After years, I went back to college. As an AI & ML enthusiast, it was time to get deeper into the subject. The sprawling campus of IIM-B (Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore) served as the perfect setting for “Machine Learning with Business Applications“. The course started with the fundamentals of ML, traversed the complexities, and finally delivered insights into practical applications.
Inspiring, intensive, and immersive course – a wholesome meal, to put it plainly. Here are my 3 key takeaways from the course:
#1 ML is not only Science, but an Art too !
Machine Learning is lot of science – mathematics, probability, statistics, algebra, algorithms, coding and, tools. However, Art plays a significant role in making ML programs work. The art of understanding business problems and context, co-relating insights and, story telling – are important. Art elevates the “nerdy” technical stuff into “practical” business applications. HBR beautifully captures the essence of art in this article.
#2 Domain , Domain, and Domain
Domain knowledge is a critical factor for the successful Machine Learning program. ML methodologies and tools are akin to the horizontals cutting across business verticals, similar to an underlying IT layer. Unless a business problem or need is solved, sophisticated algorithms, and beautiful charts serve no purpose. A strong collaboration between business and analytics teams are becoming an increasing ask.
#3 ML is for the average Joe, as much as it is for the cutting-edge corporations
Large corporations with full-sized teams are in the news for Machine Learning success stories. What is not easily available are the narratives of smaller business houses, employing ML techniques from process improvement to strategic decision making. The course, equally, covered case studies from large and small organisations ranging from social media analytics, churn analytics, sales win-ability, marketing techniques optimisation, operations improvement, and forecasting – to name a few. Even more exciting, was the insight that some of these are accomplished using plain-old excel and open source tools !
The course was fast-paced, but it opened my perspective to looking at Machine Learning programs in a new way. An exciting space to participate & watch in the coming years…