Gaurav Vohra: An Analytics Academician, Avid Alpinist, and Social Changemaker

“For a comfortable work desk, do you prefer to adjust the height of your chair or the height of your desk?” You sat in a yellow room all day. Do you feel more energized or less compared to a usual day? “These were some of the questions I was asked at my first company, Capital One. The more time I spent at Capital One, the more I understood the power of analytics and how it can help you make almost any decision better. I learned about analytics in my first job – senior business analyst at Capital One, a US-based credit card company. I also realized that this is something that I find interesting and seem to be good at. My brief stint at Capital One led to this 17-year long love affair with analytics. And the journey has been pretty awesome, you know! For all the aspiring data scientists I just have one advice, ’don’t look at data science as a work skill. Think of it as a life skill. It can help you make better decisions in any facet of life – from choosing the right route to the office to choosing your life partner”. Incorporate data into every decision you make, learn to leverage information in the face of ambiguity and you will go far in life.

As a person, I cherish every experience in life, no matter how good or bad it is. When I was 17, I met this Merchant Navy Captain who was completely drunk and insisted on giving me a life lesson. Since his free advice came with free alcohol, I could not refuse it. He said a lot of things but the one thing that stayed with me till today is a comment he made right at the end. He said in life you would seldom experience regret for anything that you’ve done. It is what you haven’t done that will torment you. I have made several decisions since then with this in mind, and I think my life is so much richer because of those decisions. The quote by Mark Frost sums up my entire life, ‘’ “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming — WOW– What a Ride!”

Well, when I am not working, you can find me in the mountains. I am an avid mountaineer. I have climbed two 6000m peaks and made an unsuccessful attempt at a 7000-m summit last year. I also love skiing and enjoy running and cycling as well. And if given a chance I would like to spend my time to create social impact with analytics. I believe there a lot of people with low incomes (especially women) who can do a lot more in life if they have access to more money. Banks and financial institutes hesitate to lend to such people because they rely on traditional metrics like income to assess your creditworthiness. I believe analytics can play a huge role in giving such people access to the resources that can help them transform their lives.

Meet Gaurav Vohra: An Analytics Academician, Avid Alpinist, and Social Changemaker

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