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Julian Hatwell (any / all)

I am a senior data professional with a PhD in Machine Learning (specific area: algorithmic development for explainable AI, with three published papers) and a MSc (with Distinction) in Business Intelligence. Over my career, I have also nurtured a breadth of transferable, interpersonal skills and practical experiences in leadership, facilitation, and Agile practices.

I currently work as CDO and Co-Founder at Vishwavidya (trading as EduX), an exciting start-up in the International Education sector. I am responsible for the strategic use of data, using advanced, predictive analytics and machine learning to create innovative data products for our stakeholders, and delightful experiences for the user journey.

I relax by listening to music (audiophile, hi-fidelity) and seeing live shows, engaging with many forms of contemporary art (visual, performance, craft/making), trying to improve my German,  keeping up to date with trends in data science and machine learning, preparing as much of my own food as possible, exercising regularly, socialising, and taking travel adventure trips (at least) once per year.

My full detailed career history follows, for anyone interested to read it. If you would like to discuss anything related to my work or research, please connect on LinkedIn where I deal with all professional matters promptly.


Those without a superhuman boredom threshold can download my short form infographic resumé by clicking the button just below.

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Education and Career

Co-Founder and CDO

Vishwavidya Group, trading as EduX

Feb 2021-Present


EduX is a small tech startup in the international student recruitment space (a market estimated to be worth around USD 200 Billion annually). Our business model is to help recruiting agents increase their success rate and receive a share of their growth in commissions. Our tech puts a highly user-friendly app into the hands of prospective students that helps them research and choose their ideal degree course and university, and guides them through the complete application process. At the back end this app is connected to a seamless CRM experience for the agents, allowing them to manage a greater number of prospective students and increase their conversion rates. The system is built on leading edge tech: digital first, cloud first, massively scalable and highly available. The team is 100% remote and globe spanning. This allows us as co-founders to handpick team members from the greatest talents, no matter where in the world they are based.

As CDO, I develop and implement the data strategy, and deliver innovative data products and solutions through advanced analytics and machine learning:

Key responsibilities

  • Modelling, organising and storing all company data (GCP Datastore, GCP BigQuery,  GCP Cloud Storage, Kafka event logs, memcached lookup keys)

  • Collection and curation of publicly available data, and their transformation into data products and actionable business intelligence to add value for the enterprise and stakeholders (Python scrapy, headless browsers, ElasticSearch, JanusGraph - Gremlin)

  • Ideating and evaluating machine learning driven features to improve the customer journey/experience to maximise customer engagement (open source and GCP BiqQuery ML)

  • Building a team of data professionals and fostering their understanding of the company and data strategy (hiring two data science graduates and a data engineering intern)

  • Establishing and maintaining the data policy and governance (PII segregation and anonymization)

  • Staying on top of latest trends in data mining and machine learning and identify emerging opportunities for commercial advantage (e.g. integrate ChatGPT into search)


Milestone achievements:

  • Development of ML models to predict specific app user behaviours

  • Automation of ML pipeline (parameter optimisation and evaluation/comparison of multiple models), and versioning repository for models and preprocessing modules

  • Schema design and data model to support microservices architecture and lightweight, non-intrusive partner integration

  • Data ingest framework from our GCP DataStore model to JanusGraph

  • Automated document reader, with open source passport AI library and python multi-processing

  • Code re-use evangelist – moving boiler plate logging, data access and processing code to standard modules and Docker containers

  • Combining BQ and GA into KPI’s, management info, and engagement analytic dashboards in Looker (previously GCP Data Studio)

  • Automated updates of our catalogue of international degree courses

  • Custom Full-text search indices for end users, pattern matching and partner integration

In the R&D and PoC pipelines:

  • Automated, completely customisable, operational targets and KPI’s based on customer engagement and digital journey data for a multi-tenanted application.

  • Short text cleansing; a process for cleaning up snippets and captions from externally sourced text using (n-grams and word-embeddings, best regex discovery using grammatical evolution)

  • LDA Similarity and/or graph-based search engine enhancement (currently using ElasticSearch full-text indexing capabilities)

  • Web-page and document content classification and tagging

  • Social graph to track faculty and research contributions, determining which universities have prestige and social capital in a particular discipline

Research to PhD
(awarded Aug 2021)

Birmingham City University

Sep 2017-April 2021


Full-time research to PhD in XAI (eXplainable Artificial Intelligence), a branch Machine Learning concerned with interpretable models and explanations of black box algorithms for fair and transparent automated decision making, and actionable insights.

