Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Prof S. Chandrasekhar is Senior Prof. and Director Business Analytic at IFIM Business School Bangalore since Nov 2013. Prior to this, he was the Chair Professor and officiating Director at FORE School of Management, New Delhi. He joined FORE School in 1988 as a Senior Professor. He also headed the software development at Fore School of Management which are developing proto type of products in the area of Business Intelligence, Risk Management, and Customer Relations Management. He has a total of about 34 years of experience in Research and Development, Academic and Industry in the area of Quantitative Techniques and IT. He has also taught courses in the area of IT, QT, Adv. Market Research at Post Graduate level. He has also worked at Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow for about ten years (1988-98) as Professor in the area of Computers and information Systems. Member Secretary of IIM L Governing Board for about three years.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, Master’s degree in Computer Science from IIT, Kanpur and Doctorate in Quantitative and Information Systems from University of Georgia, USA. Worked in India, USA and Canada in reputed organizations like TIFR, ISRO, NRSA, FORD Aerospace Corporation, National Research Council before joining IIM, Lucknow. Awarded UNDP fellowship for study in Advanced Computer Systems design. Worked in the area of Neural Network, Forecasting using Statistical Techniques, Mathematical Modeling, and Data Warehousing/Data Mining.
Apart from this, Dr. Chandrashekar has been honored with several awards including NASSCOM-Dewang Mehta award for best teacher in IT in the year 2010; India Higher Education forum award for contribution of Technology in higher education; Times of India Education Times Award for Contribution in IT area; felicitated as one of the best teachers by IIM Lucknow alumni during silver jubilee celebrations; awarded Excellence Award for Contribution in IT Education by Asian Customer Engagement Forum; felicitated by World Wide Achievers forum for contribution and award for outstanding contribution in education by India Education Network.
Has published a number of papers in national and international journals and also chaired a number of national and international conferences on the editorial board of various journals.
Dr. Chandrashekar’s experience in the education sector
I came into education sector about three decades back after completing Doctorate from US. After my post-graduation from IIT Kanpur worked in research organizations like TIFR ISRO etc. For a brief while, I worked in an industry and realized that for my nature Research and Development suits rather than corporate environment.
In my career, I joined the organization in initial stages and build them. It was a wonderful experience having done roles beyond my domain.
Education in my view, makes the best sector to work because you have an opportunity to impart knowledge for future generation and allows you to learn constantly. When students whom you have groomed come up in life much faster than yourself that gives immense satisfaction to you. Education sector also allows one to take up consultancy assignment to solve real life Industry problems. Compared to corporates, this sector provides very flexible working environment and also provides very good work life balance.
Dr. Chandrashekar’s philosophy of leadership and his leadership style
My philosophy of leadership can be summarized as-Providing direction, fostering a supporting and collaborative environment, acting as a role model, stimulating innovation and creativity, empowering the team working under you and motivating people to keep momentum high.
Significant challenges faced by Dr. Chandrashekar as the Chairman Centre of Excellence Business Analytics of IFIM B-School
Business Analytics is an interdisciplinary area-combination of Computer Science, Statistics and domain knowledge. Getting experienced faculty with industry experience and passion for academics is very difficult.
Since we started Business Analytics as an Executive education for experienced personnel, we had a very high variability in experience from 5 years to 21 years. Teaching such a heterogeneous group of students is difficult. But we managed. We foster a culture of learning to learn among students, and teacher learning from students and teacher to become a mentor.
Dr. Chandrashekar on how data analytics has changed the world and in which areas its implementation is most valuable
Decision making has become data driven rather than gut feel. With advancement in technology, we have abundance of digital data. Digging through vast volume of data and deriving actionable knowledge from data has changed the world.
Areas most valuable are Banking, Insurance and Finance, Health Care, Legal, Education, Security, Manufacturing and Government itself.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at IFIM B-School
There is a terrible shortage of trained personnel in Analytics as it is an interdisciplinary field. If a student puts enough efforts through the program placement, it will automatically happen. Our curriculum is constantly updated with industry feedback so that students learn what is required after they pass out from the institute.
Recently our Exec PGDM in Business Analytics is the only program accredited by Global Accreditation organization AACSB. IFIM is the Sixth Business school in the country after IIM and XLRI to get this recognition.
Ideal school environment according to Dr. Chandrashekar
Ideal study environment is where a teacher becomes a mentor and creates an environment for students to learn continuously.
Dr. Chandrashekar on what kind of analytic tool does a business analyst need for the “discovery analytics” that’s common with big data
Case Method of Teaching combined with real life project work. Regarding the tools, my view is if the concepts are clear, tool does not matter much. But it does not mean that one should not learn. Some of the commonly used tools in Analytics are - Big data eco system like Hadoop Spark etc. R Python, Power BI Tableau etc.
Top qualities according to Dr. Chandrashekar that an aspiring analyst must possess
The aspirant must have domain knowledge, be able to formulate the business problem to be solved, understand the data requirement, see that you get required data of Quality
Build decision models and communicate the results to the management in a way they understand.
Dr. Chandrashekar on if big data is an opportunity to be seized or a problem just to be managed (with its size, diversity, and speed)
It is an opportunity to be seized. Though it brings certain problems like diversity, security issues privacy etc., but I am sure technology can handle it.
Goals in mind in the area of big data analytics for the next few years and what kinds of analytics go with big data
The upcoming areas are Artificial intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Automation, Solving complex business problems with support of AI and Digital Technology.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
Analytics has tremendous growth in future. At the same time, being in a multi-disciplinary area, students have to put in a lot of effort to learn not only technical skills, but also domain expertise and communication skills working in teams.