Aman Bhatnagar, Co-founder, NebulARC Technologies shares in his interview that classroom lectures & faculty mentoring received at Great Lakes exposed him to the idea of entrepreneurship

Q&A

  • Please tell us about NebulARC Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

NebulARC is a tech startup solving the most pertinent problem of lack of supply chain visibility across various industries. Via our IoT-driven, AI-enabled product, we are enabling the businesses to enhance their operational efficiency & reduce the losses due to lack of real-time insights across the supply chain, thereby, leading to transformation of the supply chains into profit centers. We are a small team of 12 technocrats with founding team having total industry experience of 50+ years and have Indian Navy as one of our first customers. We are proud to be the digital transformation enablers for the defense warriors of India.

  • What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

My inspiration for entrepreneurship was a combination of both – working around & learning from some good leaders at Knowlarity & some pure good luck. While working at Knowlarity, I interacted with many former entrepreneurs day in, day out. All were heading one or the other verticals at the company and while working as a Data Product Manager, I would chat with them about their journey and their success & failure stories along with the inputs about the new product I was working on. Then, there was Mr. Ambarish Gupta, our CEO at Knowlarity. Seeing him work meticulously to solve every problem was a boon for me. I understood all the small vagaries of entrepreneurship by observing the way he handled his daily activities.

My luck came after almost 3 years, having left Knowlarity & working on Supply chain problems of US based MNCs as an Analytics Lead Product for a startup. As luck would have it, out of nowhere, I met my current Co-founder, Alok Sharma at a common forum. He was also trying to solve supply chain problems for his clients. We exchanged our ideas and clicked instantly and we decided to work together. Had he not agreed, I think I would have had to look out for support for a longtime & may not have gone ahead with this idea instantly. So, on 12th March, 2018 NebulARC was born & we set out to bootstrap our way & earn success the hard way.

  • How did your Great Lakes experience help you in your entrepreneurial journey?

I was exposed to Entrepreneurship first time at Great Lakes. There were four aspects of my Great Lakes journey that have made a big impact on my short entrepreneurial journey till date –

1. Guest/Industry Lectures & my stint as a Placement Committee member– I still remember, our very first Guest Lecture by Mr. Aloke Bajpai from ixigo.com. Listening to him that day laid foundation for entrepreneurship within me. The foundation became stronger each day while interacting with all the brilliant industry faculties (most of them entrepreneurs) either during guest lectures, as course faculties or during my interaction as a Placement Committee member.

2. Brilliant Resident Faculties– The most important part of GLIM for me was the knowledge I gained from our superb resident faculties especially Himadri Sir, Uma Sir & Bappa Sir. Being from the tech background, I actually have gained all business knowledge by listening to these brilliant professors at GLIM and now, I am using their inputs on day-to-day basis.

3. The Course Design – During that 1 year, the MBA with 8 trimesters was fast, hectic & tiring. But now when I look back at those days, I think all the aspects of 1 year program prepared me for this entrepreneurial journey – the time management, prioritizing things, to persevere & solve real life business problems, to learn fast – act fast and so on.

4. My fellow Vikings of PGPM’15 batch – I learnt a lot from my fellow Great Lakers of PGPM’15 batch. The cultural understandings, our camaraderie during both success & failures, the group studies, the late night parties & then 8 am classes – all these things have helped me to fight my way through this short entrepreneurship journey.

  • What are the skills essential to become an entrepreneur?

I think the most important skill is perseverance. One can be brilliant at business skills, tech skills etc. that enable you to excel in your day-to-day job as a manager or a corporate employee but if one wants to be an entrepreneur then he/she must be ready to persevere with their goals even during hard times.

The journey seems exciting at first – you are your own boss, you can control every step, you can flaunt being an entrepreneur etc. but soon down the line you understand the reality. No monthly salary, no backups, product not shaping up as fast as you want, lack of resources but need to excel in output – all these issues lead to frustration & damaged morale. At that time, it’s your perseverance to fight on, the faith & having patience with yourself & your goal that drives you forward.

As this famous dialogue in The Matrix Revolution between NEO & Agent Smith goes –

Agent Smith : Why, Mr. Anderson? Why, why, why? Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you’re fighting for something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself, although only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can’t win. It’s pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?

Neo : Because I choose to.

  • What advice would you give to Great Lakers?

I would advise the Great Lakers –

1. to learn both inside & outside the class – from everyone around you in college

2. be active & participate as much as you can (in class, committees, competitions, seminars etc.)

