From BITS Pilani to a Promising Career in Data Analytics
Arpan Bumb is an accomplished alumnus of BITS Pilani, Pilani Campus, from the batch of 2021 (BE Mech). He is currently working as a product analyst at Holland and Barrett, a prominent retailer of health and wellness products, based in the UK. During his academic tenure at BITS Pilani, he collaborated on several impactful research papers, earning him the Best Paper Award. He currently has more than 110 research citations to his name. Alongside his academics, he was deeply involved in music, internships, ASME, and other extracurricular, winning him the Best All-Rounder Award as well.
You just graduated in 2021. Could you tell us what you’ve been up to in the past 2 years?
I currently work as a product analyst in a UK-based business, Holland and Barrett, which was founded in the 1800s. The goal of my team is to digitally transform the business in all aspects, such as company data, tech, websites, etc. In it, my field is data analytics – I make predictions on how future decisions could potentially impact business revenue. Basically, it is a combination of business, tech, data, marketing, and strategy: a little bit of everything.
When and why did you decide to shift from engineering to management? How did you go about changing your field?
I realized I did not want to pursue mechanical engineering in my first year itself. So, I tried and tested a lot of different things: I took up internships in different firms to see if I enjoy it. I also decided to focus on my electives to learn as many new things as possible and kept all my options open. One such elective was print and audio-visual advertising: I ended up collaborating on 8 research papers with the professor who taught me this course and that was the beginning of my journey in my current field.
What were these research papers about? What did they teach you and what are the skills you gained from working on them?
The papers dealt with a lot of topics: from advertising to education and even statistics. In my third year, I solely focused on them. These papers made me realize how important it is to show up for classes or courses where you think you will build your future. It is equally important to maintain good relations with professors. When my professor asked me if I’d be interested in collaborating, I had no prior knowledge or experience. I had to start from scratch. We must learn to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way and get over our fear of rejection.
What are your views on the PS System?
My PS work at JP Morgan helped a lot. If you plan on going abroad for a Master's, you need a strong application. Our undergraduate degrees are 4 years but outside it is 3 years. They have an advantage of a year wherein they gain a lot of work experience. Having the PS system ensures students have had at least 2 internships. You also get to learn a lot.
Could you talk about your application journey in applying for London Business School? What advice would you give to students who are planning on going abroad for a master's?
In my second year, I started exploring future options: should I go for a master's or a job or into research? The first thing that I did was investigate the admission criteria. Something that a lot of students don’t do is find out what they’re expected to work towards. Initially, I considered applying for IIMs, but my plans changed. LBS required a minimum of 9.0 GPA, so my first target was achieving that. Secondly, I needed to stand out in aspects other than regular academics. This is where my research papers, internships, and extracurriculars helped. Another important factor was the letters of recommendation my professors wrote – this is why it is important to regularly interact with them.
What do you miss the most about BITS?
This is a very controversial opinion, but I really miss the mess food. Sometimes, I’ll be cooking at home and remember how they made it in the mess. I also miss chilling in the wing with my friends, and the music nights. And Oasis!
What are your plans for the future?
I’ll be staying in the UK as a permanent resident, and I will continue working in the field of data analysis. I’m going to delve into AI and how it can be used to automate business processes. I won’t be pursuing a course as such, I think professors can only bring you to their level but to stand out in a highly competitive environment, you need to exceed them. You can only outgrow the competition by directly getting into the field. You try and you fail but you take feedback and improve.
Anything else you would like to say to students reading this?
Your career and your life are in your own hands. Other than your academics, you need to build a skillset. That is what matters once you get into the real world. Take any opportunity that comes your way. Also, effective networking is very, very important. Whichever part of the world, whichever field, you decide to go in, there will be a BITSIAN ready to help you.
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