Narrowing the gender gap and inculcating an inclusive environment at IIM Kashipur

While the gender gap and career development opportunities continue to provide barriers for women around the world, business schools are taking measures to ensure that women are more motivated than ever before and given the resources required to ensure they reach the top of their chosen profession. As a female student, I take immense pride to be part of an institution that has made constant efforts since its inception to enhance gender diversity and have left no stone unturned when it comes to what the MBA has to offer. 

Being a part of this prestigious institution, I have realised that the learnings as well as achievements are not restricted to be just classroom specific. All my female batchmates have shown active and equal participation on and off-campus, be it representing the institution in various B-schools & Corporate Competitions and emerging as the National Finalists and National Winners or running the campus along with their male counterparts through several clubs and committees while heading a few. 

It is the ripple effect of the combined efforts of all the women who joined IIM Kashipur and paved the path for equivalence, that the batch of 2020-22 witnessed a growth rate of 186 per cent in the number of female students joining the institution, compared to the previous batch. The current batch has a healthy representation of female students from 20 states and union territories across the country. To promote gender diversity, the institute has continued its initiative of sanctioning 15 supernumerary seats for women.

While we are on the subject of gender diversity, it is of utmost importance to realise and strike a healthy balance between the genders and promote growth, inclusivity and responsible management to ensure we give back to the society, future leaders who can inspire and set examples for the next generation of gender-inclusive leadership.

The vision set for students, is towards attempting for gender hypervisibility to be diminished and eventually disappear. At IIM Kashipur, we have come together in an attempt to develop leaders irrespective of the gender they belong to, who are not only mindful of the differences but also involve all categories of social distinction, so that they become leaders who form a workplace that is inclusive and equitable for all. 

About the Author:
Payal Singh, a Production Engineer by qualification is currently pursuing MBA (Analytics) from IIM Kashipur.  She is a part of  Team Insite- Admission Support Body of IIM Kashipur. You can connect with her on Linkedin.

Case Study Competitions – How to make the best of opportunities!

Hear out Shubham who is an Industrial Engineer by qualification. He has completed his MBA from IIM Kashipur (Batch 2019-21) and has been recognized as the Top Competitive Leader from the Institute featuring him in Forbes India.

“The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.”

Corporate competitions have been an integral and consistent part of my MBA journey. Especially in the 2nd year, when the entire classroom program was shifted to online mode, there was hardly any day when I wasn’t involved in brainstorming ideas for any competition. Hearing about being the Top D2C Champion from IIM Kashipur and my Institute being ranked 4th, particularly when I was finishing my MBA journey, was the best way I could have summed up the significance of all my efforts.

Participating and investing time in multiple corporate competitions is indeed a difficult decision, especially amidst the conventions of a B-School, where a student has various academic commitments, projects, case studies with sacrosanct deadlines. There have been times when we had overlapping deadlines-prioritizing became the key factor there. There have been times where my team had to discuss and devise strategies working remotely, or work on competitions during the end term examinations as well. However, the extent to which these competitions enhanced my managerial learning by providing a parallel exposure to real-time industry-wide business problems, and a platform to evaluate my approach to these problems, made me keep the spirit alive and kept me going at every point.

During this time, I explored various domains, ranging from proposing a new product line in Market research for Thoucentric Bottoms-Up to preparing a Business Development Plan for CarEasy Spark. While proposing Supply Chain strategy for Tier-2 cities in the Flipkart Wired helped me gain perspective of the logistics industry, building a healthcare ecosystem in Infosys Ingenious and Optum Stratethon provided the insights of the technological advancements of this sector. Participating in 3M-CII helped us build a tech enabled product with a social impact. AGS Horizon navigated us through the emerging domain of hyperlocal fintech. In addition to this, I also participated in multiple B-School level competitions and managed to win a few. With this, I ended up with 2 National Winners, 1 Runners Up, 3 National Finalist, and 5 National Semi-Finalists in my tally.

Some key aspects that MBA aspirants should keep in mind, though these are not exhaustive:

  1. In the initial year, experiment with building your team for the first few competitions until you get the right dynamics. Try to build a core team that will have zilch or constructive friction and no free-riders. Find members who have expertise, say it be market research, designing or technical domain knowledge. Motivate them. Teach them. Learn from them. And improve each other.
  2. Making the most of your network, connecting with industry professionals to gain relevant key insights is of paramount importance.
  3. The execution should be kept in mind so the idea should be minimalistic. Be thorough with your ground research and workflow. Try incorporating frameworks/models learnt in class.
  4. During the presentations you need to ensure that you cover all the important content in the stipulated time frame. Try to make it as crisp and concise as possible. Ideally you can follow the approach – Problem Statement, Research, Insights, Ideas, Feasibility, Financials and Timeline.

