Welcome to the first post from the second batch of the PGDBA program.
About the author: B. Tech. in Production and Industrial Engineering from IIT Delhi – worked in Global Analytics (short-term loan provider in UK) for 5 years within collection analytics and risk analytics teams.
There have been a lot of posts around the vision and scope of the program so I am not going to touch upon that for now. Instead, I am going to share my first-hand experience of the events in the first week – the orientation week – and how they affected my perception.
Whenever we meet a stranger, we need an icebreaker to get things started. And that was the way the orientation week was designed. If there is one thing that repeatedly gets focussed on here at IIM-C, it is that you need to build your network. I had a fair deal of interactions with various groups. There were sessions with Deans, Program Founders, Professors, Seniors and last but not the least, multiple industry leaders. The sessions were designed to make the students more aware of the program, in terms of what the students should expect from it as well as what the professors and industries expected from its graduates. Not only did these sessions made me more informed, but I also learnt a few concepts in this week itself before the classes had even started!
Interaction with Professors: There were multiple types of interactions with professors. In one of them, Deans and Senior Professors of the three institutes talked about the genesis of the program and how the geography of the three institutes fitted in perfectly to start it. It was heart-warming to see how each of them would compliment each other’s institution when their own was one of the best in its field. In another session, professors of the Organisational Behaviour course conducted a class exercise – Lost@C. While I won’t go into what it was, it would suffice to say that it was not only fun, but it also made me think on how to work better as a team. A session on how to solve case studies was organised as well. It was a very interactive session and I was encouraged to think and ask questions. All said and done, that my next 2 years were in the hands of capable professors.
Interaction with Seniors: This was something each one of my batch was looking forward to. All of us had come from different backgrounds and we had questions – a significant number of them. The interaction started with introductions from both the batches. It then shifted to academic structure, the life at different campuses and the opportunities in the industry. There were a bunch of fundas from their end out of which I don’t remember much; but the key takeaway for me was that there is a huge demand in the industry for people having the right blend of technical skills and business acumen and this course perfectly bridges that gap. A large number of people have their eyes on how first few batches are performing and hence it will be up to us on how much we can push ourselves because the opportunity to gain knowledge in the three institutes is endless.
Interaction with Industries: Companies were indeed looking forward to interact which was evident in the first week itself. Among them were – LatentView, PWC, KPMG, Deloitte and few others. What was striking to see was that despite belonging to diverse backgrounds, all of them had same expectations – the graduates from this course will be able to solve crucial business problems using data which will be analysed through various machine learning processes. Each of the companies highlighted the need for data scientists in today’s world because of the amount of data being generated and how it can be filled with us if we have the right mindset. It was also heartening to know that machine learning was now being applied to almost every domain (even agriculture); one just has to have an inquisitive mind to ask the right questions. I clearly remember a quote from one of such sessions, “Size of data is not the thing, but what you do with it.”
Orientation day @ISI: As part of the orientation program, we also spent one day at ISI Kolkata and interacted with the professors there. At first look, ISI is an unassuming college (specially after going from IIM which has 7 lakes inside its campus!!). However, it is second to none when it comes to the faculty. One can easily find that each of the faculty is a gem by going through their profile and I cannot possible complete this article without mentioning Prof. Bimal Roy – A Padma Shri awardee, Master Cryptologist, Ex-Director at ISI – it can go on and on. He took a brief session and shared his personal experiences related to analytics. His way of telling stories really connected with me. He added a new dimension of problem solving techniques in my mind in that short session itself. . I already knew that ISI was going to play a unique role in this program because of its unparalleled specialisation in statistics and the one day spent there made me even more excited to start my studies.
Given that the program is in its development stage, I had made a conscious choice and took a leap of faith while deciding to join the course. I had belief in the system, but was still apprehensive about industry expectations, and how will the institutes coordinate among themselves. These interactions, in one way or another, not only helped in soothing down my nerves but also made me even more excited and motivated to do well and make this program a success. As Abraham Lincoln once said,
The best way to predict your future is to create it.