Interview with Dr. Bibek Banerjee – Dean, BRIDGE School of Management
Analytics Industry in India is expanding fast. More and more companies are introducing analytics in their core processes. This has resulted in increased demand of analytics professionals. Demand is so high that companies at times fail to hire desired skilled professionals. Because, there aren’t many. This imbalance in supply and demand has caught the attention of various educational bodies worldwide.
Many institutions (independently or collaboratively) have taken the initiative to nourish this industry with smart & skilled professionals. These initiatives involve intensive business analytics program & courses. These courses are designed to equip candidates with latest analytical tools & techniques used in industry. This has enabled various businesses to establish analytics / data science teams.
One such institution, BRIDGE School of Management runs an 11 month long Predictive Business Analytics Program. Recently, I caught up with Dr. Bibek Banerjee, Dean and Head of Academics, BRIDGE School of Management, to get in depth insights from this course. As a reader, this will help you to evaluate this program as an option to start your career in business analytics.
Below is my exclusive conversation with Dr. Bibek Banerjee. I would like to thank him to sparing time out of his busy schedule for this interview.
Kunal: What was the idea behind launching Predictive Business Analytics Program?
Dr. Banerjee: Demand for professionals experienced in Analytics is on the rise across organizations as every organization is looking for ways to exploit the power of Big Data. BRIDGE’s data analytics program offers industry ready curriculum to help learners apply latest concepts and analytical techniques to leverage data in creating tangible business value.
Leveraging the best-in-class knowledge, experience, expertise and technology from North-Western University, BRIDGE through its industry-focused Analytics programs goes beyond the theoretical knowledge of concepts and provides an innovative learning environment while focusing on upgrading their managerial, functional and interpersonal skills.
Each of our programs is led by a Council composed of a Program Chair, academicians with domain expertise, Functional and HR Heads from large Indian and international corporates. This team manages the program in terms of its design, project flow, case studies and lecture-demonstrations, soft skills workshops and delivery structure of specific elements of the various courses. This team is also engaged in periodically reviewing each program in terms of its quality – and initiate appropriate measures to continually improve the programs.
Northwestern University is one of the world’s leading educational institutions and their post graduate analytics program is ranked among the top 5 (one of the top 2) in the world for their Analytics Program. The certificate program has been specially created for India by academicians from Northwestern University and top industry experts using real-world problems and situations. The Northwestern and Bridge School initiative combines online content developed and taught by Northwestern faculty with weekly in-person sessions led by local specialist faculty at the Bridge School’s learning centers.
Kunal: How is your course different from other business analytics programs in India?
Dr. Banerjee: BRIDGE School provides tangible take-aways that are relevant, comprehensible and transparent to our students. We usually minimize the abstract and maximize the practical skills and competencies needed to successfully affect the next turning point in their career. Some key differentiators:
First, we are strategically positioned close to the industry – both physically as well as intellectually. Our two pilot centers: Cyber City Gurgaon, and Noida; are embedded among the corporate offices of most large and medium organizations.
Second, the BRIDGE School resource base comprises of a wide variety of professional courses, workshops, simulators, business games and interactive e-libraries is truly world class. We are able to build this as we can leverage our collaborators from the best across the world. Like Northwestern University, home to the famous Kellogg School of Business.
Third, we have customized our Analytics programs, from Marketing to Risk, catering to industry needs in India based on inputs from leading organizations, subject matter experts and industry associations.
Let me also point out that as our faculty comprises senior leaders from leading organizations, they help learners relate real corporate situations and case studies with theory as they are equipped to teach practical and relevant applicable skills in the weekend sessions.
BRIDGE School has empanelled over 30 organizations based in Delhi NCR across consulting, e-commerce, telecom, IT, BFSI only for the analytics opportunities.
Furthermore, we offer career services for our students who seek greener opportunities. Our consultants work individually with students to provide opportunities to them in successfully unlocking their potential. BRIDGE seeks to focus on developing relevant inter-personal skills of learners, making them Corporate-ready with a focus on:-
Communication: Preparing reports and delivering presentations, e-mail etiquette, and participation in group discussions.
Team work and Managerial Skills: Collaborative work with peers, cross-functional working and conflict management and resolution.
Business Development Skills: Client management, portfolio management etc.
Negotiation Skills: Strategies and techniques for effective negotiation with clients and suppliers.
Analytical Skills: Problem solving, forecasting and innovation.
Adaptability: Multi-tasking and time management.
Kunal: Who is ideally suited to enroll in this program?
Dr. Banerjee: In today’s day and age, organizations’ ability to make business sense out of Big Data will decide their success trajectory. Hence, organizations across sectors need trained resources who can work with Analytics, Big Data and data sciences all though the organization value chain levels to derive business benefit. The Industry need both existing working professionals and freshers who are keen in making a career in Analytics to fill in the demand. BRIDGE School has the following specialized offerings in association with Northwestern University for both categories:
- Predictive Business Analytics For Working Professionals (a 40 week long program)
- Predictive Business Analytics for fresh graduates, (0- 11 months of work experience), including specialization and internship in a 58 week long program
Kunal: What is the structure of the program – total classroom time, expectation from the candidate and the areas covered as part of the course?
Dr. Banerjee: The Certificate in Predictive Business Analytics is a 40 weeks program. A successful completion of the program will earn aspirants the coveted certification in Predictive Business Analytics from Northwestern University (SPS) & BRIDGE School of Management. This program has been adapted from Northwestern’s MSPA degree program.
