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Certificate Graduate: Cristobal Bazan, United Nations Agency

Certificate Student Profile of Cristobal Bazan

My courses help me look at more complex problems using different approaches to show more interesting aspects of conditions, beyond just tables and charts, more than just sampling or descriptive statistics.
Cristobal Bazan
United Nations Agency

How do you use statistics in your job?

I work in a statistical section of the United Nations analyzing patents and trademarks to forecast the number of potential patents. Our work involves 100 nationalities, with the majority focused on the United States, Canada, Europe, Belgium, Russia, India, and some other Asian countries. The statistical analyses we perform apply in every place in the world. I’ve found it important to present data for use in the United Nations in standard statistical methods. My courses help me look at more complex problems using different approaches to show more interesting aspects of conditions, beyond just tables and charts, more than just sampling or descriptive statistics. The program introduces me to statistical software and increases my understanding of the science of statistics.

Last year I presented a paper at a United Nations meeting about employee retention, and I used some of the knowledge I acquired through

My everyday work does not require much knowledge of statistics, but my special projects do. Now I’m working on two projects, one about the gender pay gap and the other about the cost of absences caused by illness. In both projects I use statistics.

Our statistical analysis department has 10 people, and they’ve seen how the courses have helped me approach problems. Now, three of them are interested in taking courses, and they’ve asked me to suggest some courses for beginners.

What was your incentive to take a course?

With so many good universities available to you in Geneva, what made you choose an online course rather than a classroom experience?

I was looking for a program to help me with statistical analysis on some work projects. The online format was perfect for me. I am a graduate assistant at Geneva University, and I work for a United Nations agency. I don’t have time to spend two to three hours in a classroom. I have a degree in psychology from the University of Mexico and an M.A. in psychology from Geneva University, and it was important to me to find a program with a recognized certification. The PASS is, in principle, equivalent to a master’s degree. I also needed to find courses taught in English, not just in French.

As an international student, what has been your biggest challenge in taking these courses?

In, I am challenged to improve my skills in several areas, not just statistics, but also English and math. is not for beginners, but I found I have enough skills to succeed. The language is not a problem. Because the use of statistics is global, the common language used is English. If you want to do something in statistics, you need to know English. I need a little extra time to prepare because English is not my native language, although I am fairly proficient in reading and understanding it. Sometimes it is harder because I am learning the subject and at the same time trying to comprehend the subtlety of the language.

What about the differences in time zones?

The online class format gives me plenty of time to prepare. I found no problem with the time differences. I send my assignment on Sunday, one day before it’s due. I think it could even be an advantage because I can start the exercise in the morning in Switzerland while students in Virginia are still sleeping. After all, the Web site editor is in India, and the courses are activated in that time zone.

What was your experience with online, remote learning? When did you study? How did you juggle study, work, and family?

Online learning is becoming more popular and accessible. It is a good way to gain knowledge without taking time off for classroom instruction, which means it is possible to have a job and take courses at the same time. I started with two courses in survey analysis to see if online learning would be a good way for me to learn. I found the course format easy and the questions from other students interesting.