Data Literacy Is the Most Underrated Aspect - Kamalika Poddar




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1. Tell us about your background and journey.

 I am a business analyst at Axis Bank looking after the payments and loyalty business of the bank. On exciting days, we build strategies and customer segments for our new launches. On other days we analyse if our strategies are on track to achieve our overall mission. But I wasn't always an analytics person.

I completed my MBA in 2018 from MDI Gurgaon, specializing in marketing. Along the way, my computer engineering background woke up from its slumber and I developed a penchant for looking under the hood, into the numbers.
 
But I have to be honest, MBA wasn't always on the charts for me. I decided after 3 years of being a software developer at a banking software company, that I wanted a more challenging sort of a life. 

Zeroed in on getting an MBA form one of the premier institutes of the country, prepared for CAT and chose to join MDI.So to be honest, life has been a series of Happy accidents that brought me where I am! 


2. What led you to take up this career path?

In my 2nd year, we were introduced to time series on SPSS. Most of my batch mates had trouble with the software. But my background as a computer engineer came in handy. And pretty soon I started liking what I was doing. 

But even then I wasn't sure I'd end up in analytics. It so happened that at Axis we have rotation stints in our first year. And the project I got in one of my stints got me hooked. 

I decided to discover what the road ahead would be like, and landed in the payments and loyalty analytics business of the bank. 


3. How can one build a successful career in your field?

To be a good analyst, you need to have a penchant for numbers. It's a skill I'm still developing. But you should know the numbers of your particular business vertical like the back of your hand. Because reality is worse than an episode of Shark Tank, if your numbers are wrong! 


4. How one can know customer analytics is the field for them?

There are broadly 3 areas that you'll need to understand, consumer behaviour in you to articular business, maths and stats behind your analysis, and basic coding knowledge to leverage tech to help you. 

Also nothing like getting your hands dirty to teach you. You'll be wrong sometimes, every mistake you make teaches you the 3 other ways you could've gotten the right output! 


5. One advice that you feel would helped you while starting out in this field?

Data literacy is the most underrated aspect of the job. You need to understand what the data tells you. And you need to be able to present that in a story format that easy for others to consumer. 


6. Is work life balance is a myth or reality according to you?

It really depends from organisation to organisation. Even across organisations some departments indulge in a lot of fun activities, while others are more sober and glued to their work stations. But if you feel burnt out, talk to your manager and take a couple of days off. No one is going to stop you! 


7. What is the one place that you relate the most with?

It really depends from organisation to organisation. Even across organisations some departments indulge in a lot of fun activities, while others are more sombre and glued to their work stations. But if you feel burnt out, talk to your manager and take a couple of days off. No one is going to stop you! 


8. Which is your favourite book and why?

I have favourites across genres:
  • In the science and tech space, I love Sangeeth Paul Chaudhary's Platform Revolution. 
  • In business, I like Scott Galloway's "The four" and "the age of the platforms" by Phil Simon. 
  • In field of psychology, I read and read "Influence: the science and practice" by Cialdini, and "Thinking, fast and slow" by Kahnemann. 
  • A couple of good reads in behavioural finance are Philip Fisher "common stocks", and "Intelligent Investor" by Ben Graham
  • In marketing I love Kotler's 4.0, and a couple of Seth Godin's work. 
  • In branding, I like Aaker' s on branding. 
  • A light read on analytics would be Sheena Iyengar's "Art of choosing" 
  • And to end the list "How to lie with Statistics" by Darrell Huff".

- Kamalika Poddar

Interview By - Swapnil Porwal

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