A sneak peak of Day 1 of the FINTECH Hackathon organized by National Payments Corporation of India at IIM Calcutta.
A sneak peak of Day 1 of the FINTECH Hackathon organized by National Payments Corporation of India at IIM Calcutta.
First of all Congratulations for getting shortlisted for the interview round of the PGDBA 2018-20. To help you out with the preparation, we have collated some of the interview experiences of the students from the current batch. The interviews were mostly based on the profile and background of individual candidates.
1. Name : Amit Borkar
2. Name : Vishakha Bansal
3. Name : Manoj Mana
4. Name : Tanmay Choudhary
5. Name : Palvika
6. Name : Tajendra Mehta
I was asked two questions on mathematics. One on Linear Algebra and the other on calculus.
7. Name : Shubhank Bhandarkar
8. Name : Yash Hansalia
9. Name : Deepanshi Seth
10. Name : V Adiseshu Naik
Please go through the official website for the program to answer your basic queries:
1) How do I apply for the PGDBA program?
The procedure to apply for admission to the PGDBA batch of 2018-2020 is available here: https://www.iimcal.ac.in/pgdba-application-form-instructions
The last day to submit the form is January 6, 2018. A written test will be held on February 18, 2018 and shortlisted candidates would be called for personal interviews around the month of April.
We strongly recommend you to go through the eligibility and selection criterion here before applying:
2) What are the topics that are expected to covered in the written test? How do I prepare for the test? Is the test of JEE/CAT/XAT level?
The syllabus for the written test is mentioned here: https://www.iimcal.ac.in/programs/pgdba/admissions/syllabus-for-pgdba-written-test-2018
We do not have an official set of study materials recommended for the test. However, you can look through the sample paper here: https://www.iimcal.ac.in/programs/pgdba/admissions/sample-questions-for-written-exam , to assess the difficulty level of the test. The actual paper would be fairly close to this set of questions. The set of topics and the sample paper together should help you prepare for the test. Further, they would help you assess the level of the test, in comparison to other tests.
3) What is the weightage given to the written test, interview, work experience and academic background in the final selection?
The institutes do not disclose the individual weightage given to the above parameters. However, each of them is given due consideration, so it would be prudent to focus on all of them.
4) What kind of questions can I expect in the interview?
The interview mostly revolves around your basic understanding of statistics, probability and a few other relevant mathematical concepts, your work experience and your motivation to join the program. There may also be questions on other aspects of your profile, some latest events and so on. Here are a few interview experiences of the students from 2016-2018 batch that should give you a fair idea of what to expect: https://pgdbablog.wordpress.com/2017/03/04/pgdba-2016-18-interview-experiences-part-1/
5) Is my profile good enough to make it to the program?
As long as you fulfill the basic eligibility criteria, your final selection comes down to your profile (including your academics and your work experience), your score in the written test and in the interview, and additionally, the pool of candidates applying with you, given the limited number of seats. Here are the profiles of a few students from the current batch:
6) What are the expected cut-offs for various categories (General, SC/ST, NC-OBC) for the written test?
The institutes do not disclose this information. However, you may know your score in the written test by dropping a mail to the admissions office, post the test.
7) Which of the three institutes awards the degree?
The final degree is awarded jointly by all three institutes: IIM Calcutta, IIT Kharagpur and ISI Kolkata.
“Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the web like deer on a freeway.” – Geoffrey Moore, Organizational Theorist & Author
Analytics: Need of the Hour
The amount of data in our world is exploding. As per a McKinsey report, big data may well become a new type of corporate asset that will cut across business units and function the same way as a powerful brand does, representing a key basis for competition. The increasing volume and detail of information captured by enterprises, the rise of multimedia, social media and the Internet of Things will fuel exponential growth in data in the foreseeable future.
The rapid pace with which data is being generated across various domains and fields would require people with deep analytical skills to provide insights, enabling companies to gain a competitive edge and offer a better consumer experience. The insights from the data are used for various purposes such as segmentation of customers for better targeting, prediction of churn rate, product recommendation, analysis of customer opinion from media posts, preventive maintenance, management of portfolio risk etc.
Untapped potential in India
In India, the analytics market is expected to double between 2013 and 2018, reaching a figure of US$ 2.3 billion by 2018, according to a report published by NASSCOM and Blueocean Market Intelligence. This will result in a shortage of about 200,000 data scientists in India over the next few years, according to sources in the Analytics Special Interest Group setup by NASSCOM. Hence, creation of trained industry-ready business analytics professionals is the need of the day.
Globally, the demand of data scientists is projected to exceed supply by more than 50% by 2018. To address the paucity of trained workforce in analytics domain, the onus is on the educational institutes to address the needs of the industry.
