Analytics: Attribution is your friend and bias is your enemy – Sandeep Mittal

sandeep Mittal, sankhyiki, nimms, sunandan divatia, school of science

NMIMS, Sunandan Divatia School of Science (SDSOS) held their annual Statistics workshop ‘Sankhyiki’ on the 10th and 11th of January, 2017. In its seventh year, this two day workshop was on Analytical Intelligence – A Roadmap to Careers in Applied Statistics”.

Attended by over 250 participants this year: 225 Statistics students, 18 Industry experts, 15 Faculty and Alumni, Sankhyiki featured a series of lectures by experts from various branches of Analytics: Retail, Financial Markets, Tax Collection, Drug Development and Consultancy; a Project Training programme that showcased acquisition and implementation of a project involving statistical analysis by the alumni of the SDSOS, and a new and welcome addition this year: a statistics quiz ‘SANKHYANITI – Statistical Strategizing’.

Mr. Sandeep Mittal, Managing Director, Cartesian Consultancy and one of the “10 Most Influential Analytics & Data Science Leaders in India – 2017” was the Chief Guest on inaugural ceremony. His session on advising students to be the Voice of the Data’ was peppered with humorous and informative anecdotes and was a big hit with the students. He asked students to refrain from using heavy statistical jargon while presenting industrial projects and asked them to communicate simply. He elucidated the privilege and perils of being a data guy: you get to work on changing organizations, impart perspective, create DNA and culture and asked students to ‘not drown in the data’, ‘recognize the need for distinct working minds’, ‘push for peanuts but chase Aha moments as well’. He ended this part with a memorable point: ‘Attribution is your friend and bias is your enemy’.

Dr. Aparna Khanna, Dean- SDSOS felicitating Chief Guest
dr j p gandhi, nmims, sankhyiki, sdsos, school of science, sunandan divatia
Dr. J. Gandhi, Hon. Jt. Secretary, SVKM & Mentor SDSOS

Dr. Jayant Gandhi, Honourable Joint Secretary of SVKM and Mentor SDSOS, emphasized the importance of analysing big data, especially after demonetization which increased the amount of data generated exponentially. He gave examples of former US President Obama and our honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi as individuals who used analytics successfully in their election campaigns.

He congratulated for citywide event tailor-made for budding statisticians which has created a platform that bridges the gap between theory and industrial application and exposes them to Analytical Intelligence. He also expressed his happiness at seeing the high proportion of girls in the audience, which showed that girls too are making great headway in mathematical fields.

Dr. Rajan Saxena,
Vice Chancellor, NMIMS

Vice Chancellor of NMIMS, Dr. Rajan Saxena, on this occasion said that the conference has come a long way. He made a rousing speech on the world becoming increasingly interconnected, which leaves behind huge amounts of data and how it is imperative for this data to be usable and analysed in order for organizations to remain relevant in the global market and compete against unknown players.

He said that the ability to make decisions based on consumers’ preferences and environment determines the success of an organization. He also mentioned that policy making is becoming more data driven and thus people centric, with a memorable quote ‘Data and the data and the data.’

Welcome Speech by Prof. Sunil S. Shirvaiker,
Program Director (Statistics),
NMIMS, Sunandan Divatia School of Science

In the beginning, Organising Secretary of Sankhyiki, Prof. Sunil S. Shirvaiker, Program Director (Statistics) at NMIMS SDSOS described the M.Sc. Statistics and B.Sc. Applied Statistics and Analytics programmes offered by the SDSOS and their emphasis on practical applicability in the real world through the inculcation of sophisticated tools of statistical analysis: R, Python, SPSS and SAS in the syllabi. He also spoke about the purpose of Sankhyiki which helps make under graduate and post graduate students aware of the applicability of Statistics and analytics in various fields.

Dr. Sharad Varde, External Academic Advisor, Warwick University

Dr. Sharad Varde, external Academic Advisor, Warwick University, while talking on ‘Creative, Practical and Analytical Intelligence’ encouraged the students to create new concepts, design innovative products giving the example of ‘Amphibian Car’-a car which runs on land and water. Its USP was its novelty yet it failed as it was not practical. Therefore, Dr Varde advised students to focus on the practicability of their ideas. He said that the Concorde, a creative and practical invention failed because of its poor financial performance thus making the point that while creativity, practicability are good, they are not enough for commercial success. He implored students to solve a problem that exists around you with a practical and financially sound method using analytics as a foundation stone.

