Your essential weekly guide to Data Science and Analytics – September Part I

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Data Science and Analytics are being applied across industries, varying in their scope and magnitude based on the purpose of the application. Even as we witness these technologies solving bigger problems, there are still some challenges faced while building these solutions. We explore some of those challenges in this week’s digest.  

SEBI Bets on Data Analytics, New Generation Tech to Address Market Challenges

Continuing its efforts to bolster supervision and identify non-compliance, regulator Sebi plans to deploy data analytics and new generation technologies to deal with various challenges in the market. Technology solutions are being built to achieve the objective of identifying non-compliance and assisting in investigations.

Figleaves Deploys AVORA Augmented Analytics for Granular Insights and Reporting

AVORA provides an end-to-end augmented analytics platform, utilising Machine Learning with smart altering to deliver easy to use, in-depth data analysis. By eliminating the limitations of existing analytics, reducing data preparation and discovery time by 50-80%, and accelerating time to insight to just a matter of seconds rather than days, AVORA creates game-changing organizational intelligence.

New Tools of Data Science Used to Capture Single Molecules in Action

Single-molecule fluorescence techniques have revolutionized our understanding of the dynamics of many critical molecular processes, but signals are inherently noisy and experiments require long acquisition times. This work leverages new tools from data science in order to make every photon detected count and refine our picture of molecular motion.

Challenges in Analytics Sector: The Industry Perspective

Analytics industry has witnessed significant growth over the years but is still prone to a lot of challenges in terms of talent, reaching the right consumers, cumulating data points, among others. 3 Key Challenges That Analytics Industry Still Faces Today are: 

Translating data to business impact | Multiple sources of data | Data quality

To read more about Data Science, Analytics, and their career prospects, check this space. Upskill in Data Science domain with Great Learning’s PG program in Data Science and Engineering.

Keep Calm and Let the Business Analyst Handle it

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A Day in the Life of a Business Analyst

Business Analytics has emerged as a much sought after skill set. Professionals with business analytics expertise can work in different analytical profiles in companies to help them grow – but what exactly do they do? This article breaks down the essentials of a BA profile by looking into a typical day in the life of a business analyst. 

Equipped with strong analytical skills and a sound knowledge of the market, business analysts take care of a range of tasks to help companies meet their business goals. While collecting and interpreting data is core to a business analytics profile, stakeholder communication, meeting management and report collating are equally important. Aspiring business analytics professionals can refer to this detailed account of a day in an analyst’s life to understand the requirements and set their expectations. 

For a business analyst, a typical day starts by pinning up tasks on a storyboard to plan and prioritise them. As with most other roles, business analysts also have team meetings to discuss pain-points, pending tasks, obstacles and priorities. After having the tasks planned out, the workflow looks somewhat like this:

Prioritization & Business Context: Analysts typically like to plan their day and week meticulously in advance. Iteration planning meetings (IPM) are an excellent way to interact with the whole team and stay updated on all the ongoing projects. This iterative method ensures that objectives and plans are clearly explained. IPM also helps the team to understand the business context of any particular project and prioritize accordingly.  

Investigate Goals and Issues: An important part of an analysts job is to identify the problem. Research, interviews, analytical observations are few of the ways in which analysts investigate the situation to recognise the issues. Analysts look at past data, and try to make projections based on inferences.

Analysing Information:  It is after collecting data points concerning the issue at hand, that analysts finally get down to the analysing part. Data sets are thoroughly examined for recurring patterns and anomalies. Analytic reports are then shared internally for teams to understand the problem areas. These reports break down series of data sets into comprehensible explanations so that they are easily interpreted by the leadership team to help them arrive at business decisions unanimously.

Documenting Information: It is important to record all the analytical findings since they can act as future reference points. Analysts spend a considerable part of their day collecting and documenting all the analytical results, inferences and new developments. Considering documentation techniques are specific for each report, analysts also spend time looking into different documentation methods to choose the best option for any given report. 

