Interview- Prithwis Mukerjee, Program Director – Business Analytics at Praxis Business School

Interview- Prithwis Mukerjee, Program Director – Business Analytics at Praxis Business School

This article appeared on Analytics India Magazine on November 16, 2013 in Interviews. The original article could be accessed on Analytics India Magazine website.

AIM – Analytics India Magazine: Can you brief us about the course curriculum and pedagogy of analytics education at your institute?
PM – Dr. Prithwis Mukerjee: The Post Graduate Program in Business Analytics emerged after feedback from Analytics industry practitioners revealed the absence of a durable talent pipeline. The feedback was that students were either strong in maths/statistics (the analytics part) and weak in the grasp of business operations (the business part) – which was typical of students with a strong quantitative background, or the other way around – which was true of many MBA students. Praxis program attempts to bridge the gap in order to develop and create industry ready Business Analytics professionals.
The curriculum – which attempts to blend the basics of business management with the requisite knowledge of data analytics – has emerged after considerable discussion with industry practitioners, including a formal presentation at the Analytics Forum meet in Bangalore.
The Course comprises the following broad components:

  • Technology Skills: a good understanding of the software available and a deep enough understanding to extract and analyze data
  • Statistical Modeling and Analytical Skills: knowledge of the statistical tools and techniques available and the ability to create models
  • Applying analytics to business situations: an understanding of the business gives a backdrop of why the data is being collected, and this can enhance the quality of the analysis
  • Communication and Soft Skills: presenting the analysis so as to be “user friendly” is a key deliverable for an Analytics person

More specifically, the curriculum covers the following:

  • The theoretical aspects of statistics, data mining and machine learning
  • Technology platforms like Excel, R, SAS, Hadoop, NOSQL like MongoDB and the Amazon EC2 cloud
  • The business aspect of analytics with focus on the financial sector, telecom and retail.

AIM: How is your institute different from other players in India providing analytics training and education?
PM: We focus on offering our students a comprehensive analytics experience, thus equipping them with the knowledge and skills required for a career in this domain. This implies far more coverage, rigor and hands-on lab-work than the average tool-based program(s) that promise an unreal short cut to an analytics career.
Also, Praxis has collaborated intensively with ICICI Bank and PwC – these two corporate giants have provided knowledge support and guidance to make the program effective and relevant.
The course is delivered by an exceptional faculty team with superior academic pedigree and relevant industry experience.

  • Technology area
    • – Conceptualized and co-delivered by a team from PwC BI practice
  • Analytics area
    • – Taught by a team comprising Praxis faculty and practitioners
  • Business Management area
    • – Taught by the Praxis faculty team
  • Financial Services Analytics
    • – Designed and delivered by the head of BI, ICICI Bank
  • Retail Analytics
    • – Designed and delivered by the co-founder of Abzooba, an analytics firm head-quartered out of West Coast USA
  • Retail Analytics
    • – Designed and delivered by the Abzooba team

AIM: What are the major obstacles facing education on data and analytics in India?
PM: On the demand side, a lot of people seem to be unaware of importance of data analytics in a digital society and the employment opportunities that exist for people with the right skills. The supply side is saddled with a serious shortage of trainers equipped with the knowledge, skills and industry experience required to build the next generation of analytics professionals.

AIM: Can you provide three examples of employers where you have placed your student and name the job titles into which they were placed? What were their average starting salaries?
PM: Praxis students were able to win excellent profiles in reputed organizations like PwC, ICICI Bank, Fidelity, Target, iCreate, Bridgei2i, 3i-Infotech, ICRA, IDC, and Millward Brown. The salaries range from 3 Lakhs to 14 Lakhs. The average salary offered to students is Rs. 6.37 Lakh.
Here are few examples:

Organization Profile offered Location
PricewaterhouseCoopers Principal Consultant in Consulting SBU Kolkata
Target Corporation Trainee Business Analyst (Grade 7) Bangalore
BRIDGEi2i Analytics Solutions Business Analyst Bangalore


AIM: What are the most significant challenges you face being in the forefront of analytics space?
PM: There are not enough people in India who have the skills to meet client expectations. We are where ERP was in 2001, the country was awash with post Y2K cobol programmers but market had moved to SAP. This is why high-quality education is a critical need.

AIM: What is your projection of the growth of analytics education in the future?
PM: A McKinsey study says there’s going to be a shortage of 140,000 – 190,000 analytics professionals in the next couple of years. I am sure educational institutions will come forward to address this gap – while am not going into CAGR’s, am confident that the area is poised for double-digit growth across both physical and virtual platforms.

AIM: What according to are the most important rising trends in analytics today?
PM: The two broad trends are: one, firms are realizing that they need to develop analytics competence if they aspire to compete; two, Big Data is a reality and Hadoop is moving into the mainstream as more and more people get to understand this fantastic new technology.

AIM: Anything else you wish to add?
PM: I believe that the influence of Analytics is only going to grow moving forward and India with its natural advantage in the capability to price ratio will become the analytics hub of the world. We thus need to prepare ourselves for this and the key to that is creating infrastructure to develop trained professionals. Praxis wishes to play a significant role in this endeavor – we offer a one-year full-time course in Business Analytics, a two-year business management program with an analytics specialization and a week-end course from our city campus for time-poor professionals. We also deliver analytics awareness workshops for the industry. We would be happy to collaborate with other institutions and corporate firms in this area.

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