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The mission of PGDBA

By Anurag Malakar, PGDBA Batch-5 (2019-21)

The year 2005 | A regular morning in a middle-class Indian’s life

The middle-aged mom heaved a sigh of relief, having just sent off her kids on the school bus. It’s been a busy morning for her; she had woken up early to cook food for her husband and the two darling-turned-devils of her eyes. She returns upstairs and spends the rest of the morning preparing lunch for her kids who’ll soon be home, arguing with her maid, and reminding the security guard for the umpteenth time to call a plumber to repair the leaky faucet in her kitchen. She watches a repeat of her favorite TV show on Star Plus for a while before going to the market and buying fresh vegetables and bread for the next day.

The year 2019 | A technology-enabled morning in an aspirational Indian’s life

The father sits down on the sofa in the living room, exhausted after an early morning run. He checks his Fitbit and grins as the tiny screen highlights that his mean speed was 25% higher than last month’s average. After freshening up, he wakes up the kids and walks over to the living room. While pouring milk and cereal into three bowls, he observes that the pack of cereals is almost empty. His kids enter the living room and call out to Alexa to play their customized playlist of morning songs, and she dutifully obliges. He whips out his phone, opens WhatsApp and video calls his better half who’s away on a business meeting. The happy family reunion is interrupted by the sound of the doorbell, which suggests that Amazon will timely deliver the new toy the younger kid had been demanding for the past week. The dad checks the time, gets dressed quickly, and books a cab while tying his shoes. He drops his kids off to school and orders their favorite pack of cereals on Grofers. He calculates that he has just about enough time to finish the Netflix special that he had dozed off while watching last night. The app’s proprietary algorithm that incessantly analyzes his viewing habit dutifully suggests a new range of TV Shows for him to binge-watch later.

The world is generating a diverse range of data like never before. Over the last couple of years, 90% of the total data in the world has been generated. More than 3.7 billion people use the Internet today, and that number is only increasing. Google is processing more than forty thousand searches every second, while 41000 new pictures are being uploaded on Instagram every minute. By the time you’re done reading this paragraph, Uber riders would’ve taken more than forty-five thousand trips!

In this scenario, businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to capitalize on the vast amount of information they are gathering on their current as well as prospective customers. Social Media is analyzing the behavioral patterns of individual users and predicting their affinities with great accuracy. The entire world is moving towards a connected networking platform with the advent of the Internet of Things and Machine Learning techniques. Data has become the new oil, and Data Scientists and Analysts are expected to monetize this oil to the greatest extent possible. But this burgeoning sector is experiencing a shortage of an efficient workforce. The lack of data scientists has become a major constraint, and industries are clamoring for individuals who can make sense of the data they are amassing and provide tangible business advantages. There are a widening demand and supply gap in the market, and five years ago, IIM Calcutta, in conjunction with ISI Kolkata and IIT Kharagpur, had sought to capitalize on the mismatch.


That’s how PGDBA was conceptualized, in accordance to the industry demands while paying due heed to their suggestions. As the fourth batch prepares to venture beyond the gates of Joka, the last one and a half years of training imparted at these stellar institutions are going to be employed. The industry has steep expectations of this bunch of talented individuals. They’re expected to draw meaningful insights out of data that benefits their businesses. From risk management to healthcare analytics, to behavioral analytics and digital marketing; the needs that PGDBA graduates are expected to cater to are diverse.

As the world keeps amassing higher amounts of data, it’ll become increasingly difficult to make sense out of it. It’ll be akin to finding the precisely manufactured red coloured needle out of multiple piles of slightly deformed red coloured needles; surgical precision is critical to ensure it does not become a bloodbath. That’s where this course comes in, perfectly positioned to meet the business requirements by capitalizing on the technological advancements of the 21st century.

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What is PGDBA?

“Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the web like deer on a freeway.”  – Geoffrey Moore, Organizational Theorist & Author

Analytics: Need of the Hour

The amount of data in our world is exploding. As per a McKinsey report, big data may well become a new type of corporate asset that will cut across business units and function the  same way as a powerful brand does, representing a key basis for competition. The increasing volume and detail of information captured by enterprises, the rise of multimedia, social media and the Internet of Things will fuel exponential growth in data in the foreseeable future.

