Recently, I had to travel to Kolkata for a short trip. While I was going there, I thought, I should visit Praxis Business School. While I have talked to multiple stakeholders associated with Praxis in past and have heard good things about the course they run, you can never equate the experience of visit on the campus with telephonic discussions!
So, I called up the management of Praxis Business School and they were more than happy to have me there.
First impressions – a small homely campus
In the first impression, Praxis came across as a small homely campus. The class-rooms, the management offices and the staff-room, everything was under a single roof. This also meant high accessibility – I could see faculty and students interacting with each other freely, but more on this later!
First stop – Interaction with Dean & Associate Dean
The first thing I did was to meet Prof. Srinivas Govindrajan (Dean) & Prof. Charanpreet Singh (Associate Dean). Prof. Govindrajan is an IIM Ahmedabad alumni & currently serving as visiting professor at IIM Calcutta and IIM Raipur, in addition to being the Dean at Praxis. Prof. Singh, on the other hand is IIT Kanpur alumni who completed his MBA from University of Iowa and has been part of corporate world for 20 years before joining Praxis. He is a visiting professor at IIM Raipur.
Over a cup of tea, we discussed how Analytics became a focus area for Praxis and how the first version of the program came together. Following were a few interesting notes I made from this discussion:
- From inception to till date, the program has had continuous inputs from industry partners like PwC and ICICI Bank.
- The program is a rigorous 12 month program including 3 months of industry internship, which converts to a job for most of the candidates.
- Unlike other part time programs, Praxis owns the placements for its student. That is the metric which both Prof. Singh and Prof. Govindrajan tracked themselves against.
- The program is designed with a view that students passing out from the program can take up any of the career paths: consultancy roles or hands on data scientist roles.
In our constant endeavour to create professionals for changing industry requirements, we launched the Business Analytics program in 2011. We pioneered formal training in analytics in the country and are till date the only Business School that teaches a full-time, face-to-face program in analytics and takes ownership of the placement process. We have grown the batch from 8 in 2011-12 to 30+ in 2014-15. Our program evolves constantly – in line with the quickly changing analytics landscape – and our industry connect has grown significantly in the last 4 years. While our program is ranked among the top-5 analytics programs in the country, we have introduced analytics as a specialization in our flagship 2-year business management program as well.
-Prof. Charanpreet Singh, Associate Dean, Praxis Business School
The Course designer and Program Director – Prof. Prithwis Mukherjee:
There were enough references to Prof. Mukherjee during my discussions with Prof. Govindrajan & Prof. Singh. I was almost looking forward to meet up before meeting him. As soon as I met Prof. Mukherjee, I knew I am talking to a person who not only has immense industry experience under his belt, but is as much an hands on data scientist himself.
Prof. Mukherjee is an IIT Kharagpur alumni, was Director at IBM and had served as a partner at PwC before joining Praxis. He enjoys hands on coding himself and has experimented with almost every open source tool available today. From setting up a Hadoop cluster to running recommendation engines for web apps, Mr. Mukherjee has done it all. I almost hope that I have same hunger for knowledge, when I have as much experience as he carries!
Coming back to the program, the philosophy Prof. Mukherjee has stuck to while designing the course is to cover a lot of breadth and focus on hands on exercises. Here are some more details I found out while I spent time with Prof. Mukherjee:
Course Content / Structure:
The entire course at Praxis is divided in 4 trimesters – with the last 3 months being spent in interning. The curriculum during the 3 trimesters was exhaustive with 500+ hours of classroom interaction – much more than any other course has to offer. The course kicks off with a workshop on Excel, basics of R and Intro to SAS and ends up with modules on data visualization, text mining & NoSQL databases.
As you can see, the course covers a wide spread of topics in a short amount of time, so if you are planning to take up this course, be prepared for 9 months of intensive learning!
Tools covered during the course: SAS, R, Python, RapidMiner, Hadoop, Excel& Tableau
Business Analytics program at Praxis Business School is a perfect amalgamation of statistics and data science along with its application to business. Class room sessions by highly experienced faculty followed by a little self help guarantees a fantastic kick-start to the career as a data analyst/scientist. The course also takes into consideration the advancements in the field of data analytics by constantly revising the curriculum and arranging guest lectures by senior industry executives.
The experience at Praxis for me has been very satisfactory and has been the most productive time of my career.
– Apuroop Pullabhatla, Data analyst at Abzooba, Praxis Analytics Batch of 2015
Other faculty members:
Here is a link to the profile of all core and visiting faculty. It is a good mix of people from some of the best Education institutes and professional Organizations. Around 35% of the course is delivered from people in industry, while 65% of it is delivered by in house faculty.
The culmination of the course – placements
Probably the most important metric for a course like this is the placement ratio. At the time of publishing this, Praxis has managed to place 25 out of 30 students (as on 27th April 2015) out of the current outgoing batch. The process is still undergoing, so the number can change slightly. Some of the companies hiring this season were HSBC, Genpact, Karvy, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, KieSqaure Consulting, ICRA Techno Analytics and Happiest Minds. The salaries of placed students has varied from 4 Lakhs to 12 Lakhs p.a. (CTC).
I think this is a huge achievement and a good reflection of the ownership shown at Praxis. With increasing awareness about this course, this number should only go up further.
As part of my career aspirations of shifting to Analytics , I was looking a for a solid platform which could equip me with the all the necessary tools and techniques to make myself industry ready and opting for praxis business analytics program proved to be the right step.
AseemDatta, Assistant Manager(Analytics Wing) – Genpact, Praxis Analytics Batch of 2015
The best part – interaction with students & Bengali sweets!
Once I had my interaction with the Dean(s)& Program Director, it was time for what I love the most – interacting with students. I spent about half an hour with a batch about to pass out from Praxis and tried understanding their experience. Here is what they had to say:
- Most of them were satisfied with the program and would recommend it to people entering analytics industry.
- As expected, several tools and techniques were covered during the period of the program. Students were broadly satisfied with the coverage and the pedagogy.
- The program is intense as the course covers a broad spectrum of tools & techniques. But the faculty is very approachable and always there to help the students.
By this time, I was almost running out of time. The campus was good 3 hours away from the airport. I couldn’t say no to the delicious Rasagullas offered along with the lunch, so I took them and then went on to catch my flight.
Overall Verdict / My recommendation:
I would recommend Praxis as one of the best full time offering currently available in India. It is ideally suited for people with less than 5 years of experience, who can start with hands on roles in analytics and data science.
For people with higher experience, it is a tricky situation to be in. The course definitely provides the learning, but analytics industry in India has not accepted high experience people making a career shift into analytics yet! Having said that, the best campus job this year was grabbed by a candidate with 7 years of experience. So it can happen, but you are taking a bit of a chance.
Another point worth mentioning here is cost of the course. At a price of INR 4 Lakhs, I think the course offers a lot of value.
I walked off from Praxis with a great satisfaction. I see a team dedicated to create one of the best full time offering for people interested in making a career in Analytics. The course has continuously evolved to keep up with high demand of the industry.
I thank the management of Praxis to be a generous host and for those juicy Rasagullas and promise to host them, when they visit Delhi!
If you have any further question on this course, I’ll be more than happy to share my views & perspective about. If I don’t have the answer myself, I can surely try to get it as well.