PGDBA chronicles: The First semester!

Here comes our atta boy, our cheerful Madhur Modi to speak about our first semester at Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. He is a CS grad, tinted with the experience of working in Acrobat Team, Adobe, India for 11 months. Let’s hear what Madhur says! 

After a not-so long orientation and pre-semester at IIM C, it was time to move to ISI. All of us were already feeling the attachment we had built with each other and formed the spirit of ‘joka tribe’ within ourselves. We started our journey to learn and started packing… but we were not done with the pre-semester yet! 🙂 

Not before we can have a last photo-session! Even the journey to ISI was an insightful one! Filled with discussions of memories made within the short month.


Happy faces!

I remember us all at the peak of our enthusiasm when we visited ISI for the first time after the orientation, this time for around 6 months with knowledge imparted from renowned teachers. Since each of us had opted for the hostel facilities, the registration day was spent in lodging and document formalities. It all began with 5 subjects, 8 teachers and 51 students – daily two hour classes, twice daily where a moment of flickering attention meant you’ll lose the ability to grasp anything for the rest of the class. Yes! We had teachers who could teach us their subject continuously for two hours and every moment… each of them they made us wonder how amazing it is to learn in an enjoyable fashion. We all felt so comfortable moving from our 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional minds to nth dimensions and then move down using multidimensional scaling ☺ ☺ (was I too technical here? Come to ISI and you’ll know what I mean). I bet all our teachers from ISI would be laughing reading the joke here.

By the ways, if you’re writing about ISI, it won’t be a just article if you do not mention each teacher separately! Starting from our class teacher and DBMS teacher prof. Pinakpani Pal, it was him who would come to our rescue each time, whether it is to change the mess, requirement of any additional facilities, aid in any procedures or help regarding the subject. He would kindly reach out his hand and solve all our problems in a flick. DBMS was also taught by prof. Amiya and prof. Dilip who would take care of SQL teaching for us. Thanks to him, DBMS was one of the most comfortable subjects in ISI.

I still remember the fact that 44 teachers have bhattacharya awards in their name! We all used to marvel at the level of knowledge at ISI, rather, we felt grateful to our teachers for feeding such golden nuggets of information to us daily and Prof. Debasis is the teacher who’s teaching reminded us the reasons they won those awards. I always felt that he teaches one subject but I learned things anyone would consider is worth much more! From histograms, scatter plots, distributions and tests for distributions, he took us to bivariate and the multivariate analysis followed by more tests and feature selection. Moreover, he took extra classes and doubt sessions every week just to ensure that when we learn, we learn well

When you start talking about the teachers, each teacher is better than the other! We had Statistical Probabilistic Analysis taught by two teachers, Prof. Bimal and Prof. Kishan. It was the only subject with no assignments, since probability has such a wide scope. This class was all practical, we were given real life examples and applied concepts to solve them. There was yet another similar subject, inference, taught by Prof. Amitava which encompassed all other subjects and drew inference tests from each of them, filled with more real life examples.

We had one more course, or rather, set of course ☺ Computing in data science taught by Prof. Saurav Sengupta. I could proudly say to those non-cse students who fear how they would learn programming techniques- this is the course that will help you make your first transition. From practically negligible knowledge, this course taught us not just R and Python, but also made us do an entire team project to deep seat the lessons in our hearts. The best thing? We had fun! I would frequently visit the course website and our project blog and proudly say that we have come far, far from where we were when we entered ISI. P.S. do check out the blog of group 1 authored by our group. 🙂  

Didn’t I mention anything else besides studies? How forgetful of me! ISI is a place of happenings! Every other day there were announcements of workshops in various fields of statistics and there were a variety of activities which would now be sweet memories for us with ISI. We flew kites, we had birthday parties, we played games and we had our first formal photoshoot!


Looking smart!

ISI also had a very special memory… Diwali! What’s that? How did we celebrate it? I could boast that it was better than any student had celebrated while at college! Two of our batchmates, Mr. Avinash (a.k.a. Gandhi) and Mukul cleaned their room and turned it into the Pooja venue(see photos in link) We made diyas, did Pooja, sang bhakti songs, distributed Prasad and made rangoli! We burnt a few crackers and all our rooms illuminated with the auspiciousness on that day! It was one of the best Diwali celebrations of my life!



Soon after Durga puja, Diwali and Kali puja, we had our final exams and had to say “Bye Bye ISI” I am thankful that our first semester was conducted at ISI where we learnt such a great deal and progressed so far ahead in our skills. It already feels like we can do most of business analytics even though we have ways to go.
How could be go away without saying a delightful adios to our Indian Statistical institute? We requested all the teachers to come for a final photoshoot session. Besides one photo present in CDS website, another photo from the last day would mark a fitting ending to our memories and knowledge lending roller coaster ride at the pillar of statistical, mathematical and machine learning institute!


Adios! Indian Statistical Institute

This Article Has 5 Comments
  1. akshay Reply

    Nice to read your experience at ISI. I have one query : I have got 91.85 in Cat 2015 held in November 2015. I am eligible to apply? Thanks in advance

  2. Madhur Modi Reply

    There would be a separate application and test process for this year. Your Cat 2015 percentile won’t matter in this regard. I hope you have applied!


    I have applied for the test. Could you please tell me what to expect in interview from your experience as i have around 2 months to prepare for it.

    • Madhur Modi Reply

      At this point, do focus on the written test first. You should again be prepared with mathematics for the interview as well. Most of the other questions besides maths are similar to a typical IIM interview. You will need to prepare additional topics as well such as probability and differentiation. Based on your profile, some specific questions might be asked. Also, stay tuned for future posts on the blog where we may post further insights!

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