3. focus on learning rather than scoring marks, each day of this journey will help you explore new things and will enable you to find your way to success, so just persevere & keep learning

Above all this, enjoy your 10 months at college as for most of you, this will be the last time you will be in a formal educational institution & may not get this opportunity again to enjoy close to 300 days with no worries of responsibilities & work pressure.

  • How do you spend your free time?

I read books or listen to them and watch movies in whatever free time I get. I actually am a big movie buff and try to watch at least one movie (laptop or theatre) every week.

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“True learning experiences lie beyond your comfort zone”, says Stuti Gandotra who manages Market Development for Middle East, Asia and Australia at Wärtsilä

Stuti Gandotra,
Market Development Manager – Middle East, Asia & Australia, Wärtsilä
MBA’13
 

Read out her interview below where she talks about her MBA journey and how working on classroom projects taught her the power of teamwork.

Questionnaire

Q) What does your role as Market Development Manager – Middle East, Asia and Australia entail?

I lead and provide analysis towards the development of policy and strategies for energy sector including issues on gas based generation, renewable energy & energy efficiency. My role involves working on different electricity markets, examine the trends in power industry,and work towards the business development efforts to provide reliable, stable & flexible grid.

Q)  How has been your experience of working at Wärtsilä?

Working with Wärtsilä has provided me with a rich and challenging experience. There are a lot of things that required me to get out of my comfort zone and all this has greatly boosted my self-belief and confidence. I got the opportunity to work with people of different nationalities. It gave me a wide exposure and opened my mind to so many new perspectives, which seem different at the onset, but when they come together, they create something beautiful. Overall, it’s been an exhilarating experience!

Q) What are the life-long learning lessons you learnt at Great Lakes Gurgaon?

Studying at Great Lakes was an enriching experience. It was for the first time that I had to pack my bags and stay away from home. This coupled with our college projects and assignments seemed like a daunting task initially. But, with the support of faculty and fellow students, I was not just able to overcome the obstacles but actually glide through it all smoothly. It also made me understand the power of teamwork at a deeper level. It truly taught me to be independent and prepared me well for the road ahead.

Q) What are the key takeaways from your professional journey?

My professional journey has been a roller coaster ride. There have been moments of triumph and failure. But, today when I look at these six years that I’ve spent at Wärtsilä, I feel truly humbled and fortunate. In every project I’ve been working, we try to make sure that our work benefits everyone. Not only Wärtsilä but our customers, stakeholders and society as a whole. Also I want to mention that the culture of trust on the employees in Wärtsilä is very strong and is the most important part of any successful business.

Q) What advices would you give to Great Lakers?

I would advise each and every one to just let themselves be a part of the experience. Network with everyone. Be a team player. Develop your people skills. Invest in yourself. I feel learning never stops and no one is an expert. And, while you’re here, just soak it all in.

Q)  What do you like to do in your free time?

I like spending my free time with friends and family. Going for short trips with them is something I enjoy during weekends and would pursue my dreams to be a travel blogger. I absolutely enjoy cooking, it helps my mind stay healthy, calm and relax

Senior Data Scientist Yeshwanth Babu talks about his experience of providing Data Science Consulting to Tech and Retails giants in Silicon Valley


Yeshwanth Babu,
Senior Data Scientist – Global Consulting
Fractal Analytics
MBA’ 13

Find out more in the interview below, where he talks about his experience of providing Data Science Consulting to Tech and Retail giants in Silicon Valley.

Q&A

  • Please tell us about your typical day at work as Senior Data Scientist.

My typical day at work starts with me looking at my project tracker – a simple document where I keep track of my short and long term projects. At any point in time, I am working on one long term project and one or two short term analysis type projects. I am also responsible for the performance of my team of 4 Analysts.

Steps in my work involve:-

  1. breaking down an abstract problem into actionable sub problems with goals
  2. extracting and cleansing the data
  3. doing extensive Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA)
  4. writing optimized and scalable code to build models
  5. measuring performance or arriving at inference
  6. finally presenting the results to business stakeholders
  • You have been working in Data Science Analytics consulting field from past 8 years. What advice would you give to students aspiring to work in this field?

Data Science consulting gives you opportunities to work on diverse set of problems. In my last 4 years, I have almost worked with most of the tech and retail giants in the Silicon Valley. You get to work with the best minds in their respective domains, but here is the catch, you are always expected to bring something new to the table. In my experience, I always felt that many a time clients hired one of us so we could provide them a fresh perspective. As a consultant you are paid by the hour, hence you always have to be on your toes, be extra prepared for the meetings. All in all you always have to be a step ahead than the rest of your product team members.