Backlog Grooming:  This is an ongoing task for analysts- analysing and distributing the backlog. Resource optimization is crucial for any business and analysts aid that by efficient backlog management. Analysts go through the task lists and plan resource allocation according to priority.

Meetings and Communication: A major part of an analyst’s day is spent in active communication- internally with the team or externally with stakeholders. Business communication is not limited to just speaking, but it also means non-verbal communication in the form of emails and presentations to make sure that information is properly relayed, agreed to and acted upon.

Client Interaction: Client feedback is an integral part of any business plan. The best way to ensure that you are proceeding in the right direct and your business goals are met is by getting direct feedback from the clients. Feedback sessions can be used to evaluate the progress of the projects and analyse its success. Incorporating feedback in the project proceedings will lead to more satisfactory results and improve project success rates.

Business analysts act as a bridge between problems and solutions, trying to understand the former and planing the latter. However, a business analyst needs to work closely with the development teams, operations teams and the service teams to make any business project successful. A typical day in a business analyst’s life involves different kinds of tasks like extensive communication, reporting and documentation. While knowledge of analytical tools is an absolute necessity for an analyst, interpersonal communication skills coupled with strong business acumen is also required to deliver results.

Developing industry-relevant skills through Experiential Learning

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At Great Learning, we believe in imparting a holistic education experience through exposure to real-world problems, and a mentor-driven approach to solving them. We strive to provide a great learning experience to build capabilities that are driven by an efficient mix of theoretical sessions and practical ‘learn by doing’ approach. 

As a testimony to our philosophy of education, the ‘Cricket World Cup Challenge’, and ‘Hack of All Trades’ are an integral part of our learning journey, organized for Great Learners across programs. Here’s how these initiatives help our learners achieve career success:

The Cricket World-Cup Challenge

Overview:

The Great Learners were required to form a team of 2 with someone who is not a Great Learning program participant. The teams had to predict outcomes of each match, based on which they were assigned scores. Finally, using machine learning models, they had to predict the finals and submit a report on the same. 

Here’s a snapshot of the event in numbers:

Engagement statistics for the Cricket World Cup Challenge

 

Based on the match outcome predictions, a leader board was posted on Social Media each Monday.

Cricket World Cup Challenge Experiential Learning

Special sessions were conducted with Mr Gaurav Sundaraman, Data Scientist at ESPNCricinfo, on Cricket Analytics

After 50 days of altering leaderboard dynamics, we finally got our winners:

Cricket World Cup Challenge Experiential Learning

Here’s what the participants had to say about this initiative:

– Thanks for the innovative exercise. It created a lot of interest in the games as well as finding stats to predict the winner.

– It was a thrilling competition.

– Congratulations on the event being a success, and thanks for organizing.

– I would like to see more such competition based on some social impact data. That would help us understand our social environment. Thanks.

– All the instructions and scoring system were very transparent. Keep rocking team very good job. Looking forward to more such initiatives.

– This gave us a lot of learning and exposure.

 

Hack of all Trades 

The initiative was run exclusively for the online batches of the Business Analytics and Business Intelligence PG program, for both Indian and International participants. It was a 3-day online Hackathon where the participants had to predict the annual turnover of the restaurants across India based on the restaurant details, aggregated rating from social media, and customer survey data.

A state of the art Hackathon platform was devised with integrated leaderboard, customized view for each user with login credentials, FAQs and rewards on the same page.

hack of all trades experiential learning

 

There were 4 different rewards to raise the fun quotient of the experience

Hack of all Trades - Experiential Learning

Here’s what the participants had to say about this initiative:

– Thank you for the opportunity to showcase our talent to the world!

– Thrilling!

– It was a fantastic event and will look forward to more.

– Good initiative to check one’s skillset.

– Good practical experience.

 

Hack of all trades experiential learning* Social Media Mentions

 

When we talk about active engagement and learning through digging solutions to practical real-life challenges, this is just the tip of an ice-berg. At Great Learning, we put immense thought and effort in pushing such initiatives across programs and derive meaningful learning outcomes through them.