The three institutes IIM Calcutta, IIT Kharagpur and ISI Kolkata are aware of the demand for the well rounded analytics professionals. In order to understand the needs of the industry, a day long conclave was held in January 2015 in IIM Calcutta. Representatives of the leading companies such as KPMG, EXL, Deloitte, LatentView, TCS, Reliance Communication, Deutsche Bank, E&Y, SBI, IBM, Google, Microsoft, HSBC and Cognizant took part in the conclave and based on their inputs, ideas of a specialized course emerged, a course which would produce leaders of the future, skilled in the essential areas of business, statistics and computer science. Through this collaboration between industry and academia, PGDBA was born.
Introduction to PGDBA
PGDBA is a two year full time residential diploma programme aimed at creating business analytics professionals employable by leading Indian and foreign firms. This programme is designed for those who have an analytical mindset, are interested in tackling challenging business problems, and possess an inclination towards Mathematics. Some of the salient features of the programme include courses taught by reputed faculty members at the campuses of three globally renowned institutes, hands-on business analytics training at a related company, continuous interaction with industry leaders throughout the duration of the programme and the availability of placement opportunities at all the three institutes.
The three institutes complement each other to give students the most comprehensive learning of business analytics. The course finds the optimal balance between the theoretical concepts of data science and their applications to business problems. Students get to regularly interact with industry experts through invited talks and guest lectures, where experts talk about the latest trends and challenges in the industry. The course leverages the best of the three institutes in their respective fields of expertise, i.e., Statistics, Technology and Business.
In the first semester at ISI, students form a strong base of Mathematical and Statistical concepts. This is followed by a semester at IIT Kharagpur, where students work on data science projects and get to test their statistical concepts built at ISI. This semester is meant to build students’ technical expertise. To complement the first two semesters, students spend their third semester at IIM Calcutta where they are exposed to business problems through case studies and industry interactions. To cap it all, the students get to implement their knowledge in the industry through a six months long internship as their fourth semester.
The students from the first two batches of PGDBA experienced highly successful placement processes. Companies from various industries such as BFSI, Consulting, Healthcare, Research, Retail, Gaming, Technology etc. participated and handpicked candidates suitable for both data-driven and business driven analyst roles. The placement processes witnessed the involvement of Fortune 500 companies such as American Express, Walmart Labs, UnitedHealth Group, JPMC, Amazon, Walmart Labs. Some of the job profiles offered were Senior Data Scientist, Analytics Manager, Statistical Analyst, Lead Business Analyst, Solution Analyst, Experienced Associate, Assistant Project Manager.
With continuously increasing demand of business analytics professionals, the future of PGDBA looks promising. The unique opportunity of learning from three top-notch institutes of the country is unparalleled by any other Data Analytics course. Recently, PGDBA was ranked 1 by the Analytics India Magazine among the data science courses offered in the country.
Stay tuned for more updates
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Mayank – VNIT, Nagpur – 2016, Directi
“I graduated in Computer Science and Engineering from VNIT Nagpur. With 1 year of work experience in descriptive analytics using technologies such as SQL, Hadoop, OLAP Cubes, I wanted to transition to predictive modelling and stochastic processes to impact organizations providing actionable insights. With a brief introduction to business processes at IIM C in the pre-semester module so that the concepts learned at ISI can be applied to solve a real world problem, PGDBA has so far been a roller-coaster ride. In addition to the excellent course structure and the faculty, the ever-rising demand of analytics industry indicates the exciting times we are living in.”
Abhi – BITS Pilani, Goa – 2015, Media iQ Digital
“I graduated from BITS Pilani, Goa Campus in the year 2015 and then worked as a Display Advertising Campaign Analyst at Media iQ Digital for 22 months. While working in the company, I realized the potential of big data in solving business problems. All the industries are utilizing data analytics to improve their business processes and decisions. Data Analytics being an industry in its nascent stages, has tremendous potential of growth in coming years. The PGDBA course is well designed to train students on Statistics, Computing and Business acumen, which are the three pillars of any data-driven business problem. In my free time, I like to paint and play musical instruments. I have a diploma in painting and was coordinator at the Arts Club of my college.“
Preethi – Sri Venkatesawara College of Engineering, Chennai – 2014, ZoomRx
“I graduated from Sri Venkatesawara College of Engineering in 2014 and I have worked for three years in the analytics domain. I started as a trainee decision scientist at Mu Sigma, where I worked on database querying to pull out relevant data to address the business question at hand. As an associate consultant at ZoomRx, I specialized in healthcare analytics – used statistical techniques to gauge MD behavior and form prescriber segments, provided insights on sales rep performance to fortune 500 Pharma companies. I wanted to thoroughly understand and utilize the various techniques available to build models on data and provide valuable insights. As I have always wanted to build my skill set across the three domains – math, technology and business, I believe that this course, with the right blend provided by experts in respective domains, would help me further excel in my career path.”