Consistency and meaningful participation in competitions can increase your MBA learning to a great extent. Instead of taking it as only participating, take these as learning curves. If you want to make the most of your MBA journey, competitions undoubtedly provide a platform for you to learn and unlearn. My suggestion to juniors will be to participate in maximum number of competitions, keep yourself updated about recent developments and innovations, and always keep the hunger alive.

About the Author:
Shubham is an Industrial Engineer by qualification. He has completed his MBA from IIM Kashipur (Batch 2019-21) and has been recognized as the Top Competitive Leader from the Institute featuring him in Forbes India. He is an IT professional with 2 years of experience in ZS Associates. In his past time, he likes sketching & playing video games. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Prominent platform for Entrepreneurship at IIM Kashipur

 “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

As per the above saying, anyone can become an entrepreneur who understands that entrepreneurship is a very long and arduous ordeal. MBA is also considered a gateway for achieving the entrepreneur dream. Every year, thousands of students take the CAT exam in the hopes of getting into a prestigious business school and taking the most sought-after course, the MBA. These students strive hard to gain admission to a prestigious institute such as IIM, with the hope of a better future and the drive to excel. Out of thousands of applicants, only a few hundred are admitted into an IIM. Some students hope to obtain a high-paying job after enrolling in an IIM, while others seek managerial training and an environment that will allow them to pursue their dream of becoming an entrepreneur. For those who want to start their own business and embark on an entrepreneurial adventure, IIM Kashipur is the place to be.

Among all the newer IIMs, IIM Kashipur is emerging as a hub for entrepreneurial growth. The most important aspect for becoming an entrepreneur is the requirement of a unique and novel idea that demands the necessity for innovative thinking. Understanding this requirement IIM Kashipur serves as a spoke in the DIC (Design Innovation Center) community which is involved in building the thought of entrepreneurship in the young inquisitive minds. Help-Himalayan education learning program, Hum- Himalayan upliftment movement, Hill- Himalayan innovation of land to the laboratory are the innovative outreach programs introduced to enhance the culture of innovation, design thinking, and creative problem solving among the community by disseminating the knowledge in every sphere of the society.

Further, IIM Kashipur is assisting future entrepreneurs by adopting an academic program to assist future start-ups, as well as launching projects such FIED by the Entrepreneurial cell of IIM Kashipur. The Foundation for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development (FIED) is a project aimed at developing and improving India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. FIED is expected to incubate India’s most promising start-ups in the areas of tourism and hospitality, agriculture, art and craft, and education with the help of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Department of Science and Technology, the Government of Uttarakhand, and other supporting partners. FIED operates with the intention of being the leading incubator by 2025, with the goal of establishing India as a hotspot for entrepreneurship research, growth, and training, as well as assisting start-ups with funding and comprehensive mentoring.

FIED has successfully incubated 150+ ventures, has engaged 500+ entrepreneurs, raised 50 crores of funding, and has established a network of 100+ investors setting a stage for the budding entrepreneurs to learn and establish their dreams. It has also started two new ventures RKVY – RAFTAAR, and Drishti to promote the start-up culture in the young minds of the student fraternity. With the immense success of the very first program it undertook, RKVY RAFTAAR, FIED had a very successful start-up year. More than 350 applicants from across the country applied for the program, of which only 37 start-ups were chosen at the IIM Kashipur Campus for the two-month training program. Ultimately, 22 start-ups, up to 25 lakhs, obtained final funding from the Ministry of Agriculture. 