The rapid pace with which data is being generated across  various domains and fields would require people with deep analytical skills to provide insights, enabling companies to gain a competitive edge and offer a better consumer experience. The insights from the data are used for various purposes such as segmentation of customers for better targeting, prediction of churn rate, product recommendation, analysis of customer opinion from media posts, preventive maintenance, management of portfolio risk etc.

Untapped potential in India

In India, the analytics market is expected to double between 2013 and 2018, reaching a figure of US$ 2.3 billion by 2018, according to a report published by NASSCOM and Blueocean Market Intelligence. This will result in a shortage of about 200,000 data scientists in India over the next few years, according to sources in the Analytics Special Interest Group setup by NASSCOM. Hence, creation of trained industry-ready business analytics professionals is the need of the day.

Globally, the demand of data scientists is projected to exceed supply by more than 50% by 2018. To address the paucity of trained workforce in analytics domain, the onus is on the educational institutes to address the needs of the industry.

The three institutes IIM Calcutta, IIT Kharagpur and ISI Kolkata are aware of the demand for the well rounded analytics professionals. In order to understand the needs of the industry, a day long conclave was held in January 2015 in IIM Calcutta. Representatives of the leading companies such as KPMG, EXL, Deloitte, LatentView, TCS, Reliance Communication, Deutsche Bank, E&Y, SBI, IBM, Google, Microsoft, HSBC and Cognizant took part in the conclave and based on their inputs, ideas of a specialized course emerged, a course which would produce leaders of the future, skilled in the essential areas of business, statistics and computer science. Through this collaboration between industry and academia, PGDBA was born.

Introduction to PGDBA

PGDBA is a two year full time residential diploma programme aimed at creating business analytics professionals employable by leading Indian and foreign firms. This programme is designed for those who have an analytical mindset, are interested in tackling challenging business problems, and possess an inclination towards Mathematics. Some of the salient features of the programme include courses taught by reputed faculty members at the campuses of three globally renowned institutes, hands-on business analytics training at a related company, continuous interaction with industry leaders throughout the duration of the programme and the availability of placement opportunities at all the three institutes.

The three institutes complement each other to give students the most comprehensive learning of business analytics. The course finds the optimal balance between the theoretical concepts of data science and their applications to business problems. Students get to regularly interact with industry experts through invited talks and guest lectures, where experts talk about the latest trends and challenges in the industry. The course leverages the best of the three institutes in their respective fields of expertise, i.e., Statistics, Technology and Business.

In the first semester at ISI, students form a strong base of Mathematical and Statistical concepts. This is followed by a semester at IIT Kharagpur, where students work on data science projects and get to test their statistical concepts built at ISI. This  semester is meant to build students’ technical expertise. To complement the first two semesters, students spend their third semester at IIM Calcutta where they are exposed to business problems through case studies and industry interactions. To cap it all, the students get to implement their knowledge in the industry through a six months long internship as their fourth semester.


The students from the first two batches of PGDBA experienced highly successful placement processes. Companies from various industries such as BFSI, Consulting, Healthcare, Research, Retail, Gaming, Technology etc. participated and handpicked candidates suitable for both data-driven and business driven analyst roles. The placement processes witnessed the involvement of Fortune 500 companies such as American Express, Walmart Labs, UnitedHealth Group, JPMC, Amazon, Walmart Labs. Some of the job profiles offered were Senior Data Scientist, Analytics Manager, Statistical Analyst, Lead Business Analyst, Solution Analyst, Experienced Associate, Assistant Project Manager.

With continuously increasing demand of business analytics professionals, the future of PGDBA looks promising. The unique opportunity of learning from three top-notch institutes of the country is unparalleled by any other Data Analytics course. Recently, PGDBA was ranked 1 by the Analytics India Magazine among the data science courses offered in the country.

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The Journey of Identities

To all those who just joined in. And to all those who couldn’t.

