Born in the Philippines, Jamie’s upbringing was heavily influenced by her parents. Her father is a former Filipino basketball legend, renowned among watchers of the Philippine Basketball Association. Her mother graduated Suma Cum Laude.
Her parents are both her role models and supporters, she says, thankful for the talent and drive they instilled in her.
After graduating Suma Cum Laude from a bachelor's degree in Mathematics, Jamie undertook five-months of intensive training to compete in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, held in the Philippines. Winning the gold medal launched her into the Filipino national team, as well as world championships and Olympic qualifications.
Alongside her sporting success, her academic appetite remained and in 2022 she enrolled in the MSc in Business Analytics at London’s Imperial College Business School. Now midway through the intensive one-year program, she has one eye on her coursework and the other on this year’s championship calendar.
Moving from the Philippines to London
The idea of leaving home was difficult for Jamie. She remained in the Philippines during her undergraduate degree at the University of the Philippines Dillman, but after graduation wanted to experience life in a new country.
Jamie chose to study in London because of the opportunities to travel to other nearby countries in Europe and experience even more of the world. As for studying a business analytics degree, she wanted a degree that would prepare her for the ever-changing data-driven business world.
“I enjoy math and I enjoy logic and critical thinking. So I wanted to go into something like that. I figured business analytics would be perfect,” she says.
With its location in a vibrant city such as London and an MSc in Business Analytics ranked among the top five globally, Imperial seemed like the right choice. “I really liked London and was really excited. Also looking at the program I felt it aligned with my interests the most.”
Training for championships alongside an intensive MSc in Business Analytics degree
Studying a master’s degree in business analytics alongside training for world Karate competitions was not without its challenges for Jamie.
“It’s really fast, in one year they compress a lot of information so that’s the thing that’s difficult for all of us.”
However, Jamie is learning a lot and has already studied topics such as energy analytics, retail, and marketing.
The Imperial MSc in Business Analytics is a rigorous degree comprising nine core modules and six electives. Core modules provide a theoretical grounding in areas like machine learning and econometrics, while electives provide the opportunity to specialize in several areas.
Plus, with the Southeast Asian Games coming in the next few months, followed by an Asian Games and a potential World Championship in late-2023, Jamie has continued to train twice a day while studying.
A supportive network has been important in helping Jamie balance her studies with a strict training regime.
The cohort at Imperial is highly international with more than 20 nationalities present among almost 100 students, though Jamie is one of only a handful of Southeast Asian students and the only person hailing from the Philippines.
However, she has been quickly able to integrate and make a strong group of friends who have offered guidance and support.
“People are very friendly. We help each other when everyone is stressed,” she explains. “When one person is stronger in a certain suit, they’ll help the other out and vice versa.”
What comes next?
Though intensive, the dual-focus of the MSc in Business Analytics degree has provided Jamie with a solid structure to prepare well for both her academic and competitive goals. With graduation looming in late 2023, Jamie is still deciding what exactly comes next
“It’s going to be one year of focusing on being an athlete as well as graduating, and then I’ll start thinking about my career after that,” she explains.
Missing the warmth of the Philippines and the support of her family, Jamie feels she will likely return to Asia. While she’s yet to establish a clear plan, studying various elective modules—which focus on more applied, practical work—has provided some guidance on potential career paths.
“I'm learning a great foundation out of these electives. They not only teach me the basics of what I need to know, but I’m now equipped with how to find more information, so they prepare me as well.”
With so much on the horizon for in 2023, Jamie is focusing on achieving the goals that are right in front of her so she is as prepared as she can be for whatever her future brings.
“My life is changing every month, so right now I am just studying and training intensively.”