Such projects and hackathons have been the core of the teaching methodology at Great Learning and will continue to be so. The purpose is to nurture students to become job-ready professionals who are capable of acing interviews in their respective domains and areas of interest. These methods are replicated across courses to give a similar experience to students and professionals enrolling for any given program.

 

 

What are the best Data Science and Business Analytics Courses for working professionals in India?

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The term analytics and data science have garnered a lofty prominence in the past decade mostly used interchangeably. As it stands strong today, business analytics is finding applications across functions ranging from marketing, customer relationship management, financial management, supply chain management, pricing and sales, and human resource management among others. It has also made a place for itself across industries, spanning its wings even to the most traditional ones such as Manufacturing and Pharma. 

A bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 2-3 years of work experience is mandatory to enrol for almost all business analytics or data science programs out there. It holds a great career scope for graduates in the field of engineering, business management, marketing, computer science and information technology, finance, economics, and statistics among others. 

All things said and done, there are certain challenges that professionals might face while looking out for the perfect business analytics or data science course to steer their career on the growth path:

– Lack of time and issues with balancing work and course schedules

– Financial Barriers

– Inflexibility in the course structure

– Obsolete curriculum or irrelevant modules

– Inaccessibility to the course

An institution or a course that focuses on combating these challenges and provide a comfortable, valuable, and manageable learning experience is the ideal course for professionals. At Great Learning, we strive to focus on these issues and design courses to suit the needs and resources of the aspirants.

Here is a comparative study of various Data Science and Business analytics program with Great Learning’s PG program in Business Analytics and Business Intelligence:

What are the best Data Science and Business Analytics Courses for working professionals in India?

Great Learning has been changing the lives of professionals across domains for over 5 years now. Having imparted more than 5 million hours of learning, we have touched professionals in 17 different countries, and are working towards reaching more geographies to transform careers of professionals across the globe. 

The post-graduate program in Business Analytics and Business Intelligence was the first program to be launched by Great Learning in the year 2014. Since then, there have been more than 50 batches with 5000+ professionals enrolled and successfully completed the course. The program has been ranked #1 Analytics program in India for 4 years in a row by Analytics India Magazine and has involved 300+ Industry Experts and 25+ India’s Best Data Science Faculty to impart quality skills and practical learning. Having propelled more than 2,500 career transitions, the success of the program can also be gauged by the fact that 90% of our alumni refer the course to other professionals. 

Best business analytics and business intelligence course for professionals

Our alumni have been placed with some of the top Analytics firms and reputed MNCs such as IBM, Accenture, HSBC, KPMG, LatentView, Myntra, Rakuten, RBS, Shell, Tiger Analytics, UST Global, and many more, with an average salary hike of 48%. This alone speaks a lot about the value and industry relevance of the program. Know more about Great Learning’s PG program in Business Analytics and Business Intelligence here. 

Here are a few testimonials by our PGP BABI Alumni. Read-Along:

GL puts a lot of effort to make the curriculum up to date matching world-standards Sowmya Vivek, Independent Consultant – Data Science, ML, NLP

The best part of GL is its experienced faculty – Sriram Ramanathan, Associate Director for Data Products at Scientific Games

The best takeaway is the approach with which I now perceive business problems – Pratik Anjay, Data Scientist at Walmart

The course aided my old desire to pursue finance as a career – Sahil Mattoo, Data Scientist, DXC Technologies

The guidance from the GL faculty is an important driver of my success – Priyadarshini, Analyst at LatentView

 

Book a call with us at +91 84480 92400 and our learning consultants will guide you through the program details and the specific queries that you might have.

10 Most Common Business Analyst Interview Questions

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Preparing for a Business Analyst Job Interview? Here are a few tips and the most useful and common business analyst interview questions that you might face. 

Before attending an interview for a business analyst position, one should be through about their previous experience in the projects handled and results achieved. The types of questions asked generally revolve around situational and behavioural acumen. The interviewer would judge both knowledge and listening skills from the answers one presents. 