I’ve jumped ships. I’ve made the leap.
I am now a part of what they call Tata Hall- the luxurious guesthouse at IIM C, when I used to be a part of what they called Himadri (my IIT Delhi hostel). I am convinced that recording my first impressions of this maddening, surreal odyssey that I have set out on will not only prove to be fruitful in retrospect, but in fact help me in retaining my sanity in the present. For those of you who have been wondering what I’m going to blabber about, I would like to give you some context before you abandon me.

I am now a student at the PGDBA program. I am comfortably living in my posh suite of the guesthouse of IIM C, with my amazing roommate, situated in Joka, which is nearly thirty kilometers away from the city of Kolkata. There are one hundred and three other students in this program who live with me, so I am sometimes tempted to forget that we are literally in the middle of nowhere. We are being fed an illusion – but an irresistible one that I don’t have the heart to snap out of. In some ways, the fact that the city is beyond my reach is liberating. The five years I spent living in the heart of Delhi, and then another two years in the legendary city of Mumbai, I craved for an escape, for a way out. I think this program has finally answered my call for help.

Here, I am constantly told that I am special, that I am the chosen one. The twenty-four years of my life that have led to this moment have made me so cynical that I doubt their belief in me. But at the same time, I greatly value it. After a very long time, I am around people who are willing to invest in my future simply because the three accomplished panel members saw a spark in me, during the twenty-five minutes I spent interviewing for the program. I feel humbled and terrified. The two years ahead are going to demand every inch of me, it is going to consume me, and it is going to change me. But for so long I have felt nothing, that this rush, this constant buzz in my head, this restlessness feels good. I am sleep-deprived, surviving on n number of cups of terribly made tea and coffee and hopping from one assignment to the other with some extended breaks thankfully, and yet, I am alive. How often is it that you are so committed to the moment that every other structure inside and outside your mind breaks form, and this particular moment is all that you can see, all that you can register? This program is one such moment in my life.

The program, which aims at producing a team of unparalleled business analysts and data scientists, supposedly the sexiest job in the market these days, has been ideated by the three premiere institutes of India – Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Indian Statistical Institute Kolkata and Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. This very credibility generates the “Pygmalion effect” and drives me to excel in the area of analytics.

The coming two years make me realize, that I’m far away from the comfort zone and stability that life had offered just before I decided to enroll into PGDBA. But I am also glad that it happened, for I can now appreciate the morning for what it truly represents – a fresh start. I like the concept of this new beginning, for it brings with it the exciting journey of exploring new dimensions and reconstruct your identity. I am tempted to fantasize about the future, but I am trying to contain my excitement to the moment. So many paths seem to call out to me that my brain will explode if I start to think too much. What do I want, you ask? Organized chaos. If you think that is romantically abstract, then you have understood me just a little more than you did before you began to read this note.

I will end with a few lines that so perfectly describe my state of mind right now, that I might just marry Robert Frost.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


Prospects of PGDBA – The Million Dollar Question

One of the most common questions that we have come across in the past few days is – How would placements/internships be?

Well, to be very honest, even we don’t know it. We can just anticipate and hope that it turns out to be better than our expectations. I will share my experience so far, which makes me believe that placements and internships are going to be no less than PGDM (of IIM C) or any other Masters course at any of the three institutes. The companies who are expected to recruit PGDBA students are going to be same bunch of companies who recruit MBA students. There are lots of companies who hire MBAs for analytics role. Now, since PGDBA program aims at bridging this gap, I feel that packages offered would be similar to the ones offered to PGDM students.

So far, the companies that have interacted with us are Microsoft, SAS, SBI, Deloitte, TCS, IBM, Flipkart, Reliance, American Express, BPCL, Latent View and few other start-ups. (I might be missing out few names). All the companies mentioned here have shown interest in hiring students for internships. Moreover, as per my discussion with the Chairman of this program, there are few other companies which have shown keen interest in hiring students (not disclosing the names, but these are the biggest e-commerce, I-Banks and Consulting firms). It is expected that few of these companies might teach us few courses in the upcoming semesters.
Considering the uptake of analytics in companies and PGDBA being the only full-time residential program (of such stature), demand is going to be very high. So, the hopes are very high and I am quite confident that these are going to be met. 

P.S. – All the views expressed on this blog are made by students and have nothing to do with any faculty, college or any official involved in the program.