Here I gained very deep knowledge of a variety of explainable and black box ML models. My communication skills levelled up, as I delivered several seminars and lectures expounding my research to various audiences, and published three peer-reviewed articles in prestigious academic journals:

Furthermore, I developed research skills, such as reviewing complex academic literature to identify essential information such as gaps and opportunities, along with the ability to design and execute experiments to address them. Furthermore, I demonstrated intrinsic motivation, tenacity and complete autonomy as the final year of the research phase, the viva preparation, and corrections were conducted in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, when access to my supervisory team and research peers became extremely limited. 

As a member of the Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence research group within the Faculty of Computing at Birmingham City University, I had broad and deep exposure to the research specialisms of my peers and supervisory team, including stream analytics, extreme pruning and lightweight models for IoT, and population-based search and optimisation.

My supervisory team, Prof. Mohamed Medhat Gaber, and Dr. Atif Azad were recruited by Birmingham City University shortly before my student tenure, to meet the universities strategic objectives of becoming a prestigious centre for AI research in the UK. Consequently, I benefitted extensively from their mentoring.

Visiting Lecturer
in Business Intelligence

Birmingham City University

Nov 2018-Dec 2019


Responsible for re-design and delivery of the practice based learning activities for modules of the MSc in Enterprise Systems Management and BSc Business Information Systems. I covered topics related to enterprise scale Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing, foundational statistics, and data visualisation.


A critical success metric was combining student academic success with the university's employability objectives for students. I achieved this by bringing course content up to date with the latest technologies and developments:


  • Updating the course materials from SAP Business Warehouse 7.3 to SAP BW on HANA (7.4)

  • Communicating the benefits of column-oriented data storage

  • Demonstrating the value to the enterprise of self-service BI tools such as SAP Lumira and Tableau

  • Providing students with an introduction to predictive analytics and forecasting

  • Presenting an overview of project management of BI systems implementation

  • Sharing the skills needed to communicate data-driven insights to non-technical users

I also designed and delivered "Visualising Categorical Data," a statistics seminar / workshop with hands-on R exercises based on the book of the same name by Michael Friendly et al.

This work helped to subsidise my income during my PhD research.


inspire  on demand Ltd

Sep 2017-Oct 2018


I set up a limited company to work on a small number of projects with select clients, to subsidise my income during my PhD research.

inspire  on demand Ltd is an independent consultancy in strategic data intelligence and analytics. "Helping your business succeed through by integrating data mining and machine learning into your business model."

Deliverables included building data wrangling pipelines in Alteryx, training/evaluating predictive models in AWSML, and creating BI dashboards in Tableau for a client in London.

MSc Business Intelligence

Birmingham City University

Sep 2016-Aug 2017


I chose Birmingham City University for my Master's Degree in Business Intelligence because it was the only Business Intelligence course that combined the major topic with modules in key areas of interest to me:


  • Technology entrepreneurship

  • Advanced applied statistics

  • Data mining/machine learning


I scored 97% for my Master's dissertation "A novel, association rules-based algorithm for imputing missing data in Likert scales", which involved a complex student survey data set and demonstrated my keen interest in advanced data analysis.

Aside from the academic studies, I also gained exposure to Oracle, SAS and Qlik technologies.

Data Analytics Consultant


May 2016-Aug 2017


I worked freelance on limited projects with select clients, to subsidise my income during my Master's degree.

  • Developing machine learning models to predict various student milestones, allowing the client organisation in Singapore to develop an intervention strategy for potentially failing students.

  • Designing and delivering training to two newly recruited/promoted programme directors on Agile delivery of Project/Programme/Portfolio Management, and value/benefit realisation for a client in Sydney, Australia


Feb 2016-May 2016


Working on a pro-bono (unpaid, volunteer) basis, I helped B-Change to clarify and focus the strategy and positioning for their mobile app. I designed and facilitated a two personalised, creative brainstorming and innovation sessions in Singapore and Sydney.

Business Analyst

Kaplan Singapore

Jan 2015-Apr 2016


Kaplan Singapore wanted to create a new Business Analysis function, to act as a bridge between the business and its IT department in order to improve project outcomes.


It was a significant responsibility to make a success of the new business function because it demonstrated the company's commitment to raising standards through business process improvement, quality assurance and monitoring. Raising standards in this way is a hygiene factor in Singapore's highly regulated private education sector and failure to meeting these objectives can lead to fines and loss of accreditation.