Tajendra – IIT Kanpur-2015, Grail Research
“I completed my graduation in Material Science and Engineering from IIT Kanpur in 2015. Post that I worked at Grail Research, a market research and strategic consulting firm, as a Business Analyst for close to 2 years. I was a part of the squash team at IIT Kanpur. I enjoy playing badminton, watching football (die hard Man Utd fan) and I am a FIFA game enthusiast. During my time at Grail Research, I came across various business problems and the importance of data analysis in arriving at a solution for these. I joined this course with the thought process that it would enable me to build upon the knowledge acquired during my work-ex and add to it the required skill sets which I can utilise in answering data driven business problems and become a successful data analytics professional. The course experience till now has been really enriching, as we get to learn new things every day. Hoping to have an enlightening journey in the next two years as we learn to unlock the real meaning of data. “
Namit Agarwal – NIT Allahabad-2013, Centre for Development of Telematics
“I did my B. Tech in Electronics and Communication from NIT Allahabad, after which, I worked for 4 years as a Research Engineer in Centre for Development of Telematics. I was a part of Cricket and Dramatics teams in college as well as in my organisation. I was also a part of the Community Development Cell of my college. I like travelling, reading books and watching movies and TV series.
Throughout my childhood, I have been passionate about Cricket. I also have a keen interest in electronic gadgets and Mathematics. Through PGDBA, I want to blend together both these interests. My short term goal is to get into a sports network and long term is to head one.
The best part about PGDBA is its course structure. It’s perfect for an engineer and it just fits the skill set and interests of an engineer. Interest in technology and mathematics is a major factor that drives most people into engineering and one needs exposure to business knowledge post that for their career growth. PGDBA provides the perfect blend of all these aspects.
The transition from a government job to this super hectic course has been both fascinating and exhausting. The position of CR has added an extra exciting element to it. I expect to draw the maximum amount of learning that I can from the 3 best institutes with best faculty and one of the best peer groups of this country.”
With the PGDBA course three years young now, another batch of 53 students has embarked on an adventurous journey from the IIM Calcutta Campus in June 2017. A month of introduction to the business side of the course at IIM Calcutta and two months of statistical learning at Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata have already given an idea of how enlightening but at the same time challenging and rigorous the course is going to be.
The batch is an amalgamation of students from various backgrounds and industries like Analytics, IT, Oil and Gas, Electronics, etc with an average work experience of 25 months. Let us present to you, a glimpse of the personal journey of a few of our batch-mates till now:
“I am a chemical engineering graduate from IIT Bombay (2016 Batch). I have 10 months of work experience as Business Analyst at Deloitte Consulting. My first project at Deloitte included some data analytics and coding. I enjoyed the project and wanted to do similar but more challenging projects. I started looking for programs in data analytics and got to know about PGDBA. I looked at the course list and decided to appear for the exam.
After completing the program, I expect to have a solid foundation of statistical knowledge along with expertise in coding, and understanding of business problems to be solved.
So far, the course has offered more than what I thought. The professors are very good at IIMC and ISI (I expect the same from IIT KGP). In my free time, I play football. I represented IIT Bombay in Inter IIT Sports Meet 2014.”
“I graduated from Jadavpur University Electronics & Telecommunications and worked as a BPM programmer in BFS domain in CTS for 3 years. After that I completed my MBA from IIM Lucknow in 2016 and joined the IT industry again as a senior business consultant. At this time, I realized that the IT industry is undergoing significant transformation and data analytics is soon going to create competitive advantage for the employee as well as the company’s services to its clients. In fact, in the age of automation it is a wise move to try to get into new roles in data science and big data for those who have inclination towards mathematical stuff or coding even after MBA.
But, since this field is highly technical and also immensely competitive, a generic MBA alone cannot help making this switch unless one has significant relevant experience or a strong mathematical background. This course ensures that people are equipped with both technical and business problem skills in one go due to its unique tri-institute structure and can directly join the higher managerial levels in this lucrative sunshine field of data analytics/data-science without first going for entry level roles to get experience and moving up the ladder slowly.
From my classroom experiences so far, I would say it is neither too specialized nor too generalized and is made exactly to fit with industry requirements.”
“I graduated in Electrical & Electronics Engineering from VNIT Nagpur, batch of 2011-15. I have nearly 2 years of work experience as a Consultant at Fractal Analytics. Here, I have mostly worked on Retail Analytics for Global Market (majorly in APAC region) providing Insights on Brand Performance and analyzing Key Business Drivers using Linear Regression Model. Apart from this I have also created & automated some of the reports/dashboards with help of data harmonization and visualization tools such as R, Spotfire, KNIME & MS Excel (VBA included).
These projects were mainly focused on the end results with some set standards but I wanted to know the statistics behind it and learn more advanced techniques. PGDBA’s Curriculum provided a perfect solution to this which motivated me to join this course.
My experience till now about the course is way better than my expectation mainly due to well-planned curriculum and the interaction between the peers and professors which any online tutorial cannot provide.”
“I am Palvika and I graduated from NIT Jalandhar in 2014. Post that I worked as an instrumentation engineer in oil & gas sector in Samsung Heavy Industries India. The projects that I worked on mostly included technical ones but post that, I came across oil and gas analytics and started exploring it. Analytics is an immensely growing, dynamic and challenging field, so, I wanted to make a career switch into this field. That’s when I came to know about PGDBA and I decided to appear for the exam.
