Artificial Intelligence Masters online student
May 2021 intake
Please could you begin by introducing yourself?
My name is Abhishek Gurumadhva, and I have studied the online Artificial Intelligence Masters delivered by the University of Leeds.
I am also the Founder of Kreative School, an e-learning company based in the United Arab Emirates and I teach mathematics in virtual Zoom sessions to teenagers.
Previously, I priced change orders for a company that participated in building the Burj Khalifa, and I am also an expert in standardised testing. I built a product for the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) which I created and sold in two parts to a Californian company and a French company.
Why did you choose to study a Masters in Artificial Intelligence?
Firstly, I really wanted to earn a Masters degree. Over a decade ago, I went to America to study for an MBA and due to personal reasons, I could not complete it. Since then, I have been waiting for the right course to plunge me into my postgraduate studies again.
Then when I saw the online Artificial Intelligence Masters delivered by the University of Leeds in an online ad, I expressed my interest, and an Advisor called me to discuss whether it was the right course for me.
One of the biggest reasons that I wanted to study was because I’m interested in cognition, consciousness and learning, and artificial intelligence seemed to be the perfect, innovative study topic for me.
Initially, when I joined the Artificial Intelligence MSc, I thought I’d study for a PhD later on. But throughout the course, I realised that I’m more of an entrepreneur than a researcher, so I’d encourage those considering the course to keep an open mind, because the resources are so vast, and you can choose what you want to learn.
What was the end goal for you? What were you hoping to achieve?
I was looking to develop my knowledge, but throughout the course I realised that there is so much opportunity to apply it in developing the company that I currently run.
I’ve discovered how children could really benefit from a basic knowledge of artificial intelligence, and the course has helped me find that gap in the market and pass on my learnings to children that can really benefit from them.
Why did you choose to study this course online rather than in-person?
I’m currently based in the United Arab Emirates, and I’m married with a child, so I didn’t want to leave my family or move them away for me to study, so the online learning method was perfect for me at this stage in my life.
It’s also delivered part-time, meaning I could continue working and getting an income alongside my studies and other commitments.
What have you found most interesting on the course so far?
I’ve had a couple of amazing moments during my course whilst studying machine learning, robotics, deep learning, data mining and text analysis.
I found ‘inexplicable AI’ the most interesting which is where we fine tune the hyperparameters of artificial intelligence but can’t always explain why the results are working in a certain way.
In the Robotics module, I also learned about reinforcement learning, and a programme called Alpha Go that taught itself to beat the world’s greatest chess player by playing games with itself and learning different winning scenarios through trial and error coupled with reward function.
We also built a small robot in the Ubuntu Open Source which was fascinating.
What have been the highlights of your course? Have you learned anything that has inspired you?
At the end of November 2022, ChatGPT came out and I was so proud that I understood so much of what is going on under the hood of the platform. I knew to a great extent how it operates, and how large language models such as ChatGPT work.
In one deep learning assessment, we also trained a Pytorch program using Pytorch libraries to generate Alice in Wonderland like text, and it was fantastic for me to understand many elements of language models like this.
I think from 2023 and beyond, artificial intelligence will become a big focus of everyday life, so I’m proud that I will complete my degree in time for this shift.
Would you recommend this course to other students and if so, why?
I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in pursuing a Masters in computing or is even unsure of what to do. There’s no better time to study artificial intelligence formally as it’s such a hot topic.
The online option is also great, you’re given so much support, and the fact that you can study part-time whilst still working is fantastic.
If someone has the resources and the will to work hard, then I’d definitely recommend the online Artificial Intelligence Masters from the University of Leeds.
Could you tell us a little bit about your current role? And how is your Masters in Artificial Intelligence helping you succeed in it?
I currently teach mathematics to students who are mostly teenagers. And since studying the course, I’m applying my learnings to build an app called Kreative School – No Code AI for Teens, which offers video lessons. In the future, I’d also like to build an app on AI with Python for teenagers.
I’ve been teaching for a decade, so I feel my skill set combined with my knowledge from the course can really benefit future generations of students who want to be at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies.
What are your career aspirations? How do you think your degree will support them?
For me, just understanding how AI works, and feeling more comfortable with AI tools and coding in Python and using Google Colab will help.
I think having the ability to code is a huge advantage and it gives you an edge if you understand what is going on in that space. I learned Python during my MSc course, so all the resources are helpful and being able to share all this knowledge, especially to younger generations, is my long-term goal.
Why did you choose to study with the University of Leeds?
When I researched the University of Leeds, I discovered that the institution is over one hundred years old with a rich history, and that really made me want to gain a degree from somewhere with such a long-standing reputation.
I also found that the University of Leeds developed a humanoid called Ai-Da which paints, sketches and even addressed the UK Parliament, so I was excited at the prospect of joining a university which is heavily involved in such interesting research projects.
How did you find the application process?
It was great that there was an Enrolment Advisor supporting me as it’s always nice to have someone to address any questions or concerns when making big decisions.
The application process was comprehensive, and I was talked through the documents and transcripts I needed to prove that I met the entry requirements. But yes, it was a smooth process, and I didn’t have any issues with it at all.
Could you tell us a little more about other support you have received from the University so far?
Firstly, I had a meeting with the University of Leeds Careers Service which offered guidance on how to apply for jobs upon graduation.
I also had a meeting with my Academic Tutor who guided me through the ins and outs of an MSc level research project and helped me plot out some ideas. The discussion forums in each module were also helpful with this, where a module leader answers all sorts of questions.
The students who I learnt alongside were also helpful, and we had a Slack group for peer-to-peer interaction and to share additional resources and talk through our learnings.
The weekly webinars were one of the most important things about the course. They were all recorded so you could choose to watch them live or catch-up on them at a later point.
How have you found the support from your tutors at Leeds?
Super helpful. The academics reply quickly, and everyone is easy to contact via email. You can also arrange calls with them for the final research project, but prompt emails are particularly useful. The academics have been really helpful, and their depth of knowledge is huge. They all know the subject really well.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is considering studying a Masters with the University of Leeds, what would it be?
Be ready to work hard and grow exponentially. It’s not a piece of cake, but there is so much to gain that makes the hard work worth it.
As I mentioned earlier, I learned Python from no coding background during the Programming for Data Science module. The resources are so comprehensive if you want to learn, but you must have the drive to do so.
The recommended number of hours is twenty per week, so anyone considering studying should be prepared to work hard and really expect to gain a lot.
It also helps to know what you want to achieve from the course before you start it, as you can choose your modules and the resources you want to learn from.