The most common business analyst interview questions are:

 

1. How do you categorize a requirement to be a good requirement?

A good requirement is the one that clears the SMART criteria, i.e., 

Specific – A perfect description of the requirement, specific enough to be easily understandable

Measurable – The requirement’s success is measurable using a set of parameters

Attainable – Resources are present to achieve requirement success

Relevant – States the results that are realistic and achievable

Timely – The requirement should be revealed in time 

business analyst interview questions

 

2. List out the documents used by a Business Analyst in a project?

The various documents used by a Business Analyst are:

a. FSD – Functional Specification Document

b. Technical Specification Document

c. Business Requirement Document 

d. Use Case Diagram

e. Requirement Traceability Matrix, etc.

 

3. What is the difference between BRD and SRS?

SRS (Software Requirements Specifications) – is an exhaustive description of a system that needs to be developed and describes the software – user interactions. While a BRD (Business Requirements Document) is a formal agreement for a product between the organization and the client. 

The difference between the two are:

business analyst interview questions

 

4. Name and briefly explain the various diagrams used by a Business Analyst.

Activity Diagram – It is a flow diagram representing the transition from one activity to another. Here activity is referred to the specific operation of the system.

Data Flow Diagram – It is a graphical representation of the data flowing in and out of the system. The diagram depicts how data is shared between organizations

Use Case Diagram – Also known as Behavioural diagram, the use case diagram depicts the set of actions performed by the system with one or more actors (users).

Class Diagram – This diagram depicts the structure of the system by highlighting classes, objects, methods, operations, attributes, etc. It is the building block for detailed modelling used for programming the software.

Entity Relationship Diagram – It is a data modelling technique and a graphical representation of the entities and their relationships. 

Sequence Diagram – It describes the interaction between the objects. 

Collaboration Diagram – It represents the communication flow between objects by displaying the message flow among them.

 

5. Name different actors in a use case diagram?

Broadly, there are two types of actors in a use-case:

a. Primary Actors – Start the process

b. Secondary Actors – assist the primary actor

They can further be categorized as:

i. Human

ii. System

iii. Hardware

iv. Timer

 

6. Describe ‘INVEST’.

The full form of INVEST is Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimable, Sized Appropriately, Testable. With this process, the technical teams and project managers to deliver quality products or services.

 

7. What is Pareto Analysis

Also known as the 80/20 rule, Pareto Analysis is an effective decision-making technique for quality control. As per this analysis, it is inferred that 80% effects in a system are a result of 20% causes, hence the name 80/20 rule.

 

8. Describe the Gap Analysis.

It is utilized to analyze gaps between the existing system and its functionalities against the targeted system. The gap is inferred to the number of changes and tasks that need to be brought in to attain the targeted system. It compares performance between the present and the targeted functionalities.

 

9. Name different types of gaps that could be encountered while Gap Analysis

There are mainly four types of gaps:

a. Performance Gap – Gap between expected and actual performance

b. Product/ Market Gap – Gap between budgeted and actual sales numbers

c. Profit Gap – Variance between targeted and actual profit

d. Manpower Gap – Gap between required and actual strength and quality of the workforce in the organization

 

10. What are the various techniques used in requirement prioritization?

Requirement prioritization, as the name suggests, is a process of assigning priorities to the requirements based on business urgency in different schedules, phases, and cost among others.

The techniques for requirement prioritization are:

a. Requirements Ranking Method

b. Kano Analysis

c. 100 Dollar Method

d. MoSCoW Technique

e. Five Whys

 

Stay tuned to this page for more such information on interview questions and career assistance. If you are not confident enough yet and want to prepare more to grab your dream job as a Business Analyst, upskill with Great Learning’s PG program in Business Analytics and Business Intelligence, and learn all about Business Analytics along with great career support.