  • RKVY – RAFTAAR: RKVY Raftaar – There are two programs offered to start-ups under RKVY Raftaar – Sahas and Saksham, which provide an opportunity to receive funding, mentoring & help for the launch and support of commercial products. 
  • SAHAS: Sahas is mainly an Agripreneurship orientation program for startups at the pre-seed stage. The start-ups which are in the ideation stage and have their focus areas concentrated in increasing the efficiency of agriculture can apply to this program. The start-ups have the opportunity to receive 5 lakhs grant-in-aid after the successful completion of this program. The trainees who are selected for this program receive a stipend of Rs 10,000 for a period of two months. The focus areas of this program include – Sustainable inputs, Animal husbandry, Innovative food technology, Supply chain technology, Smart agriculture, Agri Fintech, Agri Biotech, Soil, water & weather technology, Farm mechanization, post-harvest technology, Fisheries, Farm fresh retail, Urban/vertical farming, ICT/IOT in agriculture. 
  • SAKSHAM: Saksham is mainly an Agripreneurship incubation program for start-ups at the seed stage. The start-ups with at least a minimum viable product/ prototype based on innovative solutions in Agri and allied sectors. The start-ups have the opportunity to receive grant-in-aid up to Rs 25 lakh after the successful completion of the program. The start-ups would also receive additional help and mentoring for the successful commercial launch of the program. The program offerings and focus areas of the program are the same as that of Sahas initiative. 
  • DRISHTI: Drishti is a start-up and incubator program by FIED for start-ups working in Edutech, Foodtech, e-commerce, and food safety. The initiative is mainly to mentor and supports the start-ups in the successful launch of the commercial products. The start-ups would also get an opportunity to connect with various investors and partners where they would be guided by industry experts on various growth strategies. The start-ups can avail of seed funding as well as an IIM certificate after successful completion of the program. 

FIED of IIM Kashipur not only imparts the zest to achieve and follow up their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur in the minds of students but also helps the entire community to nurture and foster the start-up culture. With the DIC and FIED, IIM Kashipur never fails to astound us with its steps and ventures in sculpting an entrepreneur to serve the future community.

About the author:

Deshmaa R T who is a Biotechnology engineer by qualification is currently pursuing MBA (Analytics) from IIM Kashipur. She is a part of various student bodies like Media and Public relations committee, Quest – The Quiz club and Team Insite – Admissions Support Body. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

MBA: From a fresher’s viewpoint

Much bigger than merely a two-year course: MBA is an amalgamation of a plethora of domains, integrated so astutely that each one of them finds a core point of strength that others can gain from. This is exactly what it means when It is said that MBA caters for an overall holistic development of the students. However, the popular opinion states that the journey is slightly more rugged for the freshers. They are the lot without any prior exposure to a corporate world. Unaware of the adversities and the pre-requisites for the same, they step into this course in reticence. Self- consciousness, shyness and insecurity are some of the feelings that gush through their veins at the beginning, but not for long.

The first step in their holistic growth comes from the diverse pool of peers. During the first few weeks of their MBA journey, they meet a lot of people; some sharing the common apprehension while others who have already paced their journey beyond that. Through healthy and continuous interactions, this is where they learn the know-hows of a corporate life and how it changes and molds one’s personality. 

After a brief glimpse into the kind of life awaiting them, the next step of development comes in the classroom itself. Through experiential learning and case-based approaches that follow, students, irrespective of their academic backgrounds and experiences are invited to speak and encouraged to bring forth their ideas on to the table. None of the opinions are refuted in the classroom. The freshers are said to bring in much more creative ideas as compared to others, reason being their ability to not restrict their thinking in a particular domain. They allow themselves to fly freely. They are the optimistic lot and play the role of risk takers in group tasks and convince their team regarding the feasibility of the strategies undertaken.

The final step, which brings everybody on board and at par with each other on this journey, regardless of their prior corporate exposure, is their commitment to various student bodies. Student bodies are an integral part of an MBA curriculum. They give a glimpse into various aspects of work life that lies ahead. Adhering to the timelines, working in a team, taking leads frequently, dealing with conflicts etc. are the lessons drawn from it. It knows not to see someone from prejudiced eyes. This is the point where all the inhibitions of a fresher shatter and he/she finally starts to believe in being worthy of the course and standing tall with their peers, if not above then at least at par. 

So, it does not matter if you have years of work experience, or you are fresh out of college. An MBA curriculum needs you as much as you need it.

About the Author:
Nancy Raj, a BA honors in Statistics by qualification, is currently pursuing an MBA from IIM Kashipur. She is a part of various student bodies like the cultural committee and Admissions support body. She is fond of reading, writing and travelling. You can connect with her on LinkedIn

An Internship Experience at Agri-Tech Startup and how it converted to a PPO

PPOs are a major aspect for B-School students in securing a qualified and exclusive offer from companies that they wish to work for in the future. The idea to convert your Summer Internship into a full-fledged Placement Offer is not easy but not impossible too. This article provides a better glimpse of what one needs to keep in mind while looking to secure a PPO.

