Wharton Customer Analytics

Spotlight

Student

Anish Bikmal, W’23

Anish Bikmal, W’23 - circle

Program: Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, studying computer science, management, and entrepreneurship

WCA Involvement: Wharton Analytics Fellows; Fall 2019 Analytics Accelerator

What were your top takeaways from working on a WCA project?
I really valued being able to work with a diverse team with varying skills and skill levels. Additionally, I thought it was amazing that I could work with real data from established companies at such an early stage in my career. It really shed some light on how real-world data looks.

Why is working on current datasets and actual business questions important to your educational analytics experience at Penn?
In the classroom setting, data is typically unrealistic and used to teach a concept or prove a point. Being able to work on current datasets and actual business questions has taught me how to apply these concepts in unfamiliar settings. The experience has been an invaluable supplement to my coursework at Penn.

How has your experience with WCA shaped your career goals?
Coming out of high school, I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue. Penn was perfect for someone like me as it has great academic programs in every field of study. Due to WCA, I will definitely seek out more analytics and data science roles in the future.

If you could be a statistical model, which one would it be and why?
I would be logistic regression because when I do something, I’m either completely invested in it or I don’t do it. This is similar to a logistic regression that classifies input in a binary way such as pass/fail or win/lose.

Alumnus

Anirudh Bikmal, C’20

Anirudh Bikmal, C’20 - circle

Current Position: Data Scientist at Facebook

WCA Involvement: Fall 2018 Analytics Accelerator, a WAF project, and a Datathon

What drew you to Penn?
Strong research/academic opportunities (I was able to explore my interdisciplinary interest in biology and data science) coupled with a vibrant performing arts scene that I was very interested in!

What was your top takeaway from working on WCA projects?
Simple analyses that guide tangible action for the company/product are way more important than developing complicated models that may be hard to interpret.

How has your experience with WCA prepared you for your current career path?
It helped me to apply a lot of what I was learning in school to real problems. School assignments are often highly structured and provide “clean data” and don’t always catch the nuances and other problems that may show up when dealing with real data. I’m definitely still utilizing a lot of the same frameworks to approaching problems that I learned during my time in WCA! In addition, it was invaluable to meet MBAs and grad students who were also interested in data science for advice, community, and mentorship.

What advice would you give someone interested in starting a career in data analytics?
Don’t be afraid to work on your own independent projects – It’s a great way to learn and showcase your skills! There are many great websites that provide data resources like OpenDataPhilly.

If you could be a statistical model, which one would it be and why?
Probably density-based spatial clustering of applications with noise (DBSCAN) since when applied to a relevant data set the visualizations look super cool!