Top 5 Examples of How Supply Chain is Using Analytics to Solve Its Problems

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Supply Chain is a tricky business. One missing entity or a lack of synchronisation can break the entire chain and mean losses in millions for a company. However, the use of analytics in this domain is resolving several pain points in supply chain management at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels. The analytics reports help businesses to scale up through performance monitoring and enhancement. According to Capgemini Analytics, “Supply Chain Analytics brings data-driven intelligence to your business, reducing the overall cost to serve and improving service levels.” For supply chain professionals, it can only mean one thing – to upskill to be able to use advanced analytics to improve operational efficiency and make data-driven decisions. Here are 5 supply chain analytics case studies about the use of analytics in the supply chain that will motivate professionals in this domain to upskill:

  1. Identify the most efficient shipping carriers through advanced analytics – One of the issues that a Fortune 100 CPG company faced was assessing each carrier and choosing the right carrier for shipment across the globe. Since there were various metrics available, the challenge was ranking carrier performance and choosing the right one for shipping. Understanding the carrier selection framework, the solution by Fractal Analysis followed a step-wise approach by identifying correlated attributes, ranking of carriers, and assessing alternate carriers via what-if analysis. Read the complete case study here.pgp business analytics (pgp-babi) great learning
  2. Pierian Digital delivered interface, forecasting, and visibility solution to oil & gas major – A Global EPC Service Provider was facing issues without a common user interface across applications to provide end-to-end visibility, visibility of global supply chain and logistics processes, and forecasting for cost and schedule. Pierian Digital’s solution provided Proactive Supply Chain Performance Management Analytics insights positively impacting the top and bottom-line business growth specifically through improvements across the whole supply chain. Read the full details here.
  3. Gartner Analyzes Market for Supply Chain Management Solution – A Fortune 500 company knew its innovative solution for supply chain management had huge potential, however, management needed the validation of the market, the competitive landscape, and opportunities to secure funding. A Gartner engagement answered all their questions by conducting a full product assessment, sizing the market, and analysing competitive alternatives. Once they were able to use these supply chain advanced analytics report, they could market their solution successfully. Read more.
  4. Improved forecasting and inventory planning for a large retailer – Mu Sigma helped one of UK’s leading fashion retailer to build a customised demand forecasting and inventory planning solution for its online channel involving apparel and home furnishing products. They developed an analytical process to forecast demand and estimate launch quantities for new products during seasonal sales leading to an increase in product availability by 8%. Read the case study here.
  5. Use predictive modelling to control critical process parameters – A Fortune 100 fertiliser manufacturing company produces fertilisers that must meet quality criteria for key natural elements like potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus to be within a defined range of specification. The results of thorough data understanding and brainstorming determined that for water soluble fertilizers, in 98.4% of instances the prediction accuracy was greater than 95%. For other nutrient products, in 99.9% of instances, the prediction accuracy was greater than 95%. The client saw multi-million-dollar savings through these tools in fine-tuning the manufacturing process. Read fractal analytics’ 4-step approach to know the full solution.

Click here to explore a career in Business Analytics.

Sources: Mu-Sigma, Fractal Analysis, NASSCOM, Gartner.

pgp business analytics (pgp-babi) great learning

 

The only resolution you should be making in 2017

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Every New Year brings with it the hope of a new beginning in our lives and along with it, come the myriad of resolutions we make to ourselves. Research indicates that most of the resolutions made by people are towards fitness and weight loss. As a result, January becomes a windfall month for most gymnasiums and fitness studios while most of us don’t become any leaner or fitter with passing years the one thing that we can definitely achieve is being a better version of ourselves. To achieve that you don’t have to make tall promises to yourself just Make Learning a Habit.

Learning new things is simple, achievable and one of the most profitable investments you can make each year.

 

1. Learning is like weight-loss

train

Let me make an uncanny analogy here: Aspiring to becoming leaner is very similar to wanting to learn something new. Ultimately, you have to change something that’s core in your behaviour to have the desired results. Both these goals need focus, determination and lots of discipline. And lastly, just as in weight loss as in education, there are no low-hanging fruits or express results. Both take time to fructify, but once you go the distance, there is no looking back.