Agrigator, which is a seed-funded Agri-Tech Startup, is involved in Supply Chain and Logistics stream for providing a B2B Marketplace between the Producers and the Buyers. It was duly catering to HORECA outlets (Hotels, Restaurants, etc.) and FPIs by transporting food grains directly from Farmers and related sources, leading to a reduction in transaction costs, time, efforts, and simplifying the operations of such an unorganized system.

Keeping yourself in such a position, there are a few things that you can follow to slowly chart yourself and the learnings you receive in due course. Firstly, it is important to completely familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the concerned organization and the sector that it functions in. Usual ways include following Annual Reports, Sector-Specific News from verified sources, Online Government Resources and Databases, and interaction with Industry Experts and the employees of the organization themselves. This will build up a robust base for you to understand your line of work for your project

Next, you must continue to interact with your assigned mentor or individuals who work in the same fields/organization to also understand the core competency, relative competition, domain-specific business strategies, and business models. This will ensure you are now settled enough to understand the assigned problem statement for the project and the outcomes/metrics that will measure your performance for the same.

Post this, it is time to directly jump into your project and use your acquired knowledge and resources to design a flowchart of your activities to arrive at a solution. This will involve a preliminary plan to proceed, important parameters to focus upon, following up on previously devised industrial practices, framework analysis, and carefully constructed notes on emerging trends and developments in the industrial market.

To make things easier, communicate with various stakeholders and experts that provide a concise view on the strategic feasibility, implementation, and impacts that a step of approach creates to resolve different issues. Gradually, clarity evolves to choose the optimal way to proceed that provides or maximizes the utility of the defined outcome. Typical meetings or regular brainstorming of ideas can greatly reduce doubts and little hiccups that you encounter on the way. Therefore, don’t rush to obtaining a solution without confirmation and thorough research of facts to avoid last-minute crisis. These little things go a long way to ensure that your final presentation is well received by the majority of stakeholders that reflects the ways and values the company aligns itself to.

Last but not the least, be prepared with anticipated questions and doubts that you are likely to face regarding the work you have done, outcomes achieved and the notes on the Final Presentation you will present to the concerned officials. It is no wonder that your Presentation skills should be excellent with the concise textual matter but supporting visual reports and facts that enforce your views and looks to the proposed solutions concerning various scenarios.
Keep a cool mind and be confident. The rest is on your meticulous way to manage your time and efforts to the fullest.

Getting a PPO depends not only on how well you did, but how well you reflect your skills and knowledge to be part of the company!

About the Author:

Som Samantray, a Chemical Engineer by qualification has pursued MBA (Marketing and Data Analytics) from IIM Kashipur. He has been part of various student bodies like the Econs-Economics Club and TEDxIIMKashipur. He is a fresher and is an ardent reader of books and novels and a blogger. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

How to ace Summer Internships from the lens of an ICICI PPO holder

The batch of 2020-22 is looking forward to their internships amid all the uncertainties around. Hopefully, this little helping hand from my experience and learnings of my internship with ICICI Bank Ltd. will help you plan your internship better, especially if you are looking to secure a PPO:

1. Understand your deliverables: Be clear with the deliverables and expectations of your project. It is better to know your focus areas in the deliverables.

2. Schedule to finish your SIP deliverables in 6 weeks: If you are on two months SIP, keep the last two weeks for any unforeseen issues, prepare your presentation, practice it and present it to your mentor before your final presentation.

3. Listen to as many employees as possible: You might be new to an industry and organization. It is tough without the experience of people inside to comprehensively complete your deliverables. Hence, listen to as many associated departments and employees as to widen your understanding. 

4. Let your guide keep track: Most of the time, your mentors might also be busy with their routine work. You must update your day-to-day work to them. You can share a tracker sheet where you can update your work regularly. Also, it is good practice to share your weekly reports and presentation.

5. Maintain your relations: While you connect to many employees in the organization, your approach, behavior, and people management are widely noticed and sometimes regarded above your work. Hence, maintain good relations with people around, especially with your guide and manager.

6. Keep your references handy: During your story creation, back your thought process with your research reference. It adds credibility to your ideas, highlights your understanding, and shows your work.

7. Focus on Story Line: During your final presentation, focus on your story and inferences along with relevant data. Try not to pack your presentation slides with data. Also, mention your challenges and learnings from your internship towards the end of your presentation.

With these tips, I wish good luck with your SIP to the whole of the bright minds of batch 20-22. Hope to see you all on the other side with a PPO.