Till now, I have had a glimpse of business problems and how they can be solved through statistical tools and techniques. After this course, I expect to have an expertise in statistical knowledge that will help solve business problems along with sticking to basics of these areas.”
“I have completed my B.Tech (Civil Engineering) from Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Technological University. During my graduation, I was a part of NCC, camping and trekking are some of my interests. PGDBA is a unique course and knowing about the increasing importance of Analytics the course offered me great opportunities and this was my reason for joining the Program without any prior work experience in the analytics field. The course will help me to have in-depth knowledge of various data analytics techniques which is going to be helpful while working in the Analytics sector. The course till now has been amazing and I learned a lot of great stuff related to statistics, data computing, management and hope to learn more amazing stuff in the upcoming months.”
We will soon update you with another article giving you details about a few more students and other information about the course.
This is in continuation with our previous blog post, adding some more interview experiences from the batch of 2016-18.
Adhikari Vushesh Babu – Dual Degree ( B. Tech. + M. Tech.) in Information Technology, ABV IIITM Gwalior, 2016
Duration: 40 mins
SUGGESTIONS – Just brush up your knowledge on probability, Statistics and your engineering mathematics. Have a look at sorting and search algorithms. Also be prepared to answer why a career in Analytics.
Shubhodeep Dey – B.Tech, Chemical Engineering, NITK, Surathkal, 2013; 33 months of experience in Petrochemicals, Reliance Industries Limited
Duration: 20 mins
I had done a lot of projects during my job so they started with what is the most innovative thing you have done. As soon as I started with my answer, they started asking me random questions on the assembly line (petrochemical industries don’t have anything related to assembly lines). I was able to answer some of them. Then they drew a curve on the sheet and asked me what is the covariance between the data points. I had a good idea about this concept so I could deliver. They moved on to probability and wanted me to visualise a binomial distribution for the number of defectives being produced by a lathe machine given a probability of finding a defective. I could satisfy them by writing down the equations. Some more probability questions followed on coin tosses. My interview ended with a concluding question – what are the major oil producing economies which are not a part of OPEC?
All in all, it went fairly good, I got stuck on few of their questions but they were kind enough to guide me. You don’t have to know everything, what they are looking for is the approach to the problem. Confidence and clarity of thoughts are key factors. The written exam had a heavy contribution in the final selection.
Parag Bhandarkar – B. Tech. in Electronics Engineering, VJTI Mumbai, 2014; 23 months of experience as a Software engineer, Diebold
Duration: 20 mins
SUGGESTIONS-I think admission committee looked for a balanced profile. It was also written on the website that they will look for Academic, test score and interview performance. As my academic performance was very good, despite “only-good” performance in test and interview, overall weight got balanced.
Prem Krishn – B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering, IIT BHU, 2011; 54 months of experience in Tata Steel (Manufacturing industry)
Duration: 25 mins
Anshuman Roy – B.Tech. in Electronics and Communications, Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, 2011; 4 years of experience in TCS (IT industry)
Duration: 15 mins
SUGGESTIONS – I guess they are judging your willingness and enthusiasm for this program. How much you can think to get to the answer. Sometimes they also look for your thought process instead of the right answer.
Swapnika Vajrapu – B. Tech. in Chemical Engineering, IIT Kharagpur, 2014; 2 years of experience in Analytics in Banking sector, Crosslink Analytics
Duration: 25 mins
Shrey Manish – B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering, NIT Allahabad, 2015; 1 year of experience in finance (trading), Futures First
Duration: 40-50 mins
Sakshi Agarwal – B.Tech + M.Tech. in Biochemical Engineering & Biotechnology, IIT Delhi, 2014; 2 years of work experience in Analytics (CPG sector), Fractal Analytics
Duration: 20 mins
The interview started with a brief introduction about myself.
Questions on work experience:
Questions on Statistics and Maths:
In my opinion, they were mainly concerned about the confidence and clarity in the mathematical concepts and the reasoning ability of the candidate.
Mukul Sonker – B.Tech. In Electrical engineering, IIT(ISM) Dhanbad, 2016
Duration: 20-25 mins
There were 3 questions from statistics:
What is CDF? At a given point what will be the pdf? Can you derive standard deviation?
They asked most of the questions from maths after knowing my interest in mathematics. The questions are (not necessarily in order):
1. What is the differentiation of X!?
2. One question from definite integral.
3. Differentiate log X by first derivative method.
4. Integration of log X ( I was also questioned for a particular method to find the solution).
5. Sketch the curve of log X+1 with steps.
Few questions on current affairs: Currencies of different countries . About maps. US elections?
They asked a few HR questions as well – why we should not select you? Why I am not going for a job? My final year project.
Gunja Agarwal – B. Tech. in Computer Science, Jaypee university, 2015
Duration: 35 mins
Feedback: In my case, I think my higher secondary school marks in mathematics and graduation marks help me to grab some brownie points. Also, I was able to crack the puzzle confidently that they asked in the beginning.
