Tell us about your background.
Born in a family of engineers and teachers, the curiosity and scientific gene in me compelled me to do an undergraduate degree in electronics engineering after my schooling. Post my engineering, I worked in the infrastructure side of telecom industry and quickly realized that I can make more of an impact on the business side of technology and hence decided to get an MBA. Further, I was hired by IGATE, an IT consulting giant, as an Operations Consultant where I had several responsibilities – better the performance of the sales team through facilitating better tools, run revenue analysis and predictions for quarterly business reviews, spearheading CRM integration strategy during Capgemini’s acquisition of IGATE and many more. During my 3 year tenure at IGATE/Capgemini, I saw the power of big data. There was an overwhelming amount of information hidden in that data and I found myself more intrigued by the possibilities of transforming a firm's 'qualitative' strategy to a more 'quantitative' or 'data-driven' strategy. Hence, I decided to leave a cushy job to pursue a Masters in Analytics at UNH.
What have you found valuable about the program thus far?
During my research for good programs focusing on Big Data Analytics, I found that the UNH is comprehensive and is only a year long. The program is rigorous with content covering almost 60 credits in a single year, however it is benefited by excellent professors who strive to ensure the class understands the foundation of the content. The program pulls relevant content from a pool of content, from tactical programming languages to strategy related visualization, thus building a comprehensive arsenal to tackle big data. The projects are realistic and practical, with work on real data from companies such as CA technologies, Lending Club, NFL and many more. Students are formed in groups and are offered to such firms as consultants to solve real-life data-related problems that the firms are facing, an experience that helps us understand operational challenges of working with real data in the marketplace. Further, the school has maintained a good working relationship with many firms, offering students the chance to do full-time 8 month projects in companies or industries of their choice - sports, IT, Healthcare, Marketing and many more. Industry speakers have been interesting, ranging from e-commerce giants like Walmart and financial stalwarts like Liberty Mutual to startups like 'Winning algorithm'. Further, the opportunity to attend big data conferences across the country has brought us all closer to the industry expectations and the latest technologies being used in Machine learning or Artificial intelligence in the industry.
Do you have any extracurricular activities you would like to tell us about?
I'm extremely passionate about travel, more-so in meticulous planning of the entire experience! My current target is to visit the new 7 wonders of the world on a budget, currently standing at 4. Further, I have a collection of over 200 magnets that I have traveled to. A personal goal in the long run is to understand the worldwide tourism industry well enough and improve the tourism situation back in India, maybe with the help of my big data skills. Hand-in-hand with travel comes a love for food and diving into the origins of dishes across the world. I'm also a star contributor to Zomato and Yelp, two of the popular restaurant review aggregators in the world.
What are your professional goals?
Since I worked in Sales Operations in the IT industry for over 3 years, I understand the nitty-gritty of the industry and strongly believe that data-driven sales strategies can greatly impact revenues and profits. Post my Masters in Analytics, I would like to return to sales operations and put my newly learned skills to the test. I wish to define data-driven strategies of the sales team, thus having a direct impact on the revenue of an organization. In the long run, I wish to leverage my skills in different fields such as the retail, e-commerce and the consumables industry, where the entire business is based on a foundation laid by big data. This will help me take risks that can make or break an entire business unit of an organization. Over these years, I wish to find niche areas in different industries that can make the most out of data-driven hypothesis.
To learn more, connect with Richa here.