“Predicting rain doesn't count, building arcs does.”– Warren Buffet
In a broader sense, we all wish to be problem solvers. A scientist invests, an investor hedges, a manager strategizes, and an engineer builds, to solve problems. It is our inherent nature to find the solution to hindrances and improve existing work to increase the returns, monitor or otherwise. Today, when I envisage the fast-moving world, the one thing that is eminent is huge amounts of data that govern the day to day mechanisms of this period. To say the least, the colossal potential to cable the data and the intellectual impact that it can have on arriving at bright business insights is simply overwhelming. I strongly believe that the world is being transmuted by what we call ""Big Data"" and it unlocks an incredible opportunity in applications related to business, industry, crime, security and various other fields. These deep bearings compelled me, both intellectually and professionally, to pursue a career in the field of analytics.
My background as an engineer provides me with skills to understand a problem, think logically, make strong decisions and determine solutions through analytical reasoning. Over time, I have realized that in a business, what matters is not how well you can sell something, but rather, how well informed you are when making business decisions to identify new opportunities, improve processes and target potential customers. I have come to appreciate business analytics as the backbone of success for any business.
I pursued my bachelor’s degree in Mechanical engineering at VIT University, Vellore and my work at college revolved around technical projects, volunteering at the National Service Scheme and organizing various events during cultural fests. My tryst with analytics started during this time and I chose various advanced mathematical courses with an aim to develop my analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities. I also attended numerous workshops in the areas of Robotics, Computer-aided design and Innovation management. Over the course of my undergraduate studies, I successfully executed multiple technical projects encompassing diverse topics such as ‘Building Mathematical Models for Applications of Game Theory’, ‘Design and Fabrication of a Mechanical Washing Machine’, ‘Reengineering a Bus Chassis’ and a Research study on ‘Energy Saving using Green Facades’. I believe that the skills I have developed during this tenure, and the ardor for continuous learning has imbibed in me the level of competence required to pursue a master’s degree in this field. After all, the core concept of business analytics is developing new insights based on data and who better than a newcomer to provide that new perspective!
Being an art enthusiast and a firm believer in all round development as a person, I persisted and acquired excellent organizing skills by actively participating in extracurricular activities. As a member of one of the cultural clubs in my college, I had the opportunity to organize multiple events, many of which turned out to be astounding successes. I quickly grew in this role and was eventually elected as the Vice-Chairperson of the college Cultural Club, which I consider one of my proudest accomplishments. I also took an active part and volunteered for community events such as participating in National Service Scheme camps in which initiatives were taken to serve medicine, clean surroundings and plant trees in adopted villages. I was an active member in a community-based organization called ""Ed For All"" where we spent our spare time teaching kids from grades 4 through 8 in nearby schools. All these activities made me feel engaged and helped me transform into a multifaceted individual with strong interpersonal skills.
In my final year, I underwent job placements and chose ""Ford Motor Company"" for their exemplary values and commitment to technology. At Ford, I was introduced to an orientation program involving cross functional training and familiarization with different projects. In one such training session, I got the chance to speak with the Director of the Global Data Insights and Analytics team where he explained to me about how Data Analytics could improve business processes. This intrigued me, and my interest in learning about new things led me to ask him for an opportunity to contribute to their team, which went a long way. I found a position in the Analytics team, where I started interacting with my team members and got acquainted with tools like Alteryx and QlikView. I soon became a part of a new project where we developed a dashboard that dealt with delivery metrics for the shop floor in our manufacturing plant. The freedom to develop my skills across different platforms at Ford motivated me to go further and take a serious interest in the subject. I also partnered with the Material Planning & Logistics team on a project where we had reduced the logistics cost just by optimizing the way automotive parts are placed in containers, thereby utilizing near full space which cut down the cargo utilization by nearly half. Over time, I realized and believed that, in any industry, a person with knowledge on core concepts and the ability to optimize or improve business through analytics can add huge value.
My ardor to learn more in the field of Analytics and develop my conceptual knowledge made me choose to pursue a master’s degree in this field. So, here I am today at University of Connecticut School of Business as a graduate student pursuing Business Analytics and Project Management (MSBAPM) course. Ending the glimpse of what I had done so far, I would further like to talk about my future goals and career aspirations.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible” said Tony Robbins. I believe that, without setting goals, one would not be learning anything in their careers. The learning curve will remain constant and making a progress would seem ghostly. Setting the right goals, moving in the right direction and being able to climb up your development ladder is the most important to do to ultimately build a successful career. Being a well-organized person, I have always managed to set the right goals to ultimately make an advancement in my career. Below are few, but not limited to, goals I tried to achieve from the year 2011.