Kaustubh Daware – B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering, COEP, 2015; 11 months of experience in FCA (Automobile industry)
Duration: 20 mins
FEEDBACK: According to me, a fair idea on probability and calculus would suffice in cracking the interview.
Harsh Kumar – B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering, IIT Delhi, 2016
Duration: 15 mins
Sidharth Kumar – B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering, NIT Patna, 2015; 2 months of work experience in Accenture (IT Industry)
Duration: 10 -12 mins
Ranjit Kumar Malloji – B.Tech. in Computer Science, VNR VJIET Hyderabad, 2015; 1 year of work experience in CA Technologies (IT industry)
Duration: 25 mins
Sumit Kalaskar – B.E. in Computer Science, Pune University; Freelancer
Duration: 35-40 mins
Wishing you all the best for the final round! 🙂
This is a compilation of the interview experiences of the PGDBA 2016-18 students along with their profile, so as to help the aspirants in their preparation for the entrance.
There was a panel of 3 interviewers – one from each institute.
Himanshu Goyal –B.Tech. in Production and Industrial Engineering, 2011, IIT Delhi; 5 years of experience in BFSI, Global Analytics
Duration: 20-25 mins
Questions that were asked:
Experience and Review:
Waqar Sarguroh – B. Tech. in Chemical Engineering, IIT Roorkee, 2014; 25 months of work experience in Oil and Gas (Refinery) and EdTech Startup
Duration: 20 mins
SUGGESTIONS-The main focus was on the ability to think through a problem. Building on ideas and communicating your thought process appropriately.
Anushree Parsai – B.E. in Electronics and Communication, BITS Hyderabad, 2014; 2 years of work experience at ARM
Duration: 30-40 mins
Naveen Mittal – B.Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering, KNIT Sultanpur, 2016
Duration: 20-25 mins
SUGGESTIONS-Be confident. Even if you do not know some of the answers don’t think that you can bluff with them. Say politely that you cannot recollect or remember the answer. I was able to answer Computer Science and Engineering related questions which happen to be my discipline during B.Tech. and maintain a positive attitude and confidence throughout the interview.
Khushiram Sharma – B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering, IIT(BHU) Varanasi, 2013; 36 months of experience in BPCL as Retail Engineer and Asst. Mgr., Operations.
Duration: 25 mins
They asked me to briefly explain my profile of work. As I have been to many places during this time and the last one being Gorakhpur (UP), they picked a question from there. They asked me to give five cultural differences between UP & Rajasthan(I am from Ajmer) and also explain how they are different. They stopped me when I had explained four of them convincingly.
They asked one question on maths which is as follows : We have identified four places in Rajasthan to be made headquarters of education for state. Out of these we have to finally select only three based on the distances need to be travelled by people in future. All other conditions will remain same for all places. Given this before jumping for any solution, I discussed about further assumptions like population density, shape can be assumed as per my drawing, people will travel to their nearest headquarter (as per straight line distance). Finally they said, all other conditions will remain same for all places. After trying for 2 minutes, they made little bit easier i.e. I have three locations and have to select two of them. Now I drew perpendicular bisectors of this triangle and then explained the solution.
They asked me whether I know coding, and I said” primarily no except that I studied C language 6 years ago.” Then they asked to write a code for printing my name(string) in reverse order, which I did.
I think your approach to the given problem will be a crucial factor in cracking the interview.
Himanshu Jain – B.E. in Electronics and Communications Engineering, NSIT Delhi, 2013; 11 months of experience in IT Advisory (Analytics) Consultancy, KPMG; 24 months of experience in Samsung Data Systems (IT industry)
Duration: 15-20 mins.
P1: starts the interview asking me about my college history and Delhi Current political scenario, what I think about Arvind Kejriwal and what has changed in Delhi since AAP came to power & then asked about some Co-curricular activities.
P2(IIT professor of around 40+ age) asked about my work experience as I was working in analytics field
Me: I explained about my current client project and what different domains I was working on over the years.
P3(one having knowledge of Statistics & maths; must be from ISI):
Q1. Given a graph with a normal distribution of mean 30 marks. Also, 20% students have more than 45 marks. So how much % of students have marks ranging from 15 to 45?
Q2. Asked to draw a circle and how to find the centre of a circle.
I asked some questions in the end about what I can study before joining this course which would help me during PGDBA if I got selected. P2 smiled and replied just chill and enjoy.
Yogesh Dewangan- B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering, NIT Raipur, 2013; Fresher
Duration: 25 mins
There were 3 interviewers sitting, 2 males 1 female.
Interviewer (I): So Yogesh, tell me something about yourself.
Me: Described a little about my background, education, then hobbies and lastly archery (I wanted them to ask on this only ).
I: Oh, so you are an archer. Tell us about your achievements in archery. Do you have any certificates related to archery?
Me: (showed all national and state championship certificates)
I(handed over the file to another interviewer): You can have a good career in archery, then why do you want to do this course? Do you plan to continue it in future?