Mr. Saikat Chakraborty, Vice President, Retail Analytics, Accenture

Another expert Mr. Saikat Chakraborty, Vice President, Retail Analytics Delivery, Accenture Operations, described the hard journey of analytics from being discarded in the favour of gut feeling, to the decision enabling tool it is today, with many examples from his own experience in retail analytics including the ‘Beer and Diaper problem’ and SKU Rationalization.  Upon being asked, he said that one cannot distinguish between statistics, data science, machine learning while problem solving. He said that presently, descriptive analytics (analysing past data) has an 80% usage compared to Predictive Analytics (analysing trends and predicting future happenings) is only about 15-20%. He, too, emphasized the practical application of the solution to a problem.

Ms. Sapna Tiwari and Mr. Sourav Saha, alumni of the Sunandan Divatia School of Science conducted Project Training programme. Winners of the best project award 2014-16, Sapna and Sourav gave an insightful presentation on how they planned the project and went about implementing it by using specialised programs like Python and advanced statistical techniques. Both believe that ‘Nothing is impossible, it is just difficult’ and ‘Keep converting data into dollars’.

Mr. Raj Jhaveri, Senior Manager – Education, SAS and Ultramax

The concluding session on day-1 was addressed by Mr. Raj Jhaveri, Senior Manager Education from SAS and ULTRAMAX on the importance of SAS as an analytical tool and the various SAS programmes offered by their partner, ULTRAMAX. He emphasized that a combination of fundamental concepts as well as appropriate technology is important as the data generated is incomprehensible for humans and they need tech to analyse it. He also guided students on the need for career development rather than just getting a job.

Mr. Amul Desai, Director – Consulting SAS Institute India Pvt. Ltd.

The day two of Sankhyiki began with a lecture by Mr. Amul Desai, Director, Consulting, SAS, who held an informative and interesting session on the three concepts required in Analytics: Plenty (of data), indecision (of decision makers) and (shortage of) time. He said that digitalization has led to a data explosion and we need machine learning to keep up with the huge amounts of data being generated. He said that the deciding factor for an individual being hired in the analytics field is his soft skills and knowledge about the business, apart from being from an esteemed educational institution like NMIMS instead of just academic prowess.

Mr. Ganesh S. Patil, Assistant Commissioner for Economic Intelligence Unit, Maharashtra Sales Tax Department

Assistant Commissioner for Economic Intelligence Unit, Maharashtra Sales Tax Department, Mr. Ganesh S. Patil described the 9 functional analytical units of EIU, MSTD such as registry, returns, Cyber forensic, statistical analysis and dealer profiling, Data management and monitoring unit, analysis and integration unit etc.; their internal and external sources of data collection; Malpractices like Hawala and how they detect it.


Dr. Chitra Lele, Chief Scientific Officer, Sciformix Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Dr. Chitra Lele, an academician spoke on the uses of Analytics in Drug Development. She described, in depth, the drug development process right from drug discovery to post marketing strategies, explaining the use of analytics in each stage. She said that bringing a drug into the market is a high risk game which involves spending billions of dollars therefore it is better to figure out a way to fail early and save money than incur huge losses and expose patients to a failed drug. She also explained choice of end point, randomization and blinding to the first and second year students who had not studied clinical trials unlike their seniors.

An impromptu session by Mr. Vishal Rana, Consultant at Greeksoft Technologies followed, on the importance of Analysis of Granular Data in the Stock Market. He said that about 50 GB of data is generated by each stock exchange and if we can analyse this data intelligently, we can use it to make money. He said that the market requires Fundamental Data Analysis and the analysis of granular data for hidden trends.

The first “Sankhyaniti” Quiz Competition was held during the workshop, in which 12 teams competed in 4 rounds which included ‘bidding’ in Round Three, a fun and interesting concept. The team of Sanika Chhatre, Maitreyee Ghadigaonkar and Shruti Borkar from Ruia College won the Sankhyaniti and the runner up was from B.N.BANDODKAR College comprising Krishna Mishra, Sachin Jaiswal and Bharat Kurde.

Best Summer Internship Awards were also presented during the Sankhyiki by M. Sc. Statistics students (AY 2015 – 2017) with the 1st prize to Ms. Sushmita Saha, for her Internship at HDFC Bank, 2nd prize to Mr. Abhishek Sachdeva for his Internship at SAS Institute India and the 3rd prize to Ms. Suman Patel for her Internship at Cipla. The prizes were given away by the chief guest, Mr. Sandeep Mittal.