“Every step forward counts, it doesn’t matter how small it may look”

25. January 2021 AlumniScholars
A woman in a blue dress in front of a green door
Originally from Rwanda, Carine Mukamakuza studied in China, finished her PhD in Vienna and has now already started her own business!

Carine Pirette Mukamakuza is a very smart lady, originally from Rwanda. After having pursued her Bachelor and Master studies in China at the Central South University, she conducted her PhD studies at the TU Vienna in the Vienna PhD School for Informatics. Carine finished her PhD in April 2020 and has now already started her own online business!

In her dissertation, supervised by Univ. Prof. Dr. Hannes Werthner, she investigated the degree of impact that social connections have to the rating behaviour of users, by studying publicly available datasets. Her research provides a better understanding of specific aspects of social connections that are important when making recommendations, and thus contributes towards designing more effective social recommenders.

Carine has immense interest in business intelligence, data science especially in machine learning where she focuses most on Recommender systems, User rating behaviour, Personalization and Online Social Network Analysis. Based on the promising results of her work, Carine and her supervisor decided to even extend and deepen the topic of her research in her PhD thesis. Although she had to overcome different obstacles, Carine successfully graduated in April 2020.

Carine is not only a researcher but also a successful entrepreneur: Her business, Digital Data in E-Business (D2iEB) Group is a tech-solution company that specializes in data analysis for online businesses and it offers a range of other services and packages as social network analysis, training, consultancy and marketing services. The company also advises E-business companies to adopt recommender systems as they can include them in their online business depending on the products or services they offer to the customers all over the world. D2iEB is very flexible in offering services as the team speaks several languages: English (five team members, French: (five), Chinese (four), Swahili (four), and German (one). This is to help customers from all over the world to feel understood and valued.

We asked Carine to let us know more about herself:

OeAD: What was your motivation to become an entrepreneur?

Carine: To be honest, being entrepreneur means taking major financial risks, working long hours and practically torture yourself trying to stay afloat and build a business from the ground up. It requires a lot of dedication and perseverance because it is really hard to know the right time to introduce the right idea and understand your value proposition (knowing the right service or product your customers need). On the other hand there are tons of advantages, as growing your network, making money and having a flexible work schedule… As a woman in data science, my motivation is a vision of a knowledgeable society for the future, I don‘t really care about a flexible work schedule as long as I can achieve my part of contribution by changing the world when helping the society to adapt with digital transformation.

OeAD: First China, then Austria: How did you select our places of Study?

Carine: I chose China because it was advanced in technology and the school fees was affordable. Going to study in China at the Central South University for my bachelor’s degree in Computing all the way to master’s helped me to experiment the virtues in a different environment. While I was in China, I learnt their language, one of the fundamental aspects of culture and diversity of certain set of people. This helped me to further appreciate a totally different kind of life and culture different from that in Rwanda. This further enriched the values I held of respecting everybody. Choosing Austria was the easiest decision I had ever made because I like diversity and I had read some articles talking about Vienna being one of the most liveable and diverse cities. During my PhD studies in Vienna, Austria, I met people from different backgrounds, in term of nationality, religion, sexual orientation and cultural beliefs. With such kind of diversity, I was able to appreciate beliefs and opinions of people without prejudice.

OeAD: Do you have any tips or recommendations for future OeAD scholarship holders? What is important on the personal level to succeed?

Carine: My recommendation is to set goals, then commit to living them. You need to know that when starting a journey towards your goals, you have to maintain a healthy, well balanced life. Learn how to chop up efforts into small doable efforts. The most important thing is every step forward counts it doesn’t matter how small it may look. There is a saying which helped me a lot when I was facing obstacles, difficulties and feeling like giving up: “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, what matters is to know how to get up and get going.”