Last 4 years consulting for 10 different fortune 100 companies and 3 different emerging and high potential start- ups in the bay area taught me three great mantras-

  1. Fail Fast → Philosophy of incremental development. Cut losses when something isn’t working and quickly pivot to something new.
  2. Move Fast → Let’s say a particular problem deals with 5 lines of businesses (LOB’s) and let’s say lob A and B alone account for 85% of the business and lob A alone accounts for 60% of the revenues. I / My team would immediately go after LOB A, let’s say building a forecasting model to predict demand – supply in that lob or building an inference model to understand the $ value of a customer moving through different funnel stages in that lob. My point being solve for that 60% module, validate and report results. So that the business stakeholders have something to hold on to or plan for at least for that lob in the short term while you try to figure out the entire problem and solve for the same.
  3. Ask the right questions and always question the status quo.
  • How is working in US different than working in India?

I get to work with a diverse set of people in the US. Diversity in a team / company has huge benefits. I have been on projects where data scientists and behavioral scientists have worked together. I had the opportunity to have worked with a head chef on scenario planning regarding which cuisines the culinary team should go for on which days of the week to maximize coupon sales in the office kitchens. So to summarize in one word – Diversity.

  • What role did Great Lakes play in shaping your career?

I owe a tremendous lot to my Professors at Great Lakes. Every single class in the curriculum, right from Statistics to Economics to Ethics to Risk Management was important. I specifically want to thank a few of them whose classes I enjoyed thoroughly.

  1. Prof. Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay – Bappa sir as we call him. I adore him for his simplicity, he instilled in us one important thing – “Learning from First Principles”. First Principles thinking enables you to discover unconventional insights based on fundamental truths. We basically boil things down to fundamental truth and then reason up from there.
  2. Prof. T.N. Swaminathan – When the startup I joined post my graduation was going through some tumultuous times. I wrote to Prof Swaminathan saying I was finding it difficult to go after the positions / roles I aspired for, because my work experience was less. He immediately opened up his contacts. That was a pleasant gesture from him. He didn’t have to personally vouch for me but he did, getting the right opportunity at the right time is very difficult many a times, Prof Swaminathan gave me one and I utilized it to the fullest then.
  3. Prof Veeravalli’s class on Entrepreneurship was important at many levels. If your client is a startup or a new strategic business unit in a big firm, many a time you don’t have huge volumes of data. Your thinking needs to be a bit different in these scenarios. The metrics you go after for optimizing or predicting become much more basic. His classes already taught us these things so I didn’t have to learn it the hard way.
  • What advice would you give to Great Lakers?

I would advise them to go after the roles one desires or the ones that give them immense pleasure instead of just looking at the pay-packet size. The lessons from the curriculum and the experiences you earn will always come in handy both in the short and long term.

  • What do you do in your free time?

I developed an interest for Chess late in my life. I am currently ranked around ~1950 levels in rapids. I also play tennis on the weekends.

Understanding Analytics and Data Science in the IT Consulting Landscape


Mr. Arindam Mukhopadhyay,
Vice President & Global Head of Consulting COE, Gartner

Studying at Great lakes, Gurgaon brings unique experiences for Jaguars every day. Adding further to our enriching experience, we recently had a very exciting session with the Team Gartner. The speakers including Mr. Arindam Mukhopadhyay, VP & Global Head of Consulting COE, Mr. Sushant Mondal , Sr. Consultant and Mr. Ravi Anand, Campus Recruiter explained the topic and also spoke on  how Gartner functions for providing consultation to the IT Companies.

Beginning the session, a student introduced our guests to the audience stating their achievements, which left us Great Lakers in awe. Excited at the opportunity to learn from the best, the students welcomed our guests with a huge round of applause. Kicking off the talk for the day, Mr. Ravi gave a brief outline of the talk. He then handed over the mic to Mr. Arindam who introduced the students to Gartner and the ideals and ethics the company was built around. He then elaborated upon the various industries that Gartner provided its consulting to, customer service and support, finance, marketing and sales, research and development, etc. being a few of them. The consulting prowess of Gartner was made clear and it was welcomed as such by the eager audience.

“Trusted insights, strategic advice and practical solutions, is what Gartner offers its clientele.”, said Mr. Arindam. “Who do we serve? And “What do we do?” were the questions that flashed on the projector screen, the answers to which were extensive and exhaustive in nature. Leaving no bits out, Mr. Arindam helped create a mental image about Gartner, about what they do and how they go about doing it and finally he addressed what being an employee at Gartner entails. With this he ended his talk and called upon Mr. Sushant to take over the talk.