About the Author:

Vineeth Rao Sudhati is a student of MBA, batch of 2019 -21 from IIM Kashipur with majors in Operations and Marketing. He is a part of various student bodies like the Alumni Relations Committee and Prep Cell. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Acing the Cases – From the Horse’s Mouth

Case competitions are an integral part of B School life- not only because you get a kind of exposure but also the enormous amount of learning involved with it. Undoubtedly, academics form the basic ingredient of B School but also fine-tune yourself by participating in several International, National & Corporate Competitions. In one such international competition I participated (Zurich Enterprise Challenge), we did not manage to get into the Semi finale stage, but the problem statement was what attracted us the most. The statement demanded the vision for businesses & multinational enterprises post-Covid world.

Amidst the cramped schedule of a B School life, you would not get the time to do all the cases and do proper justice to them. So, picking and choosing the cases becomes a key aspect. “Pick a case and absolutely slaughter it” – should be the mantra. This indeed goes a long way, as a proper approach to a case requires a lot of research and groundwork & it effectively drains out oneself. Picking up simultaneous case competitions will not be a smart choice as the effort gets divided. There’s no fixed one-size-fits-all for the competitions. The main aim of competition varies on a case-to-case basis – sometimes it’s the PPO/PPI/ personal brand building, sometimes it’s the brand and sometimes it’s just the learning one can get by participating in it.

During my 2 years in IIM Kashipur, one thing I effectively learned is “perseverance holds the key to success.” In the first year, I did not participate much effectively in competitions except the only one in which our team won the title of National Winners in IIM Trichy. I felt that with the second year in the fold, it was wise to participate in the competitions that were restricted only to the first years. 

In the second year, it becomes clearer as the domain gets selective – for example, in the second year, I mostly participated in Marketing, Consulting, and Strategy competitions. Moreover, you learn a lot from your mistakes, in fact, the bitter pills you swallow shape up for the upcoming ones. In one such corporate competition organized by Infosys, a minor mistake from our end did cost our entry to the next round. So, these competitions, indeed serve as a replica, to what one might expect from the corporate world – “there are no free lunches incorporated.” One great aspect of participating in various case competitions is that you get to know in-depth about specific sectors you work in while preparing for the cases. The cases are handpicked live industry cases where the participants work towards developing a feasible and sustainable solution.

Lastly, one key aspect of nailing case competitions is having a core team that is well aware of their capabilities & weaknesses. There would be issues cropping up, arguments but the key is the light at the end of the road – a potentially feasible solution. A good team can indeed be a game-changer. Everybody must have set, defined roles within the team.

With this, I ended up with 2 National Winners, 2 Runners Up, 1 National Semi-finalist, and 3 National Finalists in my tally. Of course, you win some and lose some, but the key thing is “Never Stop, Never Settle.” The entire journey of participating in several competitions (National/ Corporate/ International) plays a pivotal role in shaping up one’s journey. For me, it was about going beyond the stereotypes, building and rebuilding myself. Always remember “What brought you here, won’t take you there.”

Each individual has a different story to tell, but selecting the right atmosphere is of utmost essential. I would like to thank IIM Kashipur and the stakeholders for putting up commendable effort and providing individuals with the right kind of atmosphere in which they can rebuild and transform themselves throughout their stay.

About the Author:
Rahul is an Electronics & Communication Engineer by qualification & completed his MBA from IIM Kashipur (19-21 batch). He has been recognized as the Top 100 Competitive Business Leaders’2021 by Dare2Compete and has been featured in Forbes India. He is an IT professional with 2 years of experience in Cognizant. In his past time, he likes solving puzzles & binging on OTT platforms. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Journey of winning ‘ICICI Bank Beat the Curve 2019’ – A step towards being 4th in D2C Competitive B schools 2021

From the beginning of the campus rounds, we focused on the aspect of bringing the youth’s (millennial) perspective to our case solution. For the competition, ICICI Bank Beat the Curve 2019, we chose to suggest an innovative product that will help attract people from 20 to 30 years of age towards the services of the Bank.  

The Challenge

We started by gathering a lot of primary data by getting responses from more than 1000 individuals of varied age groups and localities. The competition had three stages – a campus round, Stage 2 (semi-final), and a Final round. We spent close to 20 hours on the semi-final and the final rounds. The mentorship provided during the semi-final round was particularly very useful. There we understood what aspects of our solution we need to focus upon.