 

2. Why ‘Learning’ in 2017?

Why we need to learn in 2017

The right question here should be ‘Why Not’. There has never been a better time to learn and frankly speaking, with the changing dynamics of businesses and technology disruption impacting us, if we don’t make learning a habit in 2017 and onwards, our professional credentials would be questionable at best and irrelevant at worst. Learning new skills and upgrading one’s professional capabilities is no longer a matter of choice but a necessity to have a fruitful career. In today’s time and age, the half-life of knowledgehalf-life of knowledge is forever decreasing which means that one needs to keep learning always to stay professionally relevant. The new reality is that what you learn at 25, will not take you till 35.

 

3. What should I learn?

What should you learn

This is like standing by an ocean and trying to find the perfect starting point for your swim. What you can learn is limited only by your intellectual bandwidth and interest. For the sake of brevity, let us focus on what the professional in you needs to learn. Depending upon the industry you are in or aspire to be in, you need to understand the trends that are driving growth. If you are unclear about it, you should talk to your seniors from the industry and pick their brains. Pick an area that is affecting most companies in your space and eventually will impact everyone and build your skill sets in that. Professional competencies such as analytics, big data engineering, product management, information security, intellectual property, digital marketing etc. are high growth areas where most companies are struggling for ‘good’ talent. Finding a sweet spot like this and making yourself competent in it will ensure your career benefits from this talent shortage.

 

4. Where should I learn?

e-learning

Learning in 2017 will be easier than ever before. From blogs to YouTube or TED, from companies offering online learning to mobile apps, ‘lack of access’ cannot be your excuse to not learning. But having said that, having a plethora of options makes it overwhelming and confusing.

I come across some candidates who know what the skills they need to acquire but are not sure if they will be able to learn. I usually advise them to first test the waters by accessing some free content online. YouTube is usually a good source for this. See if you like what you are learning and are able to grasp it.

 

5. Why do we fail to learn online?

why we fail to learn

If you are the kind that does not suffer from such starting troubles, you will usually find your learning options to be either completely online courses or blended courses (online + occasional weekend classroom sessions). Given this spread, how do you decide which format to go for?

Completely online courses provide convenience since you don’t need to attend any classroom sessions. But, online learning has been plagued by abysmally low rates of completion. The main reason for this is that for most of us, we learn better when we learn in a classroom setting with peers and faculty, who we can talk to in person.

The flexibility of attending class room sessions over few weekends in a month gives you the advantage of mixing the best of two worlds – the flexibility of online learning and the learning effectiveness of classroom learning. In our blended analytics program, we have seen hundreds of candidates do our program after having done one or multiple online courses. When asked, the most common response we get is because they feel that their learning in the online programs was incomplete. Also, when it comes to acquiring hard skills such as analytics, big data or machine learning, it is important to focus on programs that are more exhaustive and immersive and don’t take a superficial approach by promising to teach something in a matter of some hours.

 

6. What will it take?

learning in 2017

Learning is for everyone. Amongst the thousands of candidates who take our programs every year, we see about 30% of them to be with in the 15-30 year experience bracket. While there is no age to imbibe the habit of learning, just like with all good habits, the sooner you do it, the better you are. Having said that, learning is hard work. Depending upon when was the last time you were in a class, you would need discipline, focus and perseverance to go the whole distance. Usually, we have seen that the first two months are the hardest but once you settle into a routine within the first sixty days, you will go one to achieve the results you desire. The advice that we give to all our learners is to start small. Begin by dedicating an hour every day for the first 2 weeks, then about 8-10 hours a week for the next thirty days. Small changes in your habit will ultimately lead to big gains in your learning and professional success.

On that note, in 2017, make a promise to yourself. To learn something new and to challenge your professional status quo. Make Learning a habit and build the career you’ve always wanted. Oh and as for fitness, try playing a sport – 5 days a week. It is fun and just as effective (or ineffective) 🙂

Meet Balaji SR, winner of Capgemini Tech Challenge 2016 in Data Science

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The team InbuiltMinds comprising Saran Kumar Pantangi, Aditya Sethia, Diptangshu Chakrabarty, Vamsikrishna Patchava and Balaji SR took away the winner’s award at the recently concluded Capgemini Tech Challenge 3.0. The third edition of the technology contest by Capgemini was held at Capgemini Knowledge Park in Airoli, Mumbai. The team won the Tech Challenge Title for the penultimate challenge called the ‘Digital Shopper’.