I was able to bring my experience to bear to lay the foundations for this new business function and to set the standard for future expectations. I defined and delivered projects that brought value to the business, driving operational excellence through the development of business insights and proposing business process improvements. The role became an integral part of the business's modus operandi when conducting new business and digital transformation projects.


  • Develop the new BA function and communicate the ongoing value-add to the senior management team and the compliance department

  • Design and document new processes and grow the function's reach over multiple departments

  • Analyse processes and re-engineer them to meet business objectives (ex: improve student experience and optimise resource utilisation)

  • Lead and project manage process/system change initiatives

  • Identify performance trends, conduct sales / financial / operational data analysis, interpret results and develop business insights

  • Build and work with matrix and cross functional teams across the company

  • Stakeholder engagement and communication strategy

Interim IT Director

Kaplan Singapore

May 2014-Jun 2014


Note, this was a short secondment sandwiched into my tenure as Programme Director at KIC.


Following a resignation by the incumbent IT Director in our Singapore division, I stood in  until the selected permanent replacement was able to commence his new tenure. I took responsibility for continuity of a number of business critical and transformative projects. and liaised regularly with the executive board.


In a short time, I was able to introduce the existing team to the Agile/Kanban framework to improve visibility and transparency of the IT development processes. I facilitated, coached and mentored the existing team, providing full support for their HR needs (e.g. review training and development plans, succession plans, retention and risks etc).

Programme Director

Kaplan International Colleges (KIC)

May 2013-Dec 2014


Responsible for the defining and delivering a coherent portfolio of projects and programmes aligned with the strategic objectives of KapIan International Colleges, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Graham Holding Company (formerly The Washington Post Company).

This role really honed my leadership and interpersonal skills, business analysis and strategic thinking. I was able to demystify IT and technology, helping the SMT to more clearly understand how various projects and programmes could help to meet their  strategic objectives. I led a number of projects and initiatives to deliver new capabilities and improve business processes.

I also introduced the SMT to a variety of techniques for planning and executing strategic change (Scrum and Kanban, Balanced Scorecard, Portfolio & Programme Management, Innovation Games, Sketching at Work, Systems Thinking, Design Thinking, Business Model Canvas).

Director of Web and Software Development

Kaplan International (KI)

Sep 2012-Apr 2013


Responsible for the $2M software development budget of KI, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Washington Post. Growing the software development department and working  with the whole team to improve the overall SDLC management.

Application Development Manager

Kaplan International Colleges (KIC)

Aug 2010-Aug 2012


Greatest achievement: with our CIO and Enterprise Solutions Development Manager, we transformed the way we ran projects for both web and s/w development and IT infrastructure, and revolutionised numerous non-tech areas of our business by promoting and evangelising Scrum and related industry best practices throughout the organisation.

IT Manager

Kaplan International Colleges (KIC)



Greatest achievement: With our CIO and Enterprise Solutions Development Manager, I played a pivotal role in rescuing a very troubled corporate web-site development project (>£250,000 value) through a combination of Agile/Scrum adoption, rapid assimilation of new skills (principles of QA & testing, management and leadership, project management principles and software) and sheer dogged determination.

IT Manager

Kaplan Aspect



Greatest achievement: Implemented a Sarbanes-Oxley compliance framework and supporting processes, following acquisition by a NYSE listed company. Raised the Enterprise IT infrastructure and operations from zero compliance to the consistently top performing division, in a single audit window (3 months).

IT Manager

Aspect Education



Greatest achievement: After the sudden, unexpected departure of CTO, I rapidly assimilated the knowledge to maintain and develop a range of bespoke business software applications that he had built with Microsoft SQL Server and VB clients. My efforts saved the business from requiring a very costly rescue consultant as I took on the responsibility for delivering new functionality as the business needed to adapt to changing market conditions.


This period was pivotal for me because I discovered a real passion for data and database technology which became a common thread and motivation for all my future endeavours.

Assistant IT Director

Aspect International Language Academies (ILA)



Greatest achievement: Installed and supported a bespoke ERP system into 5 international sales offices across Europe.

Thin Server Support Engineer

Axis Communications



 .(no relevant information)

Server Technologies Engineer

Sema Group



 .(no relevant information)

Library Information Systems Administrator

Regent's College



 .(no relevant information)

BSc (Hons)

University of Leeds



Upper Second Class Honours Degree

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