Arpita is currently pursuing her Masters in Business Analytics from the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. She also holds a Masters in Ocean Engineering.
Arpita ascended to the position of Associate Vice President of Analytics and Strategy at Kotak Securities three years of starting her career. She achieved this remarkable feat without any formal education in the field, relying solely on her innate skills and relentless drive for success. She also worked at Barclays, mobile banking team. She has an affinity for problem-solving, particularly in the domains of customer and marketing analytics.
She utilized her summer breaks to gain invaluable corporate exposure across telecom, innovation and finance sector, solidifying her reputation as a versatile professional with an insatiable appetite for knowledge.
Arpita has devoted her time and energy to an NGO, Gopali Youth Welfare Society (GYWS) that is entirely student-run. With an unwavering commitment to making a positive impact on society, Arpita actively contributes to projects focused on utilizing data for the greater good. Her dedication to giving back is truly an inspiration.
You can also learn more about Arpita on LinkedIn.
Here’s a quick summary of key takeaways:
- Arpita believes that work experience in the field is beneficial but not required for a Masters Degree
- Their previous work experience with programming languages like Python and R helped Arpita navigate the data science courses smoothly
- Work experience allowed Arpita to apply methodologies and frameworks discussed in the course to real-world situations.
- The Master’s program mentioned involves both individual and group assignments, fostering teamwork and cross-cultural communication skills.
- Opportunities in San Francisco, like networking events, aid in connecting with other professionals.
- The speaker’s journey in analytics began with participating in data analytics competitions, leading to a love for the field.
- The program is open to various backgrounds, without coding or analytics experience, and aims to complement business degrees with technical knowledge.
Listen to the podcast here, or find if wherever you get your podcasts:
Ryan Atkinson: Welcome everyone to the Tech Guide podcast, where we give actual advice to those wanting to break into tech or looking for their next gig. We have Arpita Mangal on the podcast today. Super excited to have you on. This will be a great one.
Arpita Mangal: Super excited.
Ryan Atkinson: Yes. And I’m really excited to peel back the onion on a Master’s in business analytics. That’s what this conversation’s gonna be about, just your advice on it. But before you got your master’s in business analytics, you actually got your degree in ocean engineering, which I think is so cool.
Can you tell us a little bit about like the curriculum that you like took to get this degree and just the experiences with it?
Arpita Mangal: The ocean engineering was more related to fluid dynamics and physics. I had my interest in physics and mathematics and the reason why I pursued the degree, but the scope was very limited.
And during my undergrad, I started exploring various other fields. That is when I developed my interest in analytics.
Ryan Atkinson: Interesting. So it was a little bit of a narrow scope and then analytics came along. How did you like know that you were interested in analytics? Or what was there a time moment in time?
Arpita Mangal: Yeah. So I would say my undergrad college was in a really less proximity. And so I relied on online shopping for a lot of my requirements. I was really intrigued by the recommendation systems or whatever it was. So I wanted to actually understand how this works. So when I researched about it, that when I’m buying a product and how is it recommending me something that.
I might be interested in a similar product and what is the algorithm [00:02:00] behind it. So that is how I developed my interest into analytics.
Ryan Atkinson: That’s interesting. And so how did you then, cause I’m curious. So you get this ocean engineering degree, but you’re now like interested in like business analytics. How did you identify then that you wanted to get your masters?
Was it just like the most natural next step to breaking into analytics or kind of take me through that process?
Arpita Mangal: I would not say it was the natural process because before even taking the master’s degree, I was working as an employee in analytics and I climbed my way to being one of the managerial positions in a very less time.
But the thing I always had in my mind was. If I wanted to apply for good positions, I always felt like a barrier in myself that I never had a formal education. So I did all the coding courses by myself, like through Coursera or other online courses I relied on. It was just self learning, but I always felt something like maybe having a formal education, I could deepen my understanding and coming to us always opens up a lot of opportunities.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah, that’s so cool. Um, I want, I kind of want to talk about that as well. Like the opportunities that are in the United States. Um, can you talk to us like what, like just from like an insider’s perspective, obviously I’ve been in the United States forever. Um, this is just where I’m born.