Me: Of course sir, I am very passionate about archery. Our state does not have good facilities and environment for archery. I wish to set-up an archery academy in my state. It will have a great help to the archery community and will also attract new talents. Whatever problems I have faced as a beginner, I do not want the next generation of archers to face them.
I: So have you done something in this regard?
Me: Yes sir. We have formed a club and para-archery association which helps beginners and needy archers and promotes archery. I personally contribute annually to the club and I like training beginners.
I: You seem to be good at maths. Can you solve a few questions.
I: Can you tell me some headlines on today’s newspaper? You belong to Chhattisgarh. What are your views about Naxalism. What they want and what you govt is doing to tackle them.
Me: Told that they want to run a parallel govt and do not want govt to have any interference in their area. They follow violent route to get their demands fulfilled. Told about the kidnapping of District collector and killing of Congress leaders in 2013.
Then told about govt policies and incentives about bringing Naxalites in the mainstream.
FEEDBACK: Major criteria for my selection, according to me was my score in the written exam. It played a vital role. Next may be my 10th 12th percentages (both 80+). Then, interview, which I felt went well. I was able to make them ask on archery. I knew Naxalism would come and hence was prepared with it. Everything that was asked to me, I was able to answer. I would say it was totally an expected interview.
Apoorv Agarwal – B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering from NITK Surathkal, 2013; 30 months of experience in HealthCare Insurance, UnitedHealth Group Information Services Pvt. Ltd.
Duration: 15-20 mins
My interview proceeded as follows:
Tell me about yourself (2 minutes)
Work Experience (3-5 minutes)
Q: What was your work profile?
A: I was working as a database analyst in UnitedHealth Group, briefly explained about the project and my role in the company. They were more interested in analytics related work or if we were using any machine learning algorithm. Since we were not using any sophisticated machine learning algorithm at that point of time, I told him how we were doing descriptive analytics in SQL server.
Probability/Statistics Questions (2-3 minutes):
I was asked to write the probability density function, mean and variance of the Poisson distribution. Real life examples of Poisson and exponential distribution.
Bayes Theorem – He asked me to state Bayes theorem and its application.
Graduation (2 minutes)
Interviewer asked me to explain the principle behind swing bowling in cricket(as I did my B.Tech in mechanical engineering and mentioned cricket in my hobbies).
I explained it through Bernoulli’s effect, pressure difference and then there were a couple of questions on Bernoulli’s theorem.
What motivates you to the field of analytics(2-4 minutes):
As I was working in the healthcare industry, so I started with the importance of data analytics in the field of healthcare insurance, how we can reduce the overall healthcare cost and serve patients in a better way. I continued my explanation with other sectors and explained how we can leverage data analytics to make effective decisions. They wanted to check my interest in analytics.
Extra Curricular Activities: Sachin Tendulkar Vs Virat Kohli- They were interested in statistical analysis behind my answer.
Kapil Tripathi – B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering, NIT Allahabad, 2014; 18 months of experience in Manufacturing (Power Function), Trident Group and 5 months in a Project at BHEL
Duration: 20 mins.
My Complete Interview Experience –
Tell me something about yourself?
Q- (IIM Prof) What is your motivation for joining this programme?
I told them about my start-up idea in power sector which deals purely with analytics and how this programme can help me achieve that.
Q- (IIT Prof) He said these things shall not be implemented in India.
Explained that how government of India has set up 1000 crores for the modernisation of electrical transmission quality and the function delivering those results shall be analytics
Q- (ISI Prof) You like electrical ? Can you derive RMS value for a sinusoidal current waveform?
Q-(ISI Prof) Given machines downtime periods how the spare parts in your store shall be taken care of ? Any graphs you can plot etc.
After some thought, explained about frequency of various spares used in last downtime periods and based on that data we shall generate some bar plots etc.
Q-(IIT Prof) Any analytics experience?
I told them that I have seen implementation of Aspen tech boiler controller in which learning by controller was done for a month.
SUGGESTIONS – To be as frank and confident as possible. Decent communication skill and good applied thinking shall be enough for interview. Avoid saying extreme technical terms of which you are not aware of as they will cross question.
Ishita Lohia – B.Tech. in Computer Science, College Of Technology, G.B.P.U.A.T., Pantnagar, 2014; 12 months of experience in Tech Mahindra (IT industry)
Palash R Tatte – B.Tech. in Production and Industrial engineering, IIT Delhi, 2014; 23 months of experience in Healthcare analytics, IMS Health
Duration: 30 mins
Kallu Chandra Mouli – B.Tech. in Electronics and Communications Engineering, NIT Trichy, 2014; 11 months of experience in FCA (Automobile industry)
Duration: 30-35 mins
Many questions were asked related to work experience. It began with questions like briefly explain a day in your office and questions were followed from what I answered. Few questions were asked about the tools and projects at work. One question was asked about different types of schemas implemented in databases and then types of transformations in Informatica. How would we clean data before entering them into a database . Challenges faced at work . How would you explain a flat file to your grandma. They also asked standard HR questions – Why PGDBA. What are your hobbies- I replied cycling and then we had a small discussion regarding cycle prices in India and abroad.
