How to become a Machine Learning Expert with Skoltech and Sber
Nikita Bekezin | Current MSc Data Science student and Data Scientist at the joint Skoltech-Sber laboratory
Meet Nikita Bekezin, Skoltech MSc student and researcher at the Joint Laboratory of Applied Research Skoltech-Sber. Nikita is passionate about machine learning. In this True Story, he shared how joint projects with Sber helped him realize what he wants for his future career. Enjoy!

I'm originally from Moscow. I studied at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Department of Control and Applied Mathematics. I had a classic MIPT curriculum in physics and a series of various mathematical disciplines: mathematical analysis, linear algebra, mathematical statistics, probability theory, theory of random processes, etc. In my fourth year of studies, I found an internship in Samsung R&D in a data analysis team, where I worked on smartphone sales prediction. Since then, I got interested in Machine Learning and decided to get more profound knowledge in the field. So, in spring 2019 I joined Skoltech's Data Science (MLAI track) program.
why Skoltech
After my Bachelor's studies were over, my goal was to deepen my knowledge in programming and machine learning. I knew that Skoltech had one of the best studying programs in machine learning in Russia. I also appreciated the education system at Skoltech: having only several compulsory courses and being able to choose the rest as I wished. Not to mention the stipend (which equals a common salary for a 40-hour internship in an IT company). Thus, the choice of Master's program was obvious.

The Data Science program covers different themes and aspects of ML and DL. It starts with basic courses of algorithms and numerical linear algebra as well as introductory courses in data science and computer vision. The program continues with classic ML and DL courses and may be followed by more specific courses such as Introduction to Blockchain. This educational path gives a broad and structured view of the Data Science field.

Data Science
Data scientists are going to be among the most demanded specialists in the hi-tech market. The purpose of our program is to meet this demand and to equip the most talented young scientists with high-level knowledge and experience in machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, industrial data analytics, natural language processing, mathematical modelling and other important areas of modern data science. Learn more>>
joint Skoltech-Sber laboratory
When the time came to choose my research at Skoltech, the projects of the Joint Laboratory of Applied Research Skoltech-Sber (LARSS) seemed attractive to me. I also liked the idea of being able to work in a major company (Sber) while studying. A great advantage of this particular program is that it allows combining work and studies smoothly without interfering with one another, which is less likely for other programs.

In LARSS, I worked on several projects, including the interest rate elasticity of demand for loans, ATMs loss prediction for the next month, transactions analysis to identify car insurance (KASKO mainly) buyers to be able to make special offers and many others.

Looking back at this experience and this unique internship opportunity with Sber, I definitely feel like I've gained enough hands-on skills in machine learning to become a sought-after expert after graduation. Moreover, after finishing my project in the lab, I stayed on as an official Sber employee to implement my project into production and explore new areas.
research with Sber and other work
My diploma is one of the projects I completed at Sber. It is titled "Interest rate elasticity of demand for loans" and is about measuring the elasticity of demand. Various clients react to the changes in the interest rate suggested to them quite differently. My task was to assign a corresponding value of sensitivity to the interest rate change for every client. It is of high interest for a bank as it allows to increase the share of loans taken by identifying sensitive clients and lowering the rates for them. The novelty of the method is that it works like a targeted advertisement. It makes it possible to identify those clients who react to lowering a rate the most.

It's exciting to see my research actually being applied at Sber. Now I'm working on my diploma project, trying to implement different methods which go beyond the bank's needs, as well as other Sber projects. One of them is connected with real estate price prediction to be used in the process of risk calculation when issuing mortgages.
how the joint Skoltech-Sber lab helped in my career setting
I would like to build a career in the Machine Learning industry. The research work in LARSS opens a lot of doors and provides an ability to see how ML can be applied in a financial sector. I would like to continue growing as an expert in Data Science and become a Team Lead eventually, as I enjoy both technical and managing and communicational aspects of work. Working in an industry is a great opportunity to learn how modern economy evolves and to be able to influence its future
and now about Skoltech
We are Skoltech – a new international English-speaking STEM university that was founded by the group of world-renowned scientists in 2011 in Moscow, Russia. In just 8 years, we united dozens of researchers and globally renowned professors, built a stunning campus, set up world-class labs and made it to the top 100 young universities in the Nature Index. Read more >>
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