Thursday, 31 May 2012

Is the Advanced Analytics Course from IIT-Bombay effective enough?

Hello Friends,
I keep coming across this question from a lot of Analytics aspirants – “Is the Advanced Analytics Course from IIT-Bombay effective enough?”

Infact, I have lost count of the number of mailers and phone calls I must have responded to for this key question. These aspirants have probably been reaching out to me through my LinkedIn credentials. To standardize my response (and thus make it easier for myself and all the aspirants), allow me to share my detailed thoughts and feedback. Allow me to discuss about all the pros and cons, which'll allow all ye' Analytic dreamers make an informed and well-thought of decision. Well, it's a significant investment in terms of time, money and committment. So why not take the plunge with a deeper analysis - your key objectives, setting the precise expectations from the course...and net-net the all essential, "How will it benefit me?"

The Immense Positives:

  1. Most importantly, the IIT Bombay brand, which will be a big boost to your resume. Recruiters will take your Analytics 'aspirations' much more seriously.
  2. An elite, diversified and enthusiastic bunch of 'like-minded' professionals as your peer group. It does wonders for your network within the industry. Also the fact that most of them are very gung-ho about analytics makes it an exciting and eclectic batch to interact with. Infact, I can confidently say that you'll learn much more from your peers than the curriculum or the IIT Profs.
  3. The course content is pretty wide in terms of all the relevant topics that it covers. Very comprehensive indeed!
  4. The IIT profs are most helpful (and needless to say, knowledgeable) and will do all that they can to resolve your doubts/queries. The chat option during the virtual classrooms/webinars makes it a very interactive education mode - where you’re continuously raising queries and brainstorming with your peers.
  5.  The IIT campus session of 3 full days at the fag-end of the course is the most exciting part of the deal! There are live training sessions on analytic tools, guest lectures from industry experts and ofcourse, live interaction with the IIT profs. Nothing to beat the aura of being on the esteemed IIT campus.
And now, here are the inherent negatives, which all of us felt right throughout our course -
  1. The Hughes service and communication. Be it in terms of lecture coordination, material distribution/circulation or a lot of instances of technical glitches (during the webinars/virtual classrooms).
  2. While the course content is wide and comprehensive, it tends to be a bit too technical. The focus is more on the derivation of formulae and the alpha, beta and gama bit of it, rather than the real-world business applications. For e.g. I would be more interested in the application of the Gini co-efficient, ARIMA model  and Bootstrapping methodology, rather than knowing minute technical details about these.
  3. So after the course, you’ll definitely feel a vacuum in terms of “Ok, so now I know it all. But how do I apply it in my job/career?” The content is too theoretical, very ineffective in terms of real-world business case studies and applications.
  4. For all non-statistic based students, the going was pretty tough. So if you haven’t heard of regression before, never dealt with Standard deviation earlier, the proceedings may sound Latin. IIT believes that all students who have enrolled are there for ‘Advanced’ analytics. Don’t expect them to hand-hold you through the basics of Analytics.
  5. Net-net: In terms of intangible professional gains (the impact on your resume), the course will continue to benefit you in the long run. However, don’t expect immediate gains in your current job or your value in the ‘Analytics’ job market. However, it’ll definitely improve your credibility and the probability of your CV getting short-listed by analytic firms.
However, if you are more keen on Learning, Knowledge and Application, you may find this course a bit shallow. In fact, please visit the following site for a much more well-structured and actionable course content. It teaches you the tricks of the trade, how and when to use the tools and how to interpret your results. It is led by business folks who have actually practiced analytics in reputed organizations. It has dedicated modules of sectors like BFSI and retail.
To simplify the comparison: While IIT will give you that halo of being an IITian, the theoretical history of various concepts; Jigsaw Academy will straightaway get down to business and tell how to build, analyze and apply analytical models in various situations/industries. IIT will make you knowledgeable, Jigsaw will increase your ability to execute. IIT could increase your job prospects, Jigsaw will increase your ability to succeed in analytic-based assignments. IIT is much easy-paced and spread out (3 hours every Sunday for a year) and won’t demand much in terms of beyond-classroom assignments. Jigsaw promises to be much compact in duration, but much rigorous and intensive (6 hours every week, Sat and Sun, for 3 months). It’ll also take a lot from you in terms of weekly assignments. As they say, IIT is typical ‘Mile wide, Inch deep’ and Jigsaw is ‘Half a mile wide, 2 Miles deep’.  IIT will cost you 1.25 lacs, Jigsaw starts at about 40 thousand. Take your pick!
Just to caution: Hope you understand, both the courses are not your sure-shot entry ticket to a successful analytic career. Both will demand immense commitment, involvement and passion from you. If you ain’t supporting these courses through immense reading and practice, it’ll end up being a glorious affiliation on your CV.
And now, before you ask, Why on earth am I endorsing Jigsaw so much? Have I been a Jigsaw student as well?
Well, unfortunately not. Despite my deep respect for Jigsaw, I haven’t been able to bring myself to commit 3 months of intensive Jigsaw training. However, quite a few of my batchmates from IIT, who were not satiated with the learning at IIT, went ahead and pursued Jigsaw as well. While you’ll find their detailed testimonials on the Jigsaw site, the feedback they had for this course was simply superlative! They could now understand, practice and implement complex analytic models, which were no more the intimidating theories they were at IIT. I too am very keen on pursuing Jigsaw, to put my IIT knowledge to good use, avoid rapid evaporation of the knowledge gained and most importantly, learn to solve the Smart Analytics 'Jigsaw'!
To sum it up, IIT will make you feel good, earn some adulation. Jigsaw will make you more effective, entrench your reputation and earn some real Respect!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Very well put Himanshu.