There were very basic questions related to normal distributions. I was also asked to solve a question on permutation and combination and then one more from linear equations. Both of them were of CAT standards. I think they were looking for people with interest towards analytics and good understanding of fundamental maths and statistics.
For the next part of this post:
PGDBA 2016-18 Interview Experiences Part-2
– Himanshu Goyal
The first step is the hardest. – Unknown
When one first hears about the PGDBA course, the aspect which captures one’s attention the most is that it is studied at three different institutes. It seems a bit confusing at the start but soon one gets fascinated by it. The fact that each aspect of business analytics is taught by a specialized institute seems like a perfect horses-for-courses strategy.
When I first heard about it, there was one name out of the three which captured my imagination the most and made me take this course seriously. That was ISI Kolkata – the pinnacle for statisticians. It is not to say that IIT Kharagpur and IIM Calcutta are insignificant names – popularity-wise that would be opposite – but the fact that an institute which is known more for its research-oriented approach, and not for focussing on fat pay checks, was a part of this curriculum made me think that I might actually learn something in this course and not just bide my time until the placement season. Hence I can say that ISI is one of the primary reasons for me being in this course. Now that the ISI phase is over I feel it imperative to share my experience. Due to space constraints, I will limit this article to my academic experience and not the student life there.
We studied 5 courses there and though I will not be able to do justice to each of them in this short space, I will try my best to give an overview of what we studied in each course.
1. Stochastic Processes and its Applications:
Randomness is the true foundation of mathematics. – Gregory Chaitin
This course can be thought of as 3-in-1. It started with probability problems (check out gambler’s ruin problem if gambling is your thing), their ingenious solutions and then expanded to probability distributions. In almost no time at all, we shifted gears from simple coin tosses to complex problems involving combinations of probability and calculus. When we got done with it all in one month, we found out that it was a precursor to stochastic processes. We then spent a good amount of time studying Markov chains which has innumerable practical applications in today’s world (Google’s PageRank algorithm). If that was not enough in one semester, we also got an introduction to time series forecasting in final stages of the course.
Probability, Stochastic Processes and Time Series forecasting – All three have the potential to be a separate course in themselves for one whole semester. While we couldn’t cover each one of them extensively, the course was a good starting point for someone looking for further studies in this area. It also covered enough of the three sub-topics so that we wouldn’t be sitting ducks when facing practical problems in this subject.
2. Statistical Structures in Data:
Statistics is the grammar of science. – Karl Pearson
Arguably the most important course of the semester. This course dwelled into pure statistics which started from simple properties of a distribution such as mean, median, variance, etc. We then moved to solve regression problems which started from univariate and culminated in multivariate statistics. This course also introduced us to various concepts in machine learning such as PCA, Factor Analysis, GLM and Decision Trees. Don’t worry if all these terms look Chinese to you, many of us weren’t aware of it either before stepping into ISI.
Going by the internship interview experience of the first batch of PGDBA, it was considered to be the most important course. I believe that is because being a data analyst is not about being able to run a code in a software, rather it is about understanding the concepts behind the scenes and use that to extract maximum information. This course does exactly that.
It is a hypothesis that the sun will rise tomorrow; and this means that we do not know whether it will rise. – Ludwig Wittgenstein
English is never going to be the same for you once you attend this course. This course gave a glimpse into how technical can one get into statistics. We found that many things which would seem a mere nuisance to a ‘normal’ person actually have a lot of difference when it comes to statistics. Likelihood and Probability take on a new meaning altogether; Parameter, Statistic, Estimator and Estimate will always seem like a case of so-near-yet-so-far. We also covered the concept of hypothesis testing and its applications. Any statistics-101 book will have these topics and this particular course coupled with the one above forms the crux for which one comes to ISI.
It is quite easy to commit mistakes in statistics by missing out on one or two seemingly trivial assumptions. This course taught us to be really careful with what we state and what we assume. At the same time, it taught us concepts which have direct applications in the real world and in the realm of statistics.
4. Computing for Data Sciences (CDS):
Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid; humans are slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination. – Leo Cherne (This quote is often wrongly attributed to Einstein)
One of my batch-mates has already written a whole article dedicated to this course and its faculty. And the reason for that is simple – We learnt the most in this course. This course takes you on a journey of data science where you become fascinated by it. Each one of our classes was focussed on one topic and the number of topics we ended up covering in the entire semester was humongous. If coverage of so much theory wasn’t enough, we also had hands-on sessions in class on R. This was also the only course in ISI in which we did a complete data science project from scratch. You can find the list of projects done by 2016 batch here (and here for 2015 batch).
We have spent one month at IIT KGP and we are already seeing the benefits of what we covered in CDS. Having got a glimpse into the multitude of topics earlier, it is now much easier for us to get into the flow of each topic which are being taught in separate courses.
