The students writing their master’s thesis at SEB describe it as an invaluable opportunity to get practical and apply their skills to real-world cases. From the bank’s perspective, it is seen as a chance to keep up with the latest academic and technological trends.
Aleksandra Krupinska is soon about to submit her master’s thesis within Language Technology. Her field of study relates to the knowledge graph – a model for mapping out to what degree different texts contain the same information, which could have several applications in the tangled-up world of financial material. But how come Aleksandra opted to write her thesis at SEB?
“I was part of a mentorship programme and with my thesis coming up I decided to ask my mentor if SEB would be willing to let me do my work there. He then put me in contact with Anastasia Varava, responsible for SEB’s collaboration with universities. At this point I only knew what field I wanted to explore, but Anastasia and her colleague Rahul Biswas helped me find the right research topic.”
“I was pleasantly surprised by how strong the understanding of the academic world was at SEB. After all, there are two perspectives that need to align – the academic demands and the business interests. SEB’s approach to this made it easy to find a way forward.”
Nils Romanus and Simon Danielsson are also about to finish their joint master’s thesis. The duo is studying Engineering Physics at Lund University and have been doing their work – a project based on Natural Language Processing (NLP) – within Group Analytics at SEB, under the supervision of Rahul Biswas and Amin Ahmadi.
"We're developing a question answering system at SEB, based on the same technology as Chat GPT. Our objective is to create a machine capable of comprehending diverse sources and providing accurate answers to user queries," Simon explains.
“We believe that this tool could be very useful in a complex, financial setting and we also agree with Aleksandra that SEB makes it easy to combine the business and the academic perspective”, Nils adds.
Learning as a two-way street
Anastasia Varava, Research Lead at SEBx, is more than happy when commenting on the work Aleksandra, Nils and Simon have done.
“Here we have three brilliant people, working on different aspects of language modelling and helping us discover how it can be applied in the financial world. This is strategically important for us, and the learning definitely goes both ways.”
Explaining her own role as a bridge between the bank and the academia in a bit more detail, Anastasia says:
“Part of my job is having an ongoing dialogue with universities, to find different research areas and topics that both we and the students are keen to explore. We then help the students formulate their research questions and find the right area within the bank to do their work. Apart from supervising Master students, we have valuable collaborations with other parts academic world, such as Wasp.”
Not the band, I take it?
“No, Wasp stands for the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program. It’s a research initiative, looking to promote advancement within artificial intelligence and autonomous systems.”
Excellent! Back to the students – what do you see as the main advantage of writing your thesis in corporate setting?
“It’s a great way to put your skills to practice – to build real applications and discover how they can create value for an employer”, Simon Danielsson says.
“I agree. Having that experience hopefully also makes the transition from the academic world to working life easier”, Aleksandra Krupinska adds.