The Winning team – Team Ideates

There were 6 teams who made it to the Grand finale of the competition. They were from institutes like IIFT, FMS, JBIMS, IIM R, etc. During the presentations of the final round, we particularly felt that the team from JBIMS had put in a lot of research in building their solution. But we were confident about our solution as well as the presentation. Both Shubham and I were part of a winning team even in the first year of our MBA. The experience and learning during that competition certainly helped us here. We had confidence in each other. While preparing for the presentation, we helped each other out in finding faults critically and correcting each other. One of us was a late-night worker and the other was an early bird. Instead of quarreling over finding a common time to work, we took it as a plus point. We worked over this across time, building on each other’s work and just cross-checking before submitting the work when we were short on deadlines!

The moments that mattered

The panel of judges was from the leadership team at ICICI Bank. The competition had a unique and amazing judgment criterion. Along with the jury panel, the audience that comprised 50 senior-level executives of ICICI Bank, scored the different teams on 4 parameters. It was based on parameters like research depth, presentation quality, innovation of the solution, and the QnA round. One key learning in this competition was that the delivery of your presentation is as important as the hard work done while building the solution. Also, it is important that you look at your solution from the audience’s perspective. This helps you judge your own presentation before anyone else does! Well, there were two amazing moments for us. One was during the QnA, where we could justify a question put up by a senior executive sitting in the audience. Later, when we took our seats after the presentation, he came to us and praised our solution. That was really reassuring. The second was obviously during the declaration of results when our team, ‘Team Ideates from IIM Kashipur‘ was announced as the National Winners of ICICI Bank Beat The Curve 2019 and we were called on stage!

About the Author:
Chirag Dixit, MBA from Indian Institute of Management Kashipur and currently works with Bloomberg in their Financial Products team.
He has also been a part of the Placement Committee of the institute for both years and has worked in fostering relationship between the institute and industry on various levels. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.



Future of data visualization tools in business analytics

– Team MPRC, IIM Kashipur – 

We are in the age of data science. The ever-growing complexities of data science welcome a whole new scope to unlock the power of data. With big data rising at an exponential rate, it is becoming essential to organise, filter, analyse, and visualise data to gain a competitive edge in the business. Data visualization is gaining traction. According to Gartner, by 2025, data storytelling will emerge as an industry trend, with 75 percent of the stories automatically generated using augmented analytics techniques.These techniques are at the center of revolutionising the sense of looking at data differently and thereby enhance the experience of analysing data.

Prof. Vivek Anand talks to the Media and Public Relations Committee (MPRC), about the scope of data visualization for the managers of tomorrow, and more.  

Prof. Vivek Anand is currently associated with Wilson Consulting Private Limited as an operations director. He is a data visualization consultant with 17 years of experience and has done MBA from Monash University Melbourne Vic. with an area of specialization including Marketing & Econometrics. He has a background in Sales & Marketing with leading Indian hospitality brands across the country. His inclination to analytics made him switch roles 8 years ago to become a full-time consultant in analytics and spearhead corporate training for Wilson Consulting in India and the US. He is a qualified trainer of some leading tools in the industry such as Tableau & Power BI and has a passion for teaching. He is also an adjunct or visiting faculty at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Great learnings, SP Jain, IIT Madras, IIM Kashipur, IIM Calcutta, IIM Trichy, IIM Ranchi, IIM Kashipur.

[MPRC]– What is data visualization? How important is it today?   

[VA].- So to give it to you in a nutshell, Data Visualisation is trying to look at data or trying to see or perceive patterns in the most effective manner. That’s what it is. It’s not a tool if I may say, I would rather call it science and I think it forms a vital part when it comes to business operations because we are moving into a phase where data is becoming the key. One of the biggest challenges that organizations face is how to best organize data, how to best seek patterns and once you find a pattern, the next task is how to best present it as a story or a dashboard or something. So I would say it is extremely crucial when you want to kind of make any sense of the data.

[MPRC]– How is this science helping the managers to perceive a pattern?

[VA]–  When you are trying to perceive a pattern, the intent is to try and get the answers. The interpretation must happen as quickly as a reflex action. Say, for example, you are made to touch a 500 degrees Celsius hot iron ball, your spontaneous reaction would be to take a hand off the ball. Now, you need to have a similar kind of reaction when you see data. Without even thinking for a second, you must be able to get the answers as quickly as you can without having too much hand-holding or too much help. That’s when you know that you have actually got it right. And also the thing is no one has the time or bandwidth to really sit and ponder old things to see what it was all about. So if we don’t get things right, we won’t get that kind of reaction from your audience.

[MPRC]– From a managerial point of view, prior to 2010, there were not many tools for data visualization. As we remember when we were in school, we were still using PowerPoint and it was just the beginning. But right now a lot of software has come up. So which software is used in the market right now?