Like from an out, like going to the United States. I mean, like, why is there such like a, like a desire for that? Or like, why are there more opportunities here? Do you think?
Arpita Mangal: I think most of the innovation, especially in the tech field. Is right here, like currently also in San Francisco, and especially the program is in San Francisco.
The one that I’m attending, it opens up a lot of networking opportunities for me. So just going there, talking to a bunch of people who are in tech or who want to do something in tech, it just gives you an idea what is the future about it and where you could [00:04:00] invest your energy. And you’re not just left in behind and pursuing something which had been there for like 20 years.
Ryan Atkinson: Ah, that’s super interesting. So, and you’re in San Francisco of course, where like, it’s so prominent, like where the tech world’s at. Um, are there like other cities that people, I, I, new York’s another one that comes to mind where people like want to go to. Um, but yeah. What are like some of the cities that people typically try to get into or go to?
Arpita Mangal: I guess? I think Boston as well. Mm-hmm. But most of the jobs I would say are in San Francisco and New York. And then another one is Chicago that is currently like, A lot of tech companies are establishing that as well.
Ryan Atkinson: Interesting. So let’s talk a little bit more about this master’s degree. Like what goes into the applications of getting your master’s degree in business analytics?
Arpita Mangal: So I applied during the COVID time. So at that time there were a few universities we have, which had. Optional GRD requirement, but otherwise the application process consists of a GRD or because it is a business analytics course, which is offered by business schools for most of the universities.
They also accept GMAT scores. So I think to get into good colleges, one of them could be fulfilled. It’s not hard and fast to have both of them. And apart from that, it’s. Like usual, a statement of purpose, there will be a few questions which are specific to the universities or the kind of program that you’re applying to.
Interesting. And then you wait for your…
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah. Admit it. How much like setting did you do for these tests?
Arpita Mangal: I studied for about two months because yeah, because GRE, English is not my first language and GRE has a lot of English questions and vocabularies related.
Yeah. So that was something I had to really study. And mathematics being my strong, I didn’t have to study [00:06:00] much for it.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah. How did you determine, so someone’s listening to this, they’re like, yes, I want to get my master’s in like business analytics. I understand like how I need to get in the tests I need to take.
What advice would you give then for those people to study? Like how should they plan to like study? Should they do two months? Is there, how would you advise someone?
Arpita Mangal: Two months is more than enough when you are about. Giving about three hours of study every day, two months is more than enough. And people are either strong in one of the two who are applying for business analytics are coming here.
They are either good in English or mathematics. So you could just have a balance seeing whatever you are good in and invest less time there. Do a lot of practice papers. I think that helps a lot because just starting does not really improve this good doing a lot of practice papers.
Ryan Atkinson: Let’s talk about your work experience when you were applying. What is the importance of having previous work experience when you’re applying for these roles? Do you need to do it? What’s the importance of it?
Arpita Mangal: I think it is not a requirement, but it is really a good thing to have.
For example, I had a work experience and I was quite comfortable with the programming languages that is Python and R. So the course was smoother for me. Plus during the curriculum, when we face that they’re talking about some applying some of the methodologies or some frameworks, since having a work experience prior in the field, I knew what I did wrong.
So many times I’ve encountered this that, Oh, maybe in my job, I would have done this after doing this thing and the results would have been much better. So it’s not just grasping things. Okay. Maybe this thing exists. The way you crash things become different that incorporate, maybe you were applying this, but this so and so thing you were doing wrong.
And maybe it was not supposed to be implemented there. You could have improved upon your analysis or the [00:08:00] impact by applying this, doing this instead. So that was really good for me.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah. I’m so it was really valuable for you just in the sense of you’ve done this before. I know what this is and you were able to, when you’re actually doing this coursework, you’re like, Oh, I should do it another way.
It sounds like. Yeah. Interesting.