The Advanced Certificate in Analytics is an 8 week long program. After completing the Certificate in Predictive Business Analytics, students may continue their education and earn an advanced certificate in one or more of the following areas:
- Marketing and Web Analytics (Joint Certification by BRIDGE & Northwestern)
- Risk Analytics ( Joint Certification by BRIDGE & Northwestern)
- Supply Chain Analytics( Joint Certification by BRIDGE & Northwestern)
- SAS Analytics* (Certification by BRIDGE)
For fresh graduates, (0- 11 months of work experience), the Certificate in Predictive Business Analytics includes specialization and internship in a 58 week long program.
Kunal: What is the teaching methodology adopted for this Program – Online / Offline / Hybrid?
Dr. Banerjee: Our teaching pedagogy is blended in nature which combines the best of virtual and face-to-face learnings.
Northwestern University’s CANVAS online learning environment provides an innovative learning platform that encourages collaborative approach between the candidates. Weekend classes delivered by Senior Practitioner Faculty (CEOs/VPs from leading organizations) help employees relate real corporate situations and case studies with theory. Complementing them is a panel of the best-in-class Indian and foreign academicians.
Kunal: How much of the program is devoted to Industry Interaction and Live Project?
Dr. Banerjee: The program focus is on practical learning via live projects/case studies, simulations of real life corporate situations. Learners apply analytics tools to real-world business contexts for improved decision-making and acquire hands-on experience working with leading statistical tools and software packages (such as R) in predictive modelling and the visual analysis of results.
Weekend Programs Delivered by Practitioner Faculty – CEOs/VPs from leading organizations help employees relate real corporate situations and case studies with theory as they are equipped to teach practical, relevant applicable skills by bringing back learning from their workplace. Complementing them will be a panel of the best-in-class Indian and foreign academicians.
Advanced state-of-the-art Virtual Learning Environment enables learners to access pre-recorded lectures of expert global faculty and industry leaders, have discussions with faculty and carry out group projects with a network of students from Fortune 500 companies at their own convenience – whenever, wherever.
Kunal: Is there a capstone project / industry project at the end of the course? If yes, how much time are students expected to devote on it?
Dr. Banerjee: Yes, there are industry projects from companies like Webitude from time to time which are made available for the students. For example this year we are working with TiE members to organize live analytics projects and Case Contests for BRIDGE students; as well as a few mentorship engagements – this way BRIDGE students get unparalleled exposure to subjects that are current and stay abreast of the dynamical changes in the discipline in practice.
Kunal: Tell us about the Faculties of this program. Can we expect faculties from NorthWestern University also?
Dr. Banerjee: Our EDUCATORS are a mix of practicing professionals and hand-picked academicians. This ensures that theory is always actioned with practicalities of running businesses in every aspect of our program delivery. Our Program Chair for Analytics is Dr. Srabashi Basu at BRIDGE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT. She is Ph.D., MA (Statistics – The Pennsylvania State University). M. Sc. (Statistics – The University of Calcutta). In her previous assignments, she has worked with Indian Statistical Institute. Industry practitioners who take Face-to-face sessions, include the Director of Risk Management, American Express India, the Principal Consultant of Retail Strategy & Analytics, Trequista Consulting, etc.
Additionally, live sessions from Northwestern University faculty is part of the Program. Apart from live sessions, Northwestern University faculty are involved online on an ongoing basis. They engage with students in monitoring and evaluating discussion posts as well as evaluating assignments. Their turnaround cycle on doubt-clearing is usually within 24 hours. Special synchronous sessions are also arranged with NW faculty at regular intervals.
Kunal: How about placements? Would placement support be available for this program? How has been the placements till now?
Dr. Banerjee: For those candidates looking to get a job as a business analyst and build their career in analytics, BRIDGE has an extensive industry network to facilitate placements for its students. It is BRIDGE’s commitment to make sure their students get quality placement opportunities on successful completion of the program.
We have empanelled over 25 organizations based in Delhi NCR across consulting, ecommerce, telecom, IT sectors, BFSI for analytics opportunities. We do not have a campus approach to placement, it is a consultative process for all interested learners who opt in. Also with the industry requirements, learners who have >5 years of work experience, are provided assistance to opportunities. The average salary hike of the first round of placement drive is 51%.
Kunal: You’ve recently launched online courses in analytics. Tell us a bit more about it?
Dr. Banerjee: BRIDGE Online’s Data Analytics program offers a foundation program in data sciences with courses in database fundamentals including Core Database Concepts, Data Storage, Relational databases, Manipulating Data and Administering Databases.
The program will help the students to acquire basic understanding of Analytics Application in Database Marketing, evolve into a Business Data analytics expert, while building a strong foundation in the analytics using Excel and generate creative and intelligent actionable insights to facilitate decision making using statistical and analytical methods
While there is no formal qualification required to study this course, we recommended the Analytics courses to be studied by working professionals in related domain & fresh graduates hoping to get into analytics domain. The Program will be especially helpful for:
- Marketers & Research Professionals
- MIS, Data and Knowledge Professionals
- Small Business Owners/Entrepreneurs
- Fresh graduates
Kunal: Currently, you are offering the program only in Delhi / When can we expect programs in other cities?
Dr. Banerjee: Our vision for BRIDGE school is to build that missing-BRIDGE, in collaboration with industry partners and the academia. Our goal is to create a portfolio of innovative Analytics Programs providing world class knowledge, expertise and learning experience for our biggest stakeholder – the young and aspiring professionals across India. Yes, geographical expansions to other key Analytics centers like Bangalore and Mumbai are planned.
Kunal: Thank you Dr. Bibek Banerjee. You’ve aptly highlighted the important aspects of this program. I’m sure this program would help students to establish a successful career in analytics industry. I wish you all the best.
If you have any questions / query related this program, feel free to post them in the comments section below.