EXL Analytics – Abhsishek Aditya Kashyap

269 Views, Posted on: July 1, 2017

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Pre-Intern

With the very beginning of the 5th semester, the internship fever takes over – the time when people actually learn to use Microsoft Word! After a lot of iterations, I finally submitted my resume’, signed in the JAFs I liked, and waited. Reaching the final rounds of three other internship offers and not getting selected, was a huge blow to my self-confidence. I had never heard about EXL before I was shortlisted for it. Clearing the first technical round which was mostly about my previous internship at Reliance and a puzzle (which I cracked during the interview after 2 tries), I found myself in the final HR round. The final HR round mainly focused on the experiences I had and what skills I acquired from them.  

Going There

When you have lived in Mumbai for three years, and that too inside the institute, it irks to say goodbye, even for two months. I landed in Gurgaon (read: Gurugram) and took a cab to the guest house, provided by the company. The guest house was booked for a week by the company after which we had to find a place of our own. I met my co-interns from other IITs and an instant sense of belongingness followed.

The Company

EXL Service is a provider of decision analytics, operations management, outsourcing, business transformation and IT services. The analytics wing of the company is still at a nascent stage but it is making its mark on the market already.

 

The Workplace

Cyber City, where the office is situated, lives up to the expectation of its name. Beautifully designed skyscrapers and people dressed in formals fill in your panorama which gives you the actual feel of a corporate life.  A short five minute stroll away lies the Cyber Hub, which is a paradise for food lovers. The ambiance and aura of the place is so appealing that I found myself there every weekend.

Delhi is roughly an hour away, thanks to the network of metros. Hauz Khas, India Gate, Majnu ka Tila and other innumerable places are waiting to be discovered.

The Internship

On the first day of the internship, we had a short orientation followed by a tour around the office where I found a pool table, a table tennis table and an awesome cafeteria with an infinite supply of “Blue Lays”. The office hours were from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM that exactly suited my biological clock, or for that matter, most of the night owls at IIT. After all, who wouldn’t love to wake up at 12 noon?  

Two weeks into the internship, we had a celebration of the foundation day of the company where I had the opportunity to listen to the speech by the Vice President of the company. The tale of the growth of the company was really inspiring to say the least. Obvious enough, a grand treat followed!  

 

The Work

I was assigned to a data analytics team which catered to a chain of Malls in the US (name skipped for confidentiality). It was a small 13 membered team including the manager as well as the AVP (asst. vice president) who sat together in the same room. This made it easy to interact with everyone regardless of their hierarchy.

The first week was spent in researching about Big Data and the various platforms available for analyzing the huge data. It was the first time I faced a situation where Excel had too few rows to handle the data. I was asked to find a platform better than the team was working on (PySpark), and do an in-depth comparison. I prepared a deck (NOT PPT!) on the same with the conclusion that Scala would be a faster alternative. My midterm project was to learn the language and apply it for data loading, data cleaning, data transformations, data modeling and data interpretations on the new platform and pass on my knowledge to the team so that they can switch over to the new platform as well. The learning curve was as steep as it could be. The final project was to use the actual client data to prepare a model which would be compared to the model made by the team, in terms of accuracy of predictions, and time and memory complexity.

Summing it up

At the midway juncture of this internship, writing this blog has made me ponder upon what I have gained from this internship and the first emotion that comes to mind is that of contentment. The experience has been satisfying and I gained an in-depth idea of data analytics as a career choice. The technical skillsets I acquired here includes SQL, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Powerpoint, Apache Spark and Scala. I still remember the words of my mentor on the first day (which is actually a quote by Ronald H. Coase) – “If you torture data long enough, it will confess!” – and that is what I did.  

 

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