[VA]. – Okay so, I’ll give you an answer for a software. There are so many tools like Tableau to lead with today. There is Power Bi for rich visualization and multiple other tools like Qlikview etc. A lot of tools are there. There are tools which are user-friendly, like drag and drop feature. Some of them require a bit of coding. But, I would say that learning software is not going to give you science. Just to tell you something, whatever that can be done with all these cutting-edge tools, can also be done with Microsoft Excel. It is just that it needs a little extra bit of time and effort.

The tool is not again a bit of a challenge because a tool which is learnt at the drop of a hat today might completely transform tomorrow. So tools should never be a constraint for learning and that is something that I keep telling everyone, organizations and students especially. To students, I advise that don’t worry about the tool at all but rather learn science. Transfer science to whatever tool you have. If an organization has an XYZ tool and you do not have any other choice, you still have to make do with what you have. So that’s something that I always believe in.

[MPRC]–Has there been any instances where this data visualization science has helped you or your clients in figuring out problems that might not have been possible with traditional approaches to data handling?

[VA] – Actually yes. Quite some time back. In fact when I was working for one of the hotel chains. I had joined the company recently and I was looking at its past years’ data performances and all that. We realized that the hotel was dipping very largely in terms of occupancies. Now, there were a lot of reasons as to why the occupancies were dipping…so on and so forth. Oh! I still remember the charts very vividly in my mind. We had access to a lot of reports from hotel agents, something called a spy report and a lot of other reports, basically numbers. We realized that when we actually did a very effective visual technique, we were able to see how the market is trending. We saw that the market was still growing at a very rapid rate. Everybody was growing except for the company that I worked for. So that was where the problem came about and we realized that it was not the market that was not growing but we were the one not growing. So the next move was to find who is actually the one who has kind of taken away from us and who is doing better. There were multiple lines. We saw that the year that we started having dips in occupancy levels, a couple of chains were actually gaining momentum and there was a very inverse proportion. As ours was dipping down, we saw that they were growing better and better. So that was a very fantastic and early indicator that I saw, the way things are actually coming up pretty well. Another example that I can share is one of the companies that I had worked for. They worked in a manufacturing setup; safety is of utmost importance. It was a US-based company so all the more reason they were very paranoid about safety than a lot of other folks because of a fear of lawsuits or claims. We were able to foresee how accidents were likely to occur. So the kind of visual that we created came with an effective technique which captured a lot of factors indicating a potential accident. We had to take a lot of corrective actions. So that kind of really averted a potential crisis. I mean nothing happened in the end of it but there were a lot of indicators based on things. So that’s another fantastic example that I can think of. There are so many examples we stumble upon every day but these are two diverse examples where I can think of applications.

[MPRC]– What would you suggest for the managers who are interested in data science and visualization and how they can develop this knowledge?

[VA]– See again, there are two kinds of audiences that one can talk about: a person who creates an actual report and the other who consumes the report. So a report consumer needs to have a different set of skill sets and the one who is going to create the report must have slightly different skill sets. I am assuming if a person is a manager and he may have someone working for him or maybe he is a director or VP of a good company, I don’t expect him or her to learn technology. For example, suppose you got a platform which requires complex coding. All you need to do is know that you have to understand how to read the results and absorb it. That’s the kind of learning that I would recommend a manager to get himself or herself acquainted with. If you are a marching soldier and you are the one who is going to create the reports, then you need to have a couple of tools. First of all, you need to have the technological input. You need to also have the science of visualization. While you have the science, you also need to make sure that you do things right. You must be one step ahead of the manager. Therefore, the one who is developing should be twice as smart as a manager. That’s the irony but then that’s how things work.

So in terms of decision-making, you want to support the manager with the right quality of output so that they are able to absorb. And of course, with their experience in the business, they will make the right decisions.

[MPRC]– So in your opinion at this moment, what is happening in the industry? Do you think that the data visualization is not being given the importance as it should have been?

[VA] – The thing is…it’s the mindset of a lot of people. To give you a little insight into it, the particular clients that I have been dealing with, they had a very stereotypical mindset. They are the ones who have not been able to think beyond what they have been doing. So for them, it is a concept selling that you still have to do.  I think they are happy in their own space. They are happy with what they are doing and they don’t really wish to evolve into the next level. So there is nothing that you or I can do. But having said that there is also another whole bunch of cohorts where things are very different, where people are actually now adapting to this entire concept. They are embracing this whole idea. They want to really see how to make it fit into the reader or the business operations. They are getting very data-driven. But everyone does not have the skill set. Because that’s a different piece altogether that one has to know. But this is starting to grab people’s attention and the trend is changing. I can see it’s slowly changing.