AIM interacted with one of the participants, Balaji SR who happens to be an alumnus of Great Learning’s first PGP-BABI batch in Chennai. Based out of Hyderabad, he first came to know about the Tech Challenge through Google Ads.

Commenting on his participation he said that “Capgemini Tech Challenge was open to both IT professionals and Students all over the country aging between18 to 35. It received a good response from over 74000 participants. Each Challenge has three levels with level three as final challenge. Contest was held on various themes like Coding, Pega, Hybris, Adobe, Block Chain, Data Science and Data Integration.”

“The first two levels were held online and the third level was a two-day live Hackathon at Capgemini Knowledge Park, Mumbai. There was also a team based digital challenge. I had competed in Data science theme. I am the winner in Individual Data Science Category and part of the team which had won digital challenge”, he exhilarates.

Receiving a humongous response, there were over five lakh page visits and 4.8 million views on the Tech Challenge microsite. However, only sixty participants from across the country attended the finals in Mumbai.

The penultimate tech challenge titled the `Digital Shopper’ comprised of a team event where eight different teams brainstormed and used their technology expertise to create solutions to real-life consumer challenges. It required participants to create a solution to a complex problem, which would allow a shopper to research multiple categories of the same product, compare price indexes, and identify a cost-effective product, all of it through a unified solution. Balaji used the tool R to go about the challenge.

A data professional with an experience in data warehousing and business intelligence, Balaji saw this opportunity as a platform to benchmark himself against best the Data Science professionals in the Country. He confessed “Great Lakes PGP-BABI was my gateway to Data Science. I have an exposure right from Data extraction to predictive Analytics, thanks to the Great Lakes’ program”. He further added “I need not prepare much for the competition as I had already gone through the grind when I did my PGP-BABI program at Great Lakes.”

On a concluding remark Balaji said that his major takeaway from the competition is satisfaction and confidence of being one of the best Data Scientists of the country someday.

One should have strong fundamentals- is his advice to other aspirants. “Data Science is not about running some tools on the data. It is about filling the gap from Data to Decisions. In addition to technical capability one should be good in business understanding. I am good in technology and was lucky to pick up good business understanding from Great Lakes PGP-BABI program”, he said.

The jury comprised key members from Capgemini India leadership. Winners and runners up in every theme received cash prizes of up to Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 respectively.


 

This exclusive story was published in Analytics India Magazine.

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Adoption of technology in online education

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This article explores a series of interconnected developments that has led to the adoption of technology in higher education, which in turn is generating more interest towards online education.

I. Current Forces at Play

Success of new business models and fast paced innovation has created the need for upskilling/reskilling

The world’s largest taxi company (Uber) owns no cars and the largest retailer (Alibaba) owns no inventory. Airbnb is now competing with top of the line hotels that have been in business for decades. Traditional business models across industries are being disrupted so swiftly that incumbents are forced to innovate and develop work force capabilities or become irrelevant.

As a result of the furious pace of innovation and automation, getting equipped for new jobs requiring new skills sets is imperative in order to increase employability and a chance to succeed. In order to transition into these new roles, professionals are now required to become life-long learners and continuously upskill themselves.

Greater flexibility and feasibility

While the demand for a highly trained work force with new skill sets in business analytics, product management, digital marketing (just to name a few) has ballooned, the supply has not been able to keep pace. Traditional institutes of higher education have been largely unable to cater to these vast numbers of executives who require these “new economy” skill sets due to bureaucratic slowness in updating their curricula and resource constraints – availability of faculties who have expertise in these new areas.

