How Jigsaw Helped a Finance Pro Win an Analytics Hackathon

Sanchita Lobo


September 11th, 2015

Congrats Jacob Joseph, Student of MISB Bocconi & Jigsaw Academy Executive Program in Business Analytics, for winning first place in the Marketing Analytics Hackathon organized by Zone Startups, Bombay Stock Exchange.

After 9 years in consulting finance and fund management, Jacob took a sabbatical to pursue his passion for data science. Prepare to be amazed as Jacob shares his success story with us, a story of risk and zeal, that culminates with a data analytics hackathon win and a data scientist job offer.

What drove my interest towards analytics

Analytics is probably something which many of us use knowingly or unknowingly in our everyday life or profession. For example, when we analyze our weekly or monthly spend or plan our monthly budget, we are unwittingly using analytics, as we are relying on patterns from past data. Likewise, in our profession lives too, we will find that there are innumerable instances where we are using data to do our job better.

During my stint as an Investment Banker, I was dealing with a diverse set of companies in the venture capital and private equity space and providing consulting services to them predominantly for their fund raising requirements. I wanted to broaden my horizon to work on additional opportunities which were opening up due to the emergence of Big Data and a realization among companies of the importance of analytics to drive business growth. The thirst to uncover patterns in data and use my analytical skills universally in a structured form to varied sectors drove my interest towards Analytics

Picking up the right analytics skill set

I decided to invest more in this interest in data analytics, and so began my formal foray into the data world. I started with some MOOC courses but slowly realized that those courses addressed only one or two aspects of an analytic project and I was finding it difficult to give structure to the knowledge I was gaining.

That’s when I took up some online data science courses with Jigsaw Academy, which covered various aspects of an analytical project. This was a good decision, as I was able to better appreciate the learnings I had acquired along the way. As a satisfied student, I happily jumped on to the next offering from Jigsaw which was the EPBA, in collaboration with MISB Bocconi. This association of management skills and advanced analytics knowledge, leading to a certificate from a top B-School from Europe, was truly a great marriage, and was the right fit for me.

Officially breaking into the big big world of analytics 

Soon after I completed the courses with Jigsaw, I began networking on social media and before I knew it I had a job offer. I began working with CleverTap, a mobile and web marketing and analytics company, where I am an integral part leading their data science team. Every day I get the opportunity to apply all my learnings and even go beyond and experiment. It is so professionally nourishing, I am just loving it. This journey I undertook was in many ways a risk, but looking back, it was definitely worth it!

The Hackathon

The Hackathon was organized by ZoneStartup India. There were essentially 2 problem statements, of which I attempted one which involved the entire spectrum of the analytic process. The hackathon implicitly required participants to look at most of the aspects of an analytic project like understanding the problem statement, data exploration, preparation, model building, its interpretation and implementation feasibility. It reinforced, that prediction was only one aspect of analytics and the insights so generated be consumable, implementable and useful for the customer whether internal or external. I was able to beat the benchmark by a good margin and the insights generated were actionable.

I am bound by a strict NDA and so cannot give you more details, but believe me when I tell you that the whole experience was exciting and enriching. And of course winning was the icing on the cake! Thanks to Jigsaw for cementing my foundation in analytics and teaching me to approach analytic problems in the right way.

All you future Data Scientists…

Here is some advice…Before you enter the playing field, expect that the going may not always be easy especially for those wanting to make a career shift. But, there is a very high demand for candidates who can show that they truly have the expertise required and have the right mix of skills. Choosing the right course to acquire skills is important but equally important is to showcase the skills you have acquired through your academics. Participation in competitions, publishing your data science projects on publicly available data and freelancing are some of the ways to showcase your skillset. This will set you apart.

For those who are not from IT background like me, do not be overwhelmed with coding. Rome was not built in a day. Choose one tool for coding preferably open source and master it. Embrace learning, have a strong work ethic and success will surely be yours!

If you too want to become a data expert join our Executive Program in Business Analytics Certificate from a Top European B-School? Join our Q&A session on 13th September 2015 at 11 AM. Take that first step and watch your career soar.

Register Now for the session here: http://jgs.aw/1HM42lb

This information session will address all queries about the program. Find out more about the:

  • Course curriculum
  • How The EPBA is different from other courses and why it will give you an edge
  • Given your stage in your career, is EPBA the preferred option?
  • The career options after the EPBA
  • Experiences of the current batch  of students

Suggested Read:

Adjunct Faculty at IIM enrolls for Jigsaw MISB Executive Program in Business Analytics! Learn Why

The verdict is out – Analytics Vidhya says the Jigsaw Bocconi EPBA, “Is a Deal Worth Considering”


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