Arpita Mangal: not a requirement from an application perspective, because in my program, there are people who come from even from the marketing background without any prior experience. Experience in coding or the analytics per se, it’s just the interest maybe in the business, but they want to compliment both the business degree with a technical experience because that is where the it is going.
It’s just about data. From the application perspective, it is not a requirement and they teach you enough that in a very good way that if you didn’t have any prior experience of coding, you are still able to grasp it.
Ryan Atkinson: I think that’s really neat to, to be able to, like I said, I come from a marketing background.
So being able to go to one of these programs where you’re able to just basically hop in into an analytics. It’s like you just said, like analytics is such a huge field right now. And it’s really important. To to actually understand the what this analytics is saying and being able to get a master’s in that I’m also curious. So you graduate in 2 days. It’s June 15th right now. You graduate in 17th, which is so awesome. Congratulations. I’m curious. What were some of the courses that you took in this master’s program? Or was there any projects that you worked on that really stood out where it was really fun or what, stood out to you with this program?
Arpita Mangal: Thank you. I don’t know what it was. The courses that I took was like, the courses does not have much of the flexibility as the program is offered in San Francisco, the college is back in Davis, but the courses that are offered are really good ones because. In the initial, they would cover the statistics [00:10:00] basics foundations, which for people like me coming from an ocean engineering background or people coming from a marketing background might not have studied.
So the start is very nice, I would say. But after that, also, they cover courses like causal inference. It goes by the name of information insights and impact. And we have courses on machine learning and big data. Then there are a few business courses, which are like organizational structured analytics, decision making.
And then there are a few electives where depending on what you want to pursue later on, you could you have a choice. It was people analytics, then supply chain analytics applications, domains. So this was the. Courses majorly that we covered on top of this. Most of the courses have project works with them, which was really.
A good thing because and the project choices entirely upon these students, whatever they want to pursue in a group of three or four people. I see. So the industry that you’re interested because analytics is a field which almost every industry is, have a job opening for that or a requirement for that.
So whichever industry a person is in interested or the project they wanna do, they are free to pursue that project.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah. Can you talk about like some of the projects you worked on while you were in school?
Arpita Mangal: Sure. So I work two projects that come to my mind. One was pharmaceutical data. So I was interested to maybe enter the health care.
So I scraped data from one of the online pharmacies and did an analysis. of predicting the prices of medicines, just basis, the descriptions or the diseases they are meant to, uh, deal with another one on top of that, we, my team also worked on predicting the substitutes of a medicine. What happens is [00:12:00] one of the medicine and the manufacturer is quite famous and people know about that medicine, the medicine just the prices of that medicine rise very high.
Instead, there could be a substitute at a very low cost for that. So we predicted that as well. So this was one of the projects. So the good thing about this project was that we scraped the data on our own. We developed the models. It was an end to end project that the team
Ryan Atkinson: That is so, so sweet. I’m curious now like what advice would you give to someone that is going through a master’s program?
Like what advice do you, cause it’s hard, like it’s really challenging. I saw what advice would you give to
Arpita Mangal: someone to get through? I forgot to mention earlier was that the program also have a practicum project going on. During the entire duration, which is similar to the capstone projects that business schools have for MBAs so during the entire course, you would be doing a project with a form.
So, for example, I was. Uh, during the 10 months of duration, I was doing a project with Qualcomm, so, which again is a very good exposure.
Ryan Atkinson: Oh, amazing. What was the program with Qualcomm that you did? Because Qualcomm is obviously like a humongous company. So
Arpita Mangal: yeah. Not in details, but I could mention it was more of a market research project regarding the branding.
So it again, did not, they again did not give us any of the data is it was how do you enhance the branding of a certain product in Qualcomm? So,
Ryan Atkinson: interesting, interesting. And going back to that question again, as well, that was like great insights, like the projects you work on the practicum but like, yeah, like what advice do you give to people to get through a master’s program?
Arpita Mangal: I would say it would not be easy. But, but it would be rewarding. Just finishing the assignments on time, networking with people and paying attention [00:14:00] to the classes. I think it was not that difficult, but. You won’t have a life outside, more or less, because you would always be occupied with the assignments, classes, and your practical projects.