    In fact, I would like to add that my personal experience at Jigsaw was very effective in large part due to the strong theoretical grounding at the IIT Program.

  3. Thanks Vinayak! Hope you'll spread the word Ashish...

  4. Thanks Himanshu for such a valuable Information. Furthermore, SAS Institute also offer some similar courses, do you have ne idea about them?

  5. The courses offered by both SAS and IBM SPSS are very effective in deploying you with the tools of the trade and hit the ground running.

    IBM SPSS Data Modeller has an exhaustive course content and some very neat tools and intuitive user interface. Please do read up more about this and sign-up for their modeller trainings (5-day rigorous sessions). Very useful!

  6. Thanks dude ..i was comparing the Analytics courses from IIMB/C/IITB and finally after you post i looked for Jigsaw. I guess Foundation Course from Jigsaw would be best to take before we decide on long term courses from said institute.

  7. Ofcouse Bunty! Go for has helped many in solving the Jigsaw of Smart Analytics!

  8. IIT Delhi has Advanced Business Analytics & Optimization program. More details are Its much better than the others and IIT Delhi remains #1 engineering institute in the country. I have enrolled for it.

  9. Any guidance for above mentioned course Himanshu?

  10. Do you mean IIT-Bombay or IIT-Delhi Advance Business Analytics?

  11. What do you think about the IIT Delhi course?

  12. Well, I have no primary data to be commenting on the IIT Delhi course. Neither have I myself participated in it, nor do have any information about it from my networks.

    Having said that, I think the logic would hold true for any IITs across India – be it Bombay or Delhi. These are marquee ‘academic and research’ institutions that have carved out these specialized courses for the business community. However, the core DNA of these courses would still remain largely ‘theoretical and conceptual’. Nothing wrong, if one is looking forward to build a strong conceptual base. However, for those looking at ‘quick to deploy’ business analytics knowledge and application in our current business scenarios, I would still recommend the 3-month long specialized courses from Jigsaw. These rigorous sessions are more about case studies, business applications, sector-wise insights and lab/practice sessions of various analytical tools like SAS, SPSS and R.

  13. I saw the IIM Lucknow course for Business Analytics. Although it is is more of technical and less of management again but it has more no. of tools involved than the other courses such as Tableau, @RISK, Decision Tools Suite, SAS, SPSS, GAMS, WinQSB. Jigsaw Academy has good course content as well, but I think it could be a mixture of both, Jigsaw and an IIT/IIM, to add up to the CV.

  14. Himanshu, how has this course helped you professionally? And is it wise to do it and keep for the future without working in the field of Analytics? There are chances that I could go for an MBA next year, and I am thinking of doing these courses right now, so I would be joining a company again in 2015 and that is if I get an admission. So, is it suitable to do this right now?

  15. Hello Anant,

    Yes, the IIT course has tremendously helped me! If you want to quantify it in terms of my career graph, salary increase, designation, some dream job profile…well, frankly I have no answer for that. My current profile has practically got nothing to do with Analytics.

    However, the fact is that the IIT course has further strengthened my love and passion for advanced/smart analytics. And to me, it’s this passion that matters in the long run rather than any aforementioned superficial things. I haven’t yet enrolled for Jigsaw, but plan to do it sometime later this year. And my true belief is that if you pursue something with passion and genuine love, sooner or later, you’ll have great opportunities to practice them in your professional avatar. And Analytics is definitely something that I would want to make a career of.

    Considering all your logistics that you’ve indicated…start with the 3-month Jigsaw right away! And if that whets your appetite, go for the detailed course of IIT anytime later.

    Sounds good?

  16. Thanks a lot for the help Himanshu.

  17. Hi Himanshu,

    I came across this post while doing my research on the same. Understanding your knowledge on Analytics, I believe that your advice will help me in a big way.

    Well starting from my background , I have done my MBA in Marketing from Mumbai University and have almost 2 years of experience. Also I have beginner knowledge of SPSS.