Mr. Sushant Mondal,
Senior Consultant, Gartner

Mr. Sushant,senior consultant at Gartner immediately won over the crowd with his smiling face and sweet demeanour. He began his part of the lecture with a question,“What is AI?”, to which he got numerous answers from the informed crowd. Welcoming all the responses, he added “The bare bones definition of AI could be,automation of something that a human can do.” The talk then briefly ventured into what AI can be in the future and how and when it will surpass the intelligence of humans. Coming back to the present, our jolly guest explained to the students the hows’ and whats’ of data. “Data is generated in huge amounts but the inferences that can and should come through the data are absent. This is where Gartner comes in. We analyse the data, provide actionable insights to the clients and help solve their business problems”, said Mr. Sushant. Adding to it he continued, “Most consultants end their work here, but at Gartner we also help with the execution of these strategies if the company desires it.”

Moving forward, Mr. Sushant gave intricate details about the processes that are followed by Gartner to provide the best possible consultation to their clientele. He then gave a few real-life examples of how Gartner had helped companies from different industries like healthcare, pension fund and manufacturing. An impromptu case was presented to the students from them to work upon in a way similar to how Gartner would, the solutions to which were then discussed.

This was indeed an extremely informative and detailed lecture by Gartner, the likes of which our Jaguars had not experienced. We are thankful to Gartner for dedicating their resources for our students, who left the auditorium which was beaming with gratitude.

Authored by Indrajeet Vadgama, PGDM ’20, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Analytics and Artificial Intelligence: An enlightening session with Mr. Jaidev Deshpande

GREAT LAKES GUEST LECTURE SERIES

Mr. Jaidev Deshpande

Senior Data Scientist, Gramener

Picture this, you’ve just had a scrumptious meal and you’re now back at your desk. The mirage of a soft bed and a warm pillow invites you to indulge in a little afternoon siesta. Your eyes feel heavy already. But if you’re a Great Laker, it would rather be a different story altogether. The ever-energetic Jaguars (and Aztecs) of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, had suited-up and gathered in the auditorium for an interesting take at Analytics and Artificial Intelligence by Mr. Jaidev Deshpande, Senior Data Scientist, Gramener, orgainzed at the campus recently. Taking the eager and curious students on a journey, our storyteller opened the talk with a brief introduction of what data analytics entails. He started off by displaying a beautiful image of ice-capped mountain ranges and asked the students to find out what’s wrong about the picture. A light murmur rang throughout the room as the students put their grey-matter to use, one of the attendees was able to identify that the peaks were extraordinarily pointed. Impressed, Mr. Jaidev said, “You are correct, the mountains are superimposed on a graph, of the US 2008 Recession to be precise.”

Moving on, he took the students on a virtual tour of the work he and his team had performed and the pinnacles they had achieved over time. He won over the enthusiastic students with the mind-boggling inferences and patterns that can come out of the data. “Nothing is random”, as Mr. Jaidev would like to state, is quite true in a practical sense. In order to drive his point home, he had a few students come up to the podium and arrange themselves randomly. Well, randomness was just an illusion, as the students were smitten when he explained that even that randomness had a pattern, which manifested itself on close observation.

The next part of his talk emphasised on knowing how to think, in terms of System 1 and System 2 thinking. Establishing references to the seminal work, “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, Mr. Jaidev explained the concept of “Availability Heuristic” through real life examples from his own personal and professional life. He further explained the significant hindrance that biases can have on the pattern recognition in data. Again, to illustrate his point, Mr. Jaidev engaged the students in identifying patterns in certain charts and data visualizations. His hypothesis was immediately confirmed and he concluded saying, “As soon as you see data, you try and find patterns in it. But these patterns are biased and you miss out on the bigger picture.”

Mr. Jaidev delivered a truly eye-opening and awe-inspiring perspective to analytics. The session went beyond just a classroom session and compelled the students to consider the infinite possibilities which they had not fathomed so far. Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon expresses its heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Jaidev for taking his time out and enlightening the curious Great Lakers with lessons that will last for a lifetime.

Author :
Indrajeet Vadgama, PGDM ’20, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Clavell Santiago rates excellent communication and presentation skills as essentials for a successful sales career.

