From Sales to an Analytics Consultant: Hari Ram

I am an engineering graduate who got into support services early on. While working for a US-based start-up offering big data products, I was intrigued and deeply fascinated by what data analysis could do for businesses. That’s when I decided that I have to know everything that goes behind the scenes and being in sales won’t allow me to do that. I also understood that there are even more opportunities than what is being talked about. My engineering background helped me with technical skills and Great Learning’s PGP-BABI program with my budget. Honestly, I had shortlisted two courses – one was PGP-BABI and another one. But when I read a couple of success stories about sales professionals like me who got into analytics with the help of this course and Great Lakes’ alumni network, I was convinced that this is the course for me.

I took up the Great Lakes’ Business Analytics program because I wanted to transition to analytics as a sales profile can get mundane. I was sure that this isn’t the career path for me in the long run. I wanted to learn technical skills. I knew that I could get back to a sales profile in some capacity again after working in analytics, but I needed to upskill immediately.

pgp business analytics (pgp-babi) great learning

I managed to learn languages even though I had no experience working in a technical role. I feel that analytical approach is an inborn quality that really did help in working with or understanding the tools that were taught. There were a lot of statistical jargons I didn’t understand in the beginning, and I, kind of struggled with the first two residencies. But the in-house faculty of Great Lakes is excellent. The comprehensive curriculum is the next best thing as it has the correct proportion of industrial case studies and theoretical concepts. I started working on R, and though it was difficult for me to manage time, I never compromised on allotting time to practice or learning concepts from scratch.

My current company is well versed in Information Management and Business Intelligence – the natural extension to which is Data Analytics. By the time I was about to finish off my course, I had approached one of the VPs for a transition into Analytics, and they asked me to appear for an interview. After a lot of questions about statistics and a real-business problem which happened to be one of our client’s requirements, I made my transition as an analytics consultant.

My capstone project was based on web analytics. I chose a project in online customer behavior because this is one thing that captures my interest and has a lot of structured data which I thought would be convenient for me to work with. When I told the interviewer about my capstone project, he gave me a problem statement related to that. Then, as they say, the rest is history. I built him a basic road map in no time, and my interviewer was quite convinced. Now I work for the big data analytics center of excellence.

In my seven months as an analytics consultant, I have had to invest a lot of time just understanding the data and dig deeper to reach the problem at a granular level. A lot of techniques taught in the class allowed me to find solutions for my projects at work. I still revisit lectures by Dr. PKV and Dr. Bharadwaj, only to realize that they have already covered a problem and the technique to solve it that I can use for real-time data.

I typically work at the center of excellence. Predominantly, I have been working on R and for the visualization part, Tableau, etc. But there are other tools also that we are exploring like Knime and Weka.

My Advice to Candidates Aspiring a Transition is to invest a lot of time in learning. Dedication is very important. You cannot just use the brand name of Great Lakes to get into a role. That is not going to happen. I have spoken to a lot of people, head-hunters, and recruiters on LinkedIn who received my resume but never called back. That’s when I understood how professionals are screened for just one role in analytics. Quality and competence are all that matter.

pgp business analytics (pgp-babi) great learning