Going forward, I feel that the field of Analytics will see an increase in professionals from every stream and this can help make better use of the ever-increasing data through experienced professionals who can transmute and apply it to wide-ranging scenarios. And when that happens, I want to be ready for the challenge. In the next 5 years, I would love to see myself applying analytical methods like Optimization, Forecasting and Statistics and contribute to the field of Applied Analytics in Automobile industry. I have always been an ardent lover of the automotive field and it would be one of the great opportunities to be able to apply my BAPM knowledge in this field.
Being a Mechanical engineer, I want to make the best use of my master’s program and eventually apply my diverse technical knowledge to improve practices in the Supply Chain and Manufacturing industry. Moving forth, this being my long-term goal, I envision myself finding a position within the sphere of decision makers who determine the tide of businesses across the globe. Below is the road to my future depicting my envisions for the next 10 years-
Setting goals is just the stepping stone to success but it requires a lot of effort to become capable of achieving them. In order to make sure our goals are clear and achievable, one should follow the SMART goal setting approach:
It is important that our goals are clear and Specific to be able to focus on what exactly must be done and achieve it. My goal to get placed in one of the fortune 500 companies as a Data Analyst will give me the opportunity to develop the skills I will require mastering before establishing a start-up in India. Currently, I am only a fresher to the analytics field and going forward, I want to equip myself with Programming skills (Python, SQL, R), Analytical techniques (Predictive Analytics, Marketing Analytics) and get acquaintance with the tools like SAS, JMP and SPSS.
It is not a cake walk to establish a start-up, especially in Bangalore, India, which is known to be the IT hub of India. Gaining just the technical skills would not fetch me the right strength to start my own company. I would also require additional training and experience to do so. For the same, I would like to try my hands-on different industries, especially automobile, because I have always had a tryst for automotive industry and being a mechanical engineer, who better to explore it. I also want to lead a team to be able to develop the leadership skills to ultimately perform my best while running my start-up.
To achieve the above set goals, it is also necessary to assess my traits and behaviors that will open a room for improvement and help me get closer to achieving my set goals.
I took a leadership assessment (self and others) which depicted the leadership style based on whether an individual has a task-oriented or relationship-oriented type of a behavior. Below are the results from the test-
From the above test results, it is evident that I follow a relationship-oriented leadership style and I accept that it is verifiable. Though I am an introvert and it takes me a lot of time to get to know people, I always empathize their feelings. My main aim is to build a healthy relationship with all the team members to ensure a conflict-free work environment. I value the emotions of my peers and that stands as my foremost priority while working with a team. I believe in motivating and developing people in my teams to encourage collaboration and foster positive relationships among them. I think that team work will promote a space where ideas can be exchanged freely. I am more inclined towards working in a team as I believe that interacting with other problem-solvers will help in designing more innovative solutions. Since I am a beginner in the field of Analytics, I think being in a team would help me learn things quickly and give me the opportunity to know about different approaches to Analytics. I also took the MBTI test and turned out to be an individual with an INFJ type personality.
I have always considered myself as an Introvert and according to the test, I am a 56% Introverted person. Though I am relationship-oriented, it takes me a lot of time to be able to start talking to unfamiliar people. I am also terrified of Public speaking, but I wouldn’t say I am not trying to develop certain traits that would help me reach my set goals. The intuitive nature of mine comes from the ability to scrutinize things and focus on every task I do. The feeling trait verifies my relationship-oriented behavior from the above test. Though I am at the lower level (3%), the strive to always be well-organized (which I consider is an OCD in my case) and strategize before any small task I do endorses the Judgmental nature I possess.
In order to achieve my goals, hone my strengths and work on my weaknesses, I need to follow and do certain things which are as follows-
These are only few among many of the actions that I need to follow to ultimately achieve my set goals. I need to interact more with people, try to talk to them and start being comfortable around larger crowds. In order to hone my technical skills, I should attend different workshops held at the university and focus on learning new ways to develop my quick-thinking ability. Henceforth, I would like to practice my leadership skills by motivating and supporting my younger cousins. All these developmental strategies, finally, will help me reach a satisfactory point in my career.
“Positive Leadership is empowering ourselves to eventually achieve our set goals”
Harvard Business Review “Leadership is a Conversation”
Harvard Business Review “What Leaders really Do”
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