Moreover, full-time courses are not an option for a majority of working professionals as they are unable to take time off work due to financial and personal reasons. Part-time courses have location constraints and like the majority of distance education courses are generally poor in quality. These forces have driven learners who need to acquire new skill sets to consider online and blended mode options.

Availability of Industry relevant content of high quality

Online and blended mode courses promise to provide access to the best content from the best faculty without location constraints. Various developments in technology and the widespread adoption of it in higher education has enabled this giant leap.

Availability of easy to use content recording infrastructure, inexpensive online platforms for hosting and distributing courses and large numbers of users who are accustomed to consuming services online led to plenty of online courses that have millions of users taking these courses from all around the world.

Recorded lectures with the option to attend live virtual classes (webinars) have made it very convenient for professionals to access almost anything they want to learn. Students can not only consume content online but also submit assignments and quizzes, interact with peers and faculty and receive feedback, all online. In addition, many online courses are self-paced, allowing motivated learners unparalleled flexibility in choosing what they want to learn when they need it.

II. Addressing limitations within the current context

Lack of motivation due to the lack of an engaging experience

While short online courses are useful for certifications, longer duration courses that result in deep learning and meaningful career transitions are very difficult to complete for the average person. Just as joining a gym doesn’t guarantee losing weight, enrolling in an online course does not guarantee sufficient learning that can result in a successful outcome.

In online education, it is difficult to get consistent academic and non-academic support; meaningful feedback is not always available and peer pressure is non-existent. As a result, while the content may be of good quality, it is not very engaging and learners loose motivation over a period of time leading to low completion rates. In addition to low completion rates, due to lack of meaningful peer and industry interaction, real career outcomes happen only for a select few learners.

New innovations that lead to higher completion rates and great career outcomes

In addition to the innovations around content creation and dissemination, various other technology innovations have been adopted in online education that are now addressing the limitations and making it possible for learners to have high completion rates and have good career outcomes. To illustrate a few initiatives:

  • Personalization – As most interactions happen online, it is now possible to track all the learning activities a student performs and give meaningful and personalized feedback. This puts students’ needs at the centre of the learning process and they are empowered to take decisions on specific areas of improvement. Based on their performance, the learning experience can be personalized and interventions were undertaken to prevent students from falling behind. This addresses the problem of providing support and feedback and keeps learners engaged.
  • Gamification – By incentivizing good learner behaviour, good habits are formed early on, which in turn sustains motivation throughout the duration of the course. In addition, students can also see how their peers are progressing and the effort they are putting, which invokes competitive dynamics and simulates peer pressure. This further motivates students to progress along the course
  • Mentored Learning – Adopting advancements in communication technology, it is possible now to connect students with relevant mentors based on interests who can assist in providing key insights and support the learning process. This further enables a richer learning experience.
  • Learning Analytics – Technology also enables data-driven insights on the student experience. This enables the quick resolution of student concerns and faster turn-around time. Furthermore, by employing predictive analytics techniques, it is even possible to identify students who may have trouble coping and provide additional resources and support.

Due to the adoption of technology in higher education, it is now possible for working executives to have good learning outcomes and successful career transitions without having to enrol in a traditional full-time course. At Great Learning, we have been an early adopter of these technology advances in our online and blended mode programs and have seen our enrollments grow 20 times in a span of 2 years, to become one of the largest providers of online and blended executive education in India. Along with the growth in enrollments, by leveraging technology and designing timely interventions, we have also been able to maintain completion rates north of 90% without reducing the quality of our offerings. As a result, over 66% of our students have had a successful career transition within 6 months of completing the program.

Great Learning offers blended mode and online programs for working professionals in partnership with Great Lakes Institute of Management. Its offerings include Business Analytics (PGBABI), Management (PGPM-Ex) with competencies in Product Management, Digital Marketing and Operations among others, Financial & Risk Analytics (CFRA). These offerings are targeted towards working professionals who are looking to develop new skill sets and transition into in-demand lucrative careers. Over the last 3 years, Great Learning has delivered over 450,000 learning hours and has established its presence in Gurgaon, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad.