Recently, I spent half a day speaking about Insurance Analytics at Great Lakes Institute of Management on their Gurgaon campus. Interacting with students / working professionals wanting to create a career in Analytics has always fascinated me, and so did the interaction with this group.
Since I get a lot of queries on this course, I deliberately spent some extra time after the lecture and met the directors of the program to write a complete review for the help of our audience. So, here is the detailed review about this program. I hope this will help all those who are deciding which program works best for them.
Positioning of the course:
Post Graduate Program in Business Analytics from Great Lakes Institute of Management aims to create business professionals who can use and understand analytics to make data based decisions. In a nutshell, the learning outcome as established by the faculty and curriculum, is the ability to look at unstructured data problems, solve them using appropriate analytical techniques and tools and link them to business actionable and tangibles.
Audience of the class:
The typical audience of the course has 3-12 years of work experience, with average work experience of little over 9 years. About 20% of the class has experience more than 10 years highest being 25 years. The class has a fair mix of people from various backgrounds – IT, Management Consulting, Entrepreneurs etc.
Structure of the program:
The program is run in a different manner in both the locations – Gurgaon and Chennai. Gurgaon offers it as a weekend program and caters to mostly people from Delhi NCR. Chennai, on the other hand, runs a 5 day residency program every alternate month – which allows it to cater to the people outside Chennai (e.g. Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and other cities).
All the lectures get recorded, so that the students who are not able to attend the classes have an option to watch them later.
Coming to the program, the program teaches you various concepts a manager needs in their roles for the first 4 months – Customer Relationship Management, Finance, Marketing, etc. Post this phase, the course starts introducing statistical concepts and business analytics concepts and inculcates structured thinking through several assignments and exercises.
Most of the participants I talked to mentioned that the workload is significant, especially because they already have work commitments outside of this course. When I discussed this with the faculty, they said that the program is designed to be rigorous.
I was impressed by the wealth of experience and knowledge course Directors possessed. Prof. Mukhopadyay completed his Ph.D. from ISI and has been associated with top of the line B-schools (IIM Calcutta, MDI, SP Jain) and has worked with Government policies.
Prof. Viswanathan completed his MBA from FMS, MS from Manitoba, Canada and Ph.D. from Madras University. He has co-authored 3 books on Business Statistics and Market Research. Both the directors were brimming with knowledge about analytics, have worked hands-on on several statistical tools like R and SAS themselves. I enjoyed my discussions with both of them and I hope to meet Prof. Viswanathan face to face some time soon.
Industry interaction and the Capstone project:
One of the things, I was impressed was that during the course, participants spend 40% of their time interacting with the people from Analytics Industry. Experts from industry are not only involved as guest faculty, but they also teach courses in the Industry Application module, which happens in the last 3 months of the program. Industry experts from leading analytics companies train the candidates in Marketing analytics, Retail analytics, Insurance analytics, Financial analytics and Web & Social media analytics. In addition to teaching, they also play an active role in setting up the course, designing the curriculum, evaluating the examinations and finally mentoring the students with Capstone project.
During the capstone project, the participants are mentored by industry experts and Great Lakes faculty. While some candidates pursue the project with their existing employers, for others the projects are provided by Great Lakes
Online content partner:
One of the distinguishing factors for this course is the partnership with Jigsaw Academy and that comes across when you talk to the participants. The association adds value and complements the business focussed lectures with technical content.
Suitability / Fit of the program:
Since most of the questions, I receive are around the fit of analytics programs with career of people, I thought I should include a brief note on this:
- Profile 1 – People from premier / Tier I education institutes (Quant background): People from this background can use this course for making a switch into analytics and analytics consultancies. If you are from this background and want to become a hands on data-scientist or an analyst, be prepared to take a few more self-learning courses apart from what Great Lakes has to offer. You should use Great Lakes to get exposure to live problems and interaction with industry people.
- Profile 2 – People with 5 – 10 years of experience from BI / Consulting / IT / Software domains: I think this is the best fit group for this course. These people can make the transition into the analytics parallels in their Organizations during / after the course. Again, you should plan for a steady transition – for example, if your experience has been in Sales of software solutions – it makes sense to transition into Sales of analytics solutions and then move into business roles or consultancy roles.
I was in a strategy consulting role before joining this Program at Great Lakes and wanted to add ability to include analytics offerings to my clients so that I can offer them a holistic solution. This course from Great Lakes has enabled me to make this shift and I can now provide better solutions to my clients.
-Yash Rai, Manager, The Smart Cube
- Profile 3 – People with 10+ years of experience from any domain: This group should consider this course as a skill augmentation course rather than a path to break into analytics career. A couple of entrepreneurs / Senior management I talked to (who belonged to this profile) were very satisfied with the course and the way it was helping them in achieving their goals.
I have been selling IT solutions to various clients for 15 years now. We want to include analytics in our product and in order to do so, I had to develop a deeper understanding of various analytical techniques. Great Lakes has fulfilled its promise to enrich me with this knowledge and we are now including analytics in our product offering.
– Ashok Kolliakal, Entrepreneur with 15+ years of experience
If you are of some other profile, use the guidelines above to find how this course would fit with you. If you still need guidance, feel free to drop your queries through comments below.
I enjoyed my day interacting with the students, faculty and Directors of the program. The zeal to create one of the best analytics program for working professionals in India comes across in the entire team. What I liked was the clarity and alignment of vision in the Great lakes team, the arrangements to provide access to material outside the class and the intensive industry interaction.
The focus of the course is to enable its participants with structured thinking and tools to help them make data driven decisions in their day to day business roles and challenges. I can happily recommend the course to the profiles mentioned above.
What this course is not?
This course is not meant to make you a technical person in analytics industry or a statistician. The aim of the program is to inculcate structured thinking in its participants provide analytics as a tool set in their repository. It does not aim to make you an analyst who applies cutting edge algorithms himself, but equips you to understand which algorithm should be applied to which business situation.
The program (like other programs currently offered by various institutes in India), does not offer placements. However, the program does provide career enhancement support in terms of resume workshops, interview preparation and access to opportunities. In my discussions with the Prof Bappaditya, he mentioned about how there are examples of candidates have transitioned into analytics roles within their existing organizations or move into new organizations
If you have any additional queries about the program, please feel free to reach out to me and I’ll either answer your queries or put you in touch with the right people who know the answer.
Disclosure: As part of this association with the Great Lakes Institute of Management, I have been paid as a Guest Faculty. This has had no bearing to the review published above. All the views in this article, like all my other articles are completely mine and to the best of my knowledge & research at the time of publishing