Master’s in Business Analytics: Maharshi Dutta, Purdue University (Krannert)

Student Name: Maharshi Dutta

Graduate Business School: Purdue University Krannert School of Management

Describe Yourself In 15 Words: A data enthusiast who is a problem solver, collaborator and a leader in the making.

Master’s Graduation Class: 2020.

Undergraduate School and Major: Aligarh Muslim University, Bachelor of Civil Technology.

Current Employer and Job Title: Deutsche Bank, Assistant Vice President.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:  There are a few I can talk about, like striking my first project proposal with my client prior to joining Purdue while working for Tata Consultancy Services, which helped the client reduce operational cost by almost $1.5-2 M, or getting my admit into Purdue in Business Analytics and Information Management (BAIM) and working with data, which was always intriguing to me. However, my proudest accomplishment would be when I got my job as an Assistant Vice President at Deutsche Bank, in a field of interest in data engineering in the midst of a global pandemic. The ability to work in a domain—finance and technology—and build upon the reason I came to do my master’s was a great achievement. I hope to excel in this field to grow further in this industry and work out strategic decisions to create opportunity and growth wherever I go.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as a graduate student: The biggest achievement as a graduate student was when I was selected to represent my business school in the University of Tennessee analytics case competition as part of a team of 3 members. The opportunity was extremely exciting and also provided me with a medium to express the knowledge gained from the course and compete with some of the brightest talent across the United States.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? One of my biggest fears when I was preparing to come to the United States for my master’s was the ability to get back to an intensive study curriculum after almost a decade of working. I was very clear in my thoughts on the reason I wanted to do a business analytics program. It presented me with the opportunity to work with data and also drive business intelligence and strategic decisions going forward. 

Purdue’s business analytics program was excellent and complete in the sense that it provided me with a robust curriculum with an exceptional blend of technical and management courses. This was critical for my experience as I always desired to be sound technically while being able to design pipelines using data for growth and bringing efficiency in operations. The management courses were full of business context that would help in building applications that would be relevant from a business perspective.

The comprehensive combination of technology and management was perfect and facilitated my decision to join Purdue’s MS BAIM program.

What led you to choose a Master’s in Business Analytics over an MBA?There are a lot of reasons, but I will stick to the most important one according to me. The master’s in business analytics prepares you to be a specialist in the field of technology rather than a generalist. 

After having worked for nine years in information technology and across several innovation and transformation projects, I realized that becoming technically sound is as important (if not more) improving my management skills. Being technically adept is becoming increasingly critical in the world of big data and analytics. Also, my work was a deciding factor as I already had enough experience leading teams and projects. I wanted to add the technical forte to my resume and hence chose an MSBA over an MBA.

What has been your favorite course and how has it helped you in your career? Data Mining, without a doubt. Not only because this is a subject where I excelled, but it was extremely well taught by a professor who had both academic and industry experience and hence was able to explain concepts that were relevant in real world organizations. In addition, the course goes through basics of predictive modeling and natural language processing, which are important if you want to do well in a field of data science and business intelligence.

What role did your school play in helping you to land your first job out of the program? Purdue has an abundance of resources which help you throughout your graduation program. The Krannert Professional Development Center was extremely helpful with case competitions and resume review sessions. Plus, you have the Krenicki Center for Business Analytics & Machine Learning, which helps connect graduating students with organizations having real-work analytics challenges and help in their resolution. The industry practicum, under our academic director Professor Matthew Lanham, is one of the unique selling propositions of the MS BAIM Program. And to top all this, the extensive curriculum taught by some of the best professors make the courses extensive, both in depth in data science as well as breadth in business intelligence. Each of these elements played a defining role in landing my first Job. 

How did your classmates enhance the value of your business school experience? Just to put in a caveat upfront before I answer this question, whatever I express about my Class of 2020 MS BAIM program is understated. 

Knowledgeable, determined, hardworking and most importantly united are just some of the traits of my peers who graduated with me. I was able to learn not only the academic and technical skills working with them on numerous projects and assignments, but also develop personal skills like leadership and teamwork. The questions in class, the discussions about topics in analytics as well as sports, the sessions in the gym and on the badminton court as well as the late-night parties all made my experience at Purdue enjoyable and eased the challenges presented by our intensive program.

Who was your favorite faculty member and how did this person enrich your learning? My favourite faculty was Matthew Lanham, who was my mentor in three subjects during the program. The chats with him in multiple meetings, at his office or in class or outside, always made me realize how important it was not only to do well on my own, but also do well as a cohort. I think this was the best learning we were given on day one of our program, and that was to grow and graduate through the program united. In addition to this, Professor Lanham would also guide us to build applications that were customer-centric, as that is what mattered when you step outside school into the industry. My industry practicum was a perfect example of utilizing our knowledge in data and analytics and building an application that was implementable, scalable and efficient for the client. 

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s graduate Master’s program? My advice to the many applicants who are increasingly beginning to choose a master’s in business analytics program is to first ensure that you are clear about the importance of data and what you want to do with it while driving business outcomes. We all know data is the biggest and the most valuable asset in today’s world. It is probably the largest source of revenue for technology firms, but little can be done without having an interest or love for it. And the second advice would be to be mentally prepared to fight out the challenges that the program would present with hard work, diligence and loads of reading, as the field of analytics is constantly evolving and you need to evolve along with it. On the academic front – understand and try and be fluent in SQL.

What was your best memory from your Master’s program? Graduating over a virtual commencement ceremony on the 13th of May, 2020, in the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic was probably the fondest memory I have of the master’s program. There are many more such memories I share with my cohorts who were exceptional, but yes, I would probably stick to our graduating ceremony with all of my classmates as something I will never forget.


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