Exceptional Promise profile ( Sr. ML Engineer) - Could I ask for some feedback?

Hi all!
I was wondering if I could ask for some feedback on my application?

I am an Sr. Machine learning engineer who has been working technical on products for startups through consulting and is now going into Sr. ML Engineer role at a music tech company. They are remote but have some people in the UK. I am trying to highlight the fact I have been working with startups for 10 yrs since starting my studies, as I know tech nation might be a bit more sceptical of the consulting aspects.

Category: Exceptional promise, technical.

  • Graduated 3,5 yrs ago and was active in the startup ecosystem while studying.

Personal Statement:

  • How I got into innovation first, then machine learning at the MSc.
  • Used to live in the UK for 5 yrs during University, before living in Norway now for 3,5 yrs.
  • My experience in machine learning, Developed 6 machine learning systems the past three years in finance, marketing, retail, robotics, public infrastructure, industrial production and digital platforms.
  • Planned occupation in the UK (ML Engineer for non listed tech company)
  • Will contribute to UK economy by:
    • Bring experience in developing cutting edge cloud and edge systems for machine learning
    • Being a UK based AI engineers and training UK based engineers (reference to UK AI strategy that says they need a lot of us)
    • share insights from the tech company machine learning at conferences
    • Helping startups outside of day to day work
    • Build tech network between the UK and Norway
    • Attend public lectures and meetup, contribute with experiences accross different industries to the ecosystem
    • Participate in hackathons
    • Contribute to creative music technology
    • Make uk industry sector benefit from the tech company´s AI technolology. They are working on AI as a service
    • paying tax
  • Plan to start own company in the future


  • I have worked for 10 startups, either directly as intern during my studies or as consultant.
  • Worked as a Machine learning consultant for 3,5 years, working with two digital product startup clients about a year each the past two years (LOR 1 & 2)
  • Worked on (shorter) projects for 2 other digital product oriented startups during this time
  • AI & data product development at consulting firm
  • Research internanalytics platform startup during MSc, startup now valued at 500m USD.
  • Education:
    • MSc Management information systems with Artificial intelligence, London School of Economics
    • MA(Hons) Business with enterprise and Innovation, Edinburgh- Four years,includes quantiative subjects.
    • Bachelor of musicology, Oslo. - Three years (partly paralell). Music technology and mathematics.
  • Technical skills; Programming languages, frameworks, ML etc.
  • Conference contributions
  • Guest lectures on machine learning innovation at Norwegian technical university and business schools.
  • Volunteering

Letters of Recommendation:

  1. CTO of Robotics startup. CTO of the startup I have been developing a computer vision deep learning system for the past year + through the consulting firm I work for. I have worked hands-on with their robot, being responsible for their entire data and edge ML stack, and had the title of their “acting CDO”. The CTO is the inventor of the robot, which is the worlds first bimodal robot for railways. They have won both innovation and research grants, and have a patent on the concept. CTO also has a MSc cybernetics.

  2. CTO of Proptech Analytics Platform. He has previously been Tech lead for a media platform and digital product manager for a Telco, leading international product launches. I Built their recommendation algorithm, machine learning team and platform as a long term project for the consultancy. CV attached.

  3. AI Partner or Head of AI products at Consulting firm. My employer for the past 3,5 years. Can speak to ML engineering, AI & Data Product development.

Mandatory Criteria:

  • All three letters
  • Spoken at two major AI conferences in Norway, opened by national govt ministers.
    • Programmes for both
  • “Command high salary”
    • Competitive salary at tech company, contract / letter of intent
    • Salary growth at consulting firm, contract + personal financial statements

Optional Criteria 1 “Senior executive working at a product led-digital technology comapny or Employee working on a new digital field or concept” :

  • Recommendation letter 1:
    • The robot we have been building with the robotics company is a new digital concept. I have built their entire computer vision machine learning system with Tensorflow, Azure & Nvidia technologies.
  • Technical_evidence_for_robotics.pdf
    • Image of robot, and results of the machine learning algorithm; predictions on images + model training
    • A collection of images documenting the work mentioned in the letter, including workshop at microsoft, conference presentation and programme, images from the garage (yes, its an actual garage startup) and out in the tracks.
    • Technical architecture of ML system, github history of me building system for a year

Optional Criteria 2 “recognised for my work
outside of my immediate occupation that contributed to the advancement of the sector”:

  • Programme of first AI conference where I presented my MSc research findings based on work with the analytics platform startup. Conference opened by Norwegian minister of digitalisation
  • Programme of second AI conference, where we presented the robotics startup and deep learning computer vision model & system. Conference opened by Norwegian prime minister.

Optional criteria C3: “made a significant technical,
commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field as a founder, senior executive, board member or employee of a product-led digital technology company”

  • Reference letter 1 Worked on the core product of both startups.
    • Key engineer on machine learning in the robotics startup, Acting Chief Data Officer in technical dialoge with partners including microsoft & NVIDIA
  • Reference letter 2:
    • Machine learning lead, developed recommendation algorithm central to their product and led team of 8 data scientists & engineers, buidling their machine learning platform in the process.
  • Technical_evidence_for_robotics.pdf shows I worked on key parts of the robotics system
  • Proptech_machine_learning.pdf:
    • Shows model results and explainable predictions, for area examples. Was run for all of the country
    • machine learning architecture I designed and built for the startup
    • Shows speedup in the model training running time by 24x by implementing the platform
  • Reference letter 3: Significant contributions as AI & data product developer, and founding member of the Norwegian part of the consultancy´s product development team. Worked for 12 months building up the case to start with product development as intrapreneur before contributing in product development the past 5 months.


