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CLASS OF 2016: Student conquers attention deficit condition to win top prizes at graduation

A student who was expelled from secondary school due to an undiagnosed attention condition has turned his life around, winning prizes for best student and best project as he graduates from his De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) course.

Pedro Mac Dowell Innecco, will be awarded a distinction in his  MSc in Business Intelligence (BI) Systems and Data Mining  when he graduates at a ceremony being held at The Venue@DMU this month.

Pedro

The 36-year-old is also being awarded The Business Computing and Mathematics prizes for Best Student and Best Project at the event.

Pedro's graduation has also led to a significant promotion, as  Business Intelligence Principal at Auxilion,  making him the leading voice on the subject across the whole organisation.

This is Pedro's second Master's to date, despite being expelled from school in his native Brazil due to his then undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Moving to the UK in 2000 resulted in a life-changing diagnosis, with medication to manage the condition and coaching to develop coping strategies. The strategies Pedro has developed have been so successful he no longer relies on medication and has been able to complete an impressive education.

Now based in Dublin, the father-of-one was originally planning on studying a Master's in software development and engineering, but chose instead to apply for DMU's Business Intelligence MSc.

He said: "DMU is among the few universities that provide this course through distance learning. Even though there was another similar course I could have taken here in Dublin, DMU's use of the cutting-edge SAS software was an extremely inviting prospect.

"None of the other contenders offered the opportunity to work with SAS, or the chance to visit their headquarters in England and connect with their staff, which was an interesting experience."

Distance learning wasn't without its challenges, but Pedro said: "My lecturers were very knowledgeable and Dr Yang in particular went above and beyond to help me, responding to questions on weekends and late at night. Being a distance learner you are unable to ask for clarification during lectures, so having this level of support was vital."

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During his studies at DMU, Pedro enjoyed a number of pertinent modules and discovered a love for an unexpected subject. He said: "I really enjoyed data mining because it presented us with concepts I previously knew nothing about. The module on statistical programming was also great, helping me to discover that I am quite good at maths, after being told I was bad at it in high school.

"I can now say I actually love maths and I'm making up for lost time. One of my ambitions in life is to ace my way through the entire Khan Academy's maths modules, all the way to advanced calculus."

Pedro's MSc was the foundation for his new career. Before the course he provided consultancy on applications like Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SharePoint, but now he practices broader techniques which are not tied down to specific systems. He said: "Being technology-agnostic in business intelligence is what makes a good consultant and what has led to my promotion within Auxilion.

"Never ever be afraid to raise your hand and ask questions. Questions are a sign of commitment and interest, and one should strive to develop their critical thinking."

"In fact, when dealing with computer systems, don't settle for just following instructions by the book. Deviating from the norm is an integral part of understanding how and why something works."

"Also, always look for alternative sources and texts to supplement your study, and study hard. It pays off, trust me."

Posted on Wednesday 20th January 2016

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