[MPRC]–  When did you realize that you should pursue a career in data visualisation?

[VA] –  So I must admit I am not the brainchild behind this particular thing at least as far as I am concerned. I must owe this to my brother who is taking a leap more than I did to take it back to where we started. To give you a background, he used to work for a utilities firm back in the US. I think he was more on the supply chain side. Back then all that they were doing in his team was simply reporting. They were just getting reports and putting them in different forms. Nobody was really taking any sort of action with the data. So I think what he actually did from there in the early 2000s is to start to take some actions on data. It was a very rudimentary technique to really get going with how to generate some meaningful insights from the data. Back then I think they would not do it anywhere. There was not a lot of content. there was not a lot of technology also to support something in this space. Simultaneously, while my brother was working in the US. I had gone to do Master’s in Australia and I also picked up a sense for Analytics. So to be very honest that’s when I kept hearing things on a very similar note. We also had a lot of exchange students from the US. We interacted with some folks and we understood that there was a buzz. There is going to be some sort of explosive technologies. We could pre-empt. People are talking about it that this is going to be big. There was a lot of hype getting built in its own capacity. So that’s when I started to think about this as a thing. I said, maybe this could be a potential career path, but I guess for me what happened was I was basically inclined into analytics and I found that this was a very useful feature or a very useful skillset to have if you are going to get into the analytics profession. So as a career path, yes, that’s when the whole thing I can take it back.

[MPRC]–  So you have been in the industry for almost the past 10 years. Based on that, what is your opinion about the industry trends or the career option which anyone can have in this field?

[VA]. – A career path just on data visualization alone is something where I would not put all my eggs in one basket. This has to be in combination with all your other learnings.  So today, If you want to make a career path in this alone, it’s a very slim chance. Because right now, as a student if you try to set a career for the first time, you need to be a jack-of-all-trades, you can’t just be a master of none. It happens over a point in time, once you have your expertise. So right now, my recommendation is to learn everything. You don’t know when what will come in handy. Because you need to have your skill set in analytics, data mining, business analytics, forecasting etc. Put all your regressions, your modelling techniques and you should be able to combine visualization as a part of your data model as well. If that works well, I think it is a fantastic career path.

(Prof. Vivek Anand teaches data visualization at IIM Kashipur). 

How to fill the MBA(Analytics) registration form for IIM Kashipur?

Here is a step by step guide on how to fill the MBA(Analytics) registration form of IIM Kashipur

Step 1:

Go to the link: http://iimkashipur.ac.in/academics/mba-analytics

The official website of IIM Kashipur will open with the registration link for MBA Analytics

Step 2:

Before registering you need to pay the application fee as per your category. The details of the same can be found under the Application fee tab.

You can pay either through NEFT or SBI collect. In case you choose to pay via SBI Collect the following dialog box will appear

Click on the check box and proceed further.

In the ‘Select Payment Category’ option, choose the MBA ANALYTICS — Application Fees option and proceed further.

On the next page that appears,

Provide the necessary personal and account details. Pay the fees, download the receipt and note down your transaction ID

Step 3:

Go back to the link: http://iimkashipur.ac.in/academics/mba-analytics and click on the registration link 1 or 2.

The following dialog box will appear

Click on the ‘New User Sign-up Here’ option. It will direct you to the following page

Fill in your name, valid email ID, Mobile Number, and set a password. Click on REGISTER NOW.

Following this, you will receive an activation link on your registered email ID.

The next step is to click on the activation link which will direct you to the following page

Following this, you will get a message that your account is activated. Login with your credentials and move ahead with the registration. After logging in, the form asking for your personal details will open.


Step 4:

Fill in all the details in the next step. Ensure the desired file size limit when you upload your photograph and signature. Fill in your temporary and permanent address details.

Finally, fill in your transaction details, name of the bank along with other details, and click on NEXT.

Step 5:

In this step, you have to fill in your educational background and related details. Make sure you fill in the exact figures as mentioned in your original documents. Further, you need to fill in the details of your qualifying exam (CAT or GMAT)

Also, fill in your scholarships and professional work-experience details. Click on NEXT

Step 6:

The next step is to upload the mark sheet of your qualifying exam. Post that, you can preview the entire form and check for any errors. Sign the declaration and submit the form.