Ryan Atkinson: Interesting. What are, like, the networking opportunities that goes on within a master’s program?
Arpita Mangal: It is not within the master’s program per se. Obviously you meet a bunch of different folks and you get to work with them because all of the projects that we did, most of them were like half of them were individual assignments and half of them were in groups and the groups are formed on a random basis.
At times you self select the people you want to work with. So it’s a mix of those things. You really get to understand how to work in a team and why, uh, like in a team setting where you don’t know anybody and people coming from different cultures. So you actually don’t know how to communicate things over the time you learn those things.
Apart from that, being in San Francisco, there is. A scope to go and attend networking events because a lot of them just keeps occurring all across the city. I’m going to be visiting one, for example, tomorrow. So, and apart from that, the MBA program also is offered in San Francisco. We once visited Davis campus where we connected with other GSM folks.
So deciding networking opportunities.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah, that’s so, so cool. Well, congratulations on graduating today. That is a huge accomplishment and something you should definitely be proud of. I want to hit on one more topic as well. You talked a little bit before this master’s program is you did a lot of self learning.
And you like learned a little bit of analytics by yourself. That’s really what prompted you to get the formal degree. Can you talk to us one about like, Self learning itself. What’s the importance of self learning if you are just wanting to [00:16:00] explore areas or just, yeah. What’s the importance of self learning.
Arpita Mangal: Okay. So, uh, back in undergrad, I think in my sophomore year, I just was sure maybe that I do not have much of scope in ocean engineering. I started exploring different fields and there used to be various competitions in my college. One of them was data analytics. So I just participated in the competition and I understood the problem statement and there were a few seniors.
I communicated with them. They asked me maybe this so and so course would help me. One of the course, the first course that I did in analytics was analytics edge on edX, that was the first course, which made it very easy for me to understand what exactly it is and what I’m signing up for. And After that, I kept on doing such courses and every summer break I used to attend apply for internships in analytics or different fields.
So my first internship was in the field of analytics. The second summer break, I applied for an internship in machine learning. So this is how I explored the field. And once I was sure that maybe I want to take this path forward. So the flexible courses are the electives that I had in my undergrad. I opted to take those courses in the field of analytics.
Plus the online courses and I feel the certifications really help. Because in today’s era, it’s not more about the degree. It’s more about knowing the things and certifications definitely helps. Like when you have online courses, a huge pool of online courses, it’s not necessary to have a degree.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah, that’s interesting. I love that. The point that you just made it’s not necessary to have agree because there are so many ways to learn and just making those projects. Once you do learn some analytics, maybe doing a [00:18:00] project on it. We talked about that a lot on this podcast. I’m curious did you, well, what, what courses did you take or what platforms would you push people to talk, to go look at? Is it your Udemy’s or whatever they’re called?
Arpita Mangal: I think the three most important three platforms that I opted for is EDX, , Coursera, and, um, Udemy. Yeah. Those are the three platforms, which were my go to platforms.
Apart from that, there are certifications offered by AWS and Google. So those are really good. And Geeks for Geeks, HackerRank, they always provided help with respect to some coding. Thing that I’m facing issue with. Yeah.
Ryan Atkinson: Interesting. I, we’re going to wind down the podcast here. This has been awesome. I love talking with you about just like what the master’s program entails.
And I know the audience is getting a ton of value from this. what advice would you have more to people that are wanting to do well in their career? I know you’re going to be leaving and doing amazing things here in two days, but like just general advice for young people, what would you give them?
Arpita Mangal: I would say focus on the skill building when you’re in the initial phase of career and always network and communicate. Just not going behind, uh, the names or the brands, but focusing more on the skill building and learning.
Ryan Atkinson: I love that. I love that. Well, Brita, thank you so, so much for joining us today.
This was an awesome episode talking more about the master’s program and what people can expect. So thank you so, so much for joining us today.
Arpita Mangal: Thank you. And it was great being here. Thank you.