5. Fundamentals of Database Systems:
Unless structure follows strategy, inefficiency results. – Alfred D. Chandler
This was probably the least thought-out course of the five in this semester. And that worked both ways for us. We finished the stipulated curriculum halfway through the semester and hence the faculty left it unto us what we wanted to cover. Students suggested the topics and were duly obliged. The first half of semester got us acquainted with MySQL. We then studied normalization of databases in detail which talked about how an efficient and accurate database can be designed. We also studied Information Retrieval, MapReduce and Market-basket model in the latter half of semester.
In total, we spent exactly 4 months at ISI. That is by no means sufficient amount of time to get the maximum potential out of that place but you make peace with what you get. The learning at ISI was unique at the very least and it provided the perfect kick start we needed in this course. We covered a breadth of topics in a couple of courses and went into depth as well wherever necessary. These courses have laid a solid foundation and now we are in a position to apply these concepts and see if we can really make the data speak. The first and the hardest step has been taken. Now is the time to cover the distance.
“December is a wonderful time to be in Calcutta”, remarked the Director of ISI Kolkata, Prof. Sanghamitra Bandopadhyay, as she addressed the participants of a workshop on Machine Learning yesterday. In winter, Calcutta and the ISI campus seem to be embedded in a timescale of their own. The cool climate, with the leisure of end of semester break and the occasional chai in little earthen cups are an apt climax to a wonderful first leg of the PGDBA course here at ISI.
We had the opportunity to attend a lecture delivered by Dr. Sourav Sengupta held in the same Machine Learning workshop this week. Souravda, as he insisted we must call him when we first met in July, taught us a course titled ‘Computing for Data Science’ in this semester’s coursework. The topic of his workshop lecture on Tuesday was Linear Algebra and I couldn’t help but smile as I reminisced the most enjoyable classroom experience that I had in the past semester. When I decided on writing this piece I was lost for ideas on how to do justice, in the measure of just a few words, to a semester’s worth of constantly brilliant teaching. Just plain superlatives for Dr. Sourav Sengupta would not suffice to explain the privilege I feel in being his student.
There are many moments in class that I felt amazed as he walked us through a topic, drawing out concept after concept, most times exercising the last resource of our grey cells. With his characteristic smiles and pauses, he conducted the class like an orchestra maestro. He was always thoroughly prepared with the flow of his lectures that were packed with information and insight. Maybe trying to recap a few highlights would help reflect the memorable journey we’ve had in class.
Of our first few trysts in Souravda’s class was the one with Linear Algebra. He introduced matrix multiplication as an operation on vector spaces. Starting with linear combinations of vectors and the space they spanned, he guided us to a vector space representation of the linear least squares estimate of a system of equations. This might seem arcane to some, but the charm was in the ease with which he explained the ideas of multidimensional spaces and vectors in the context of something as simple as least squares approximation. Another of such crescendos was when he tied eigen values, Markov chains and the power method in a lecture on how Google first developed a base for ranking webpages called PageRank. It was almost a revelation when I first realised, “So this is a Markov chain!”
In another lecture, Souravda explained the notion of volume as it applies to higher dimensions. He compared a unit ball with a unit square. A unit square in two dimensions is completely contained inside a unit ball. The farthest that a square can get from the origin is root of 1/2 (1/4 +1/4 = 2/4) whereas a unit circle is at a fixed distance of 1. In three dimensions, a cuboid is still inside a sphere and the farthest it gets to is square root of 3/4. Now, as we move up to four dimensions, the farthest point inside the ‘box’ is at square root of 4/4 which is 1. So in four dimensions, the box just touches the ball but is still contained entirely inside it. “What happens, when we move higher up”, asked Souravda in class. It so happens that the unit box creeps out of the ball in the fifth dimension and further up, in still higher dimensions, most of the volume of the box is not contained inside the ball. This was just one aspect of the notion of distances that he discussed. In another class, we discussed the distance between two sentences or text corpuses to see how similar or different they were. And as measures of similarity of two sets, Souravda then introduced us to hash functions and MinHashing.
“How would you develop a system to choose one person from three people, uniformly at random, by using just the outcomes of coin tosses?” This is one of Prof. Bimal Roy’s favourite questions (previous Director and professor of MathStat department) that Souravda introduced in class with us. He then extended the discussion to choosing uniformly at random from n people and then on to storing streaming data in an efficient way.
PCA, SVD, Linear Regression and Regularisation, Clustering, Classification and Regression Trees, Bias-Variance Trade-off in learning algorithms, SVM, Recommender Systems, Expectation Maximisation are the other broad topics that he discussed at a constant level of commitment and brilliance.
And that is just his teaching. There’s another side to the person that is Souravda. His utmost sincerity and dedication, at times when it seemed unimaginable why a person should go so far out of his way to help, was an immeasurable gift during the course.
At times when he explained algorithms for certain applications, he would use the common refrain, “But can you do any better?” in trying to guide us to more efficient solutions. A lesson that Souravda’s students could take from his classes, of which his own dedication was sufficient evidence, was to keep asking themselves, “Can you do any better?”
Thank you and farewell, Dr. Sourav Sengupta.