    I have a passion for analytics and would like to develop it further. I have gone through the course content of Jigsaw and IIT.

    As a beginner, please guide me on how should I go about developing my skills with the help of these courses.

    Thanks. Looking forward to your reply.

  18. You should go with Jigsaw "Vennetta". Listen to the sample videos.....somehow I like the way they talk...especially Gaurav....You dont get tired of listening....concepts are simple....and yes like Himanshu mentioned....dont except to get handheld in IIT. They expect you to learn/know the basic concepts. Jigsaw on the other hand teaches you the ABC....and also the concepts that you can understand...Take your pick....if you are hell bent on having an IIT on your CV the I would say do the Jigsaw foundation course and then do the IIT. But again, you need to practice and also keep your self updated. I work in HPs global analytics team and the changes and updates happen like almost every other day.....

  19. Hi Jayana,

    Thanks for the help! Even I enjoyed Jigsaw's style of delivering concepts. But was confused between IIT and Jigsaw. I am not that into brand names, for me knowledge is the key for everything.

    I will opt for Jigsaw for my initial analytical run. ;-)

    Saying that, I would like to know more about your experience in the field on analytics , just to know more about the present day Analytics. :-)

    Best Regards,

    1. I did a jigsaw course and had to drop out due to lack of quality. They do not allow to download the videos. The ppt's and pdf's that can be downloaded do not have much contents. Further there are not much worked out examples. Several times I highlighted this to them but no action was taken. Their assignment questions are quite confusing as the answer what you arrive at tend to be wrong especially in statistics module.
      Their course can be improved by allowing us to download the tutorial videos , adding more worked out examples , more practice questions and the solution to assignment questions after submitting the assignments.

  20. Very true.In the so far study on my jigsaw academy (since I live in bangalore) , I was in a dilemma to choose this over the IIM, IIT (let it be bangalore, bombay, ranchi).But this had been resolved now.

    person being an iitian already, can simply go from the same college.But looking from more of a practical point, it is better to begin with jigsaw,Bangalore and then also secure a degree from M's or T's (procuring a true education and quick salary at the same time)

    Jigsaw - Real practical education IIM/IIT - Well, the tag of it hides all the rest ;)

  21. Hi Himanshu ,

    Currently I am working as a Software Tester in Banking Product company, now i want to move in Data Analytic field. I have a work experience of 2 years. As per your comments and my research i found that Jigsaw's course is quite impressive and useful. Can u please guide me something about placements in Data Analytic field. My major concern is that will company hire the candidates just on the basis of Jigsaw's course without any prior experience in Data Analysis.And if yes what would be the salary standard.


  22. hello frnds i want to do business analyst course. Im MBA in Finance and hr both and working as a Accounts executive in a local firm is there any specialization for the same? or can i get a job in MNC after completion the cource?

    Please friends tell me

  23. Hey Himanshu,

    Thanks for the post.
    I have few questions for you.
    1. Which software tools are used in "Advance Certificate Program in Business Analytics - IIT Bombay" ? (R or Python or any other ?)
    2. Which sector they focus on while teaching ? (Is it capital markets or any other?)
    3. How is their study material? Do they provide Video lectures ?
    4. How many faculties teach this entire course?

    Thanks in advance.


  24. Hi Himanshu,

    I hold a zero knowledge in Analytics but i am very keen to develop my skills and inject myself with lot of education related to Analytics.

    Can you please suggest, how should i plan myself to choose the right platform and from where should i start.

    Addition to it, please let me know, how and which institute to choose as i am from Hyderabad and most importantly i am very New to this.

    Awaiting for your response.


  25. Guys sorry for my late response on this so far. To me, the best and the most unanimous answer to all your queries is dial Jigsaw for everything related to Analytics. Just visit their website and they have detailed answers and blogposts on everything under the sun about Analytics. Why Analytics? kind of job profiles, reading material, breaking the myths on popular big data concepts, it's all there! Personally, I am planning to enroll into Jigsaw sometime this June. Please do let me know for any further queries.

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  29. IIM Bangalore Business Analytics & Intelligence program is the best analytics program in the country. They are the 1st to start analytics course and now 5th batch is running. In the last 5 years they have experimented and now have very good curriculum with focus on application. All other colleges started very recently and they still don't know much about the applications of analytics rather teach theory.

    Also now lots of free online MOOCS on analytic are available in coursera from top universities. So what is the point of paying for jigsaw for the samething?

    1. That's what I was there a point in enrolling for these courses when there are already so many free MOOCs ?
      Also, do you know if there is any benefit jobwise of the IIM B ?
      I am already from an IIT so don't care about the brand name of IIT B and the Jigsaw course material seems useless as introductory/basic data science is already available through free MOOCs

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