  1. Technical_evidence_for_robotics.pdf
  • Described OC2
  1. Proptech_machine_learning.pdf:

    • Described OC3
  2. Documentation_of_ML_engineer_position.pdf

  • letter from tech company detailing that I will be working on their recommendation algorithm
  1. Startup/tech work.pdf:
  • Three letters of recommendations documenting previous work in startup/ tech.
    • Startup CCO, London, technical advice outside regular role, 2021-2023. Supports personal statement claim that I contribute to startups outside of regular employment
    • HR, Bloomberg London,analytics internship , 2019
    • Startup CEO from internship, entrepreneurship internship singapore , 2015
  1. Academic_transcripts.pdf
  • Transcripts from degrees mentioned above.
  1. Conferenece_evidence.pdf
  • Programme for first AI conference in Norway (2019)
  • Programme for second AI conference in Norway (2022)
  • PRogramme for conference contribution at the London School of Economics. (2019)
  1. evidence_of_independent_tech_development.pdf
  • Github screenshot from deep learning sequence modelling project
  • Github screenshot of open repos
  • Hardware prototype screenshot from university project
  1. Evidence_of_tech_certificates
  • Certificate of NIVIDA Edge Deep learning course
  • Ceritifcate of Advanced computer vision course, Deeplearning.ai
  1. Evidence_of_salary.pdf
  • Salary from starting position
  • Financial statement showing salary growth
  • Current salary at tech


  • Confirmations of guest lectures in Machine learning at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology,
  • Confirmations of guest lectures in Machine learning Norwegian School of Economics and BI Norwegian Business school
  • Image from hackathon presentation for mobility innovation


  • Should I chose the AI Partner or Head of AI Products in the machine learning Consultancy i work for in my Recommendation letter?
    • I have worked more closely with the AI partner, who can also be called AI product partner. he has built the AI service of the firm, but only worked in consulting. He is the most experienced.
    • The Head of AI products could speak to many of the same things, thought not all. He has been working as a technical founder in an optimization startup before joining the consultancy.
  • Do the letter on OC1 specifically need to say “new digital concept” or does it satisfy that they have received innovation and research grants from the government, and holds a (numbered) patent in 18 countries?
  • I have been made Lead ML engineer in our consulting practice of 70 engineers in 3 yrs, which can speak to my ability but tech nation seems to not want to focus on consulting. Do you think the promotions are too much of an “consulting” impression, so should I rather focus on the product roles I have had concurrently?

The letters in your mandatory criteria should be in addition to the required letters of recommendation.
You should also be careful of using evidence for consulting work as I’ve seen people rejected on that basis. The guideline states:
Please note that ‘leading industry experts’ excludes roles listed as unsuitable in the Typical Applicants section of the guidance (for example, managers at Outsourcing or Consultancy firms etc.)

The examples you use for Innovation should demonstrate the aspect of the work you did that was innovative. It doesn’t have to use the exact phrase “new digital concept”. Please see my post on Innovation

1 Like

Thank you @May, This is very helpful!

On innovation I do document that the robotics application of computer vision that I built was not specifically researched or industrialised, and that I conducted both applied research, development and operationalisation of the technology.

Does it say that the letters for the mandatory criteria needs to be separate? Does it say it cannot be, or just imply writing “letters of recommendation” and “letters of reference”? I thought the point of the 3 letters was to demonstrate "How the author considers the applicant shows exceptional talent or promise; ", which is the same as the mandatory criteria?

@Vanessa_Viana This is the outline of my application :slight_smile:

Something to note from the guideline which you should carefully consider in arranging your evidence:

Note that the use of letters of reference alone to show how you meet any of the criteria is not sufficient, additional evidence should be provided.

Indeed, the only place I’ve seen in the guideline where my earlier statement was clearly stated was OC4:

A letter of support from a research supervisor or other expert in your area of expertise affirming their potential world-class standard. This is in addition to the required letters of recommendation and must be written by another individual;

Notwithstanding, I’ve seen a few candidates use one LoR in their MC but have never seen all 3 LORS used in MC. What’s the rationale of having all the letters in your MC when you’ve already provided them as part of the compulsory LoR to speak of your achievements?

Good point regarding evidence, I am also assembling proof of the actual technology including tangible documentation such as code submissions, technical diagrams etc!

I figured using them all to back up MC might make it stronger, but I have decided to also get letters from the AI conference organisers mentioned in MC to strengthen that. One is also research director at an AI research institute, so can back up the innovativeness of our solution in OC1.

1 Like

The discussion in this rejection seems to accept consulting as OC1 with “deeply innovative work”, since it is backed up by contribution and supporting references. This seems hopeful, as long as I provide sufficient proof that my contributions are indeed innovative.

@OmoOlogo How did you structure your proof of technical innovation evidence for this? Did you do anything specific to make sure they understood your work was product led even if you did it as a consultant? :slight_smile:

@May Thank you for good advice above! I was wondering, which of reference for LOR do you think looks strongest?

  • AI Products Partner X & member of AI forum for Enterprise organisation advising the Minister of Digitalisation


  • Head of AI products at X, Co-founder and Board member of AI Startup, Co-founder and Board member at related AI Startup

I have worked more closely with the AI partner, who can also be
called AI product partner. He has built the AI service of the firm, but
only worked in consulting. He is the most experienced.

  • The Head of AI products could speak to many of the same things,
    thought not all. He has been working as a technical founder in a technical startup for 9 years before leading the product department.

@Francisca_Chiedu @Victrr @921kiyo any thoughts? :slight_smile:

1 Like

You could get 2 letters from both people, and use one of them as LOR, and another letter as one of the evidence documents. Since I don’t know your personal relationship with them, use the one that supports/suit your personal statement, so the overall application will look better.