of seniority
  • Excellent critical judgment; able to make good decisions, be trusted, respected and dependable, be proactive and responsive, ask the right questions, raise flags at the right time
  • Be accountable for the team’s outputs and targets. Able to multi-task and work in a high-pressured environment
  • Ability to educate and train team members to ensure they are aware of the methods used by the team. Also, able to identify gaps in training knowledge and close them when required

Who we are looking for; track record must haves

  • A tertiary education that includes statistical methods and machine learning
  • Experience managing a team of Data Engineers, Data Architects, Data Modellers and Data Scientists
  • Solid experience in at least two of the above data disciplines
  • Experience leading and working in a technical capacity for a team working with relational databases, tools for managing big data and data warehousing infrastructure
  • Experience with Amazon and Google cloud platforms
  • Experience with using and deploying "big data" processing tools (e.g. Storm, Spark, Hadoop, MapReduce, Riak)
  • A strong background in software development with Python and relevant Python libraries

Experience that would be nice to have (but we’ll trade off if everything else fits) 

  • An MSc or PhD that incorporated statistical methods or machine learning
  • Experience working as a Data Scientist lead in a start up or high growth business
  • BI and data warehouse experience
  • A publication or publications on a machine learning topic in a reputable journal
  • Experience with recurrent neural networks or deep learning
  • Experience with d3 or other visualisation tools
  • Experience with other programming languages, especially Ruby and JavaScript
  • Start-up experience. Sometimes the earth moves beneath your feet at Prodigy Finance so you've got to be comfortable with ambiguity, able to wear lots of hats, and adapt easily as we continue to grow

The Prodigy Finance fit; attributes which run true in everyone at Team Prodigy

To be an A player at Prodigy Finance, you need to possess – in spades - the following attributes:

Innovative + Smart

Be curious enough to want to know more, think out the box, maybe even break the box, show initiative and be smart about it to find implementable, impactful solutions.

International + Accountable

Push yourself to be better every day. Work with others across the world, be resilient, add value and then hold yourself accountable. Encourage and celebrate each other.

Energetic + Fun

Sense of humour = survival. Bring energy and fun. Wear your heart on your sleeve. Work hard and find the time to play. We’re in this together.

Do you want to be our next Head of Data and Analytics?  Here’s what to do now:

If this sounds exciting and you'd like to have an informal chat, get in touch below and tell us why you want to work at Prodigy Finance.

About Prodigy Finance

The Prodigy Finance Story

Prodigy Finance was started by three INSEAD MBA graduates who experienced the difficulties of financing an international degree first-hand. In 2007, we decided to solve this problem.

Our innovative platform offers loans to international postgraduate students attending top universities. Through our community platform, alumni, impact investors, and other private qualified entities invest in tomorrow's leaders whilst earning a financial and social return.

To date, more than $318 million in Prodigy Finance loans have been disbursed to over 6,800 students around the world. Over 80% of our borrowers tell us they had no other way of financing their studies, so we like to think that we're helping educate the world.

We believe funding shouldn't be a barrier to education.

Want to learn more about Prodigy Finance? Visit Prodigy Finance's website.