Clavell Santiago
MBA’18
Area Sales Manager
Coffee Day Beverages, Mumbai

In the interview below, Clavell Santiago talks about life- long learning lessons he learnt at Great Lakes Gurgaon and he guides students on making best of their MBA journey. He is also a professional violinist. Read out to know more about Clavell’s journey.

Questions

  • Please tell us about your role at Coffee Day Beverages

I am currently responsible for the HoReCa segment for Coffee Day Beverages in Mumbai. The role includes Key Account and Distributor Management. Since Mumbai is the hub of various corporate offices, I also manage Pan India Accounts. Apart from this, I look after new product launches and work on the marketing mix within the segment.

  • What suggestions would you give to students aspiring for sales profiles

Sales is not easy.It requires a high degree of discipline.For a student aspiring to be in sales,he/she should be ready to handle rejection,initially this is the most difficult part of the job. Moreover,one has to be “Prepared” all the time,the market place is very competitive and in order to be ahead of competition being relevant and knowledgeable is the key to success.

  • What are the life – long learning lessons you learnt at Great Lakes

Every day at GLIM was a learning of a new sort, be it from my peers or the professors. But the most valuable lessons I learnt was from my interaction with Dr. Jones who was my mentor for the Live Project. He made me realize that even if you have the best content, but you do not present is effectively then it is of no use. I am a strong believer of this, and I also ensure my team follows this mantra in every aspect of our business communication.

  • You are handling a team at Coffee Day Beverages. What are the key skills that a good team leader should possess?

I believe that a good team leader should master the art of communication; this is a key driver towards success because at every stage your team members look up to you for direction and motivation. Further, the ability to innovate is an important skill. In today’s work environment, it is essential to lead by example and work with the team to find new ways to be more effective.

  • One quote/belief you follow in life

“Sometimes the most important life lessons are the ones we end up learning the hard way”

  • What advice would you like to give to Great Lakers

Make the most of your time at college, please don’t get too comfortable within your hostel rooms. The best part of college is that no one will ever judge you and you can afford to make mistakes, so yeah JUST KEEP MAKING MISTAKES!

  • What do you do in your free time ?

I am a professional violinist, and I do a few gigs whenever possible. I am currently also working on a solo music project which I plan to finish in the next 3 months.

From interning at Jabong to heading logistics for 5 countries at Namshi in a span of 4 years, Robin Rajan talks about building a fast track career

Robin Rajan
MBA’15
Head of Logistics, Namshi.com

Find out what Robin Rajan says about receiving life changing mentoring at Great Lakes

Questions

  • You are heading logistics at Namshi.com. How has been the journey so far?

The last few years have been fun. I was an unmotivated, average backbencher in school, and I somehow scraped through engineering after repeating multiple papers. It was only at Great Lakes, I realized the impact that great teachers can have on your motivation to learn and subsequently, I topped my Major. My career since then has shifted to the fast lane. Progressing from interning at Jabong to heading logistics for 5 countries at Namshi in a span of 4 years, I get a high from creating opportunities and proactively doing bigger and better things every day; it’s addictive.

  • To whom do you owe your success?

First and foremost, credit goes to my parents who gave me the opportunity and pushed me to focus on education. Secondly, the enthusiasm of the faculty at Great Lakes really did change me. It was invigorating to have professors who answered questions and from whose classes you’d actually learn something. They gave me hope. Thirdly, I was lucky enough to be molded by a few strong mentors at various companies. The education must never end.

  • Please share one belief/quote that you follow in your life.

“Your network is your net worth.” I first heard it from Dr. Bala. It took me a few years after Great Lakes to fully assimilate the profundity of this statement. The best professional opportunities in life do indeed come from your network.

  • Share a few words of advice for future Great Lakers.

Avoid trapping yourself into thinking “This subject isn’t relevant to me because I’m planning to get a job in XYZ” or “How is this subject ever going to help me”. I’m here to tell you that if you truly are ambitious about career growth (and aren’t doing an MBA simply to embellish your profile – in which case, party away), then every single thing you learn at Great Lakes will help you in your management career. Grab that first bench, listen attentively and devour what’s being taught. Even if you don’t directly apply some of the methods, later in your career, it will help you think more broadly and holistically about the alignment between the company’s goals, how different functions within a company operate and what’s the best way to spend your time contributing. In a highly competitive job market, knowledge separates the future leaders from the pack.

  • How do you like to spend your free time?

I’m either Youtubing at home trying to learn something new or reading non-fiction or researching my next travel destination.Life is short and there is too much wonder in this world. Every moment counts.