Kunal Jain: A Diligent Datapreneur, Doting Dad, and an Occasional Swimmer

My team and I just wrapped up DataHack Summit by Analytics Vidhya. Last week was pretty hectic, but thankfully we have a good team who is always up for the next challenge. They are all go-getters, you know. I completely credit the success of the event to my team. We all came from Gurgaon as our office is based out of Gurgaon. Some of us came early as we had to take care of few things. But it feels great; receiving support from the entire community and making this event a successful one. We had a chance to meet more than 800 analytics professionals. Isn’t it great?

To begin with, I am from Madhya Pradesh, and I did my complete schooling in Indore. And after my 12th I went to IIT Bombay, like most of the children after their 12th aspire to do.

At IIT Bombay, I chose aerospace Engineering because it was something I was always interested in getting into. My specialization was in Computational Sciences and studied it for five years. That was the time when I got exposed to algorithms and started thinking computationally. But the time was tight, the job opportunities around aerospace were very limited. Either you do a Ph.D. in the US and join NASA or go into the logistics side of airlines in India. But none of these options suited me. That’s when Capital One came to our college for campus placement, and I happened to join the company straight out of college.

Capital One was the place that gave me a lot of exposure to analytics, data science, and decision making. I spent around three and half years in various roles. My stint started with collections and risk profile and went on to customer management and customer acquisition. Over these years, I got to learn about various elements that make an active ecosystem and Capital One is a company that hires brilliant people and gives them the freedom to run a business through analytics. It’s very rigorous, but at the same time you are making business decisions, right? So, yes, that was a great start to my career.

After spending a couple of years in the UK at Capital One, I wanted to come back to India and settle down. I came across an opportunity where Aviva Life Insurance wished to set up their analytics team. Discussed with the person who was helping the company build analytics center. And the opportunity sounded great, and I joined Aviva’s analytics team.

In the matter of no time, the analytics team scaled up to twenty people from just two, and my role changed to managerial. Those were the days when I used to be responsible for approval of leaves and attendance regularization. Believe me half of my time would go into these meetings, and after some time I had stopped enjoying my role. But fortunately, I had a chance to mentor my team as a lot of people were transitioning from a non-analytics background to analytics. That was the bigger picture for me as I realized the importance of having some portal that can help professionals stepping into analytics journey. But the bottleneck was I didn’t know to channelize my learnings, so I thought why not start a personal blog and help people understand data science & analytics in a better way. And yes, that’s how the journey of Analytics Vidhya began.

It was in April 2013 when I started my blogging journey on Analytics Vidhya. Thankfully, people started appreciating what I was writing and conveying about analytics, and in a few months, we garnered a lot of people as followers. That’s when I thought that there is a more significant opportunity to convert this personal blog into a community portal. After some time, we started hosting discussion portals, competitions & hackathons, inviting people to write about analytics, and finally helping in job placements. And today we are a platform that caters to any knowledge need or career advice in data science and analytics! It feels great, starting with the first blog to organizing a conference like DataHack Summit, the journey is quite memorable.

To be honest, I didn’t expect this initiative will reach such a scale. The responses we get from our analytics folks are overwhelming and encouraging. In fact, I remember my last day at Aviva when one of the friends asked me ‘’how big do you think that this blog will grow?’’ And my answer was if it grows 4X of the current state, I will be happy! My initial expectations of getting into this were shallow. I remember telling my wife that if this blog doesn’t work, I can always go back to a full-time job. Today, I am very content to see the outcome as many people are getting mentoring sessions from the experts. It’s becoming a growing learning community. Today we get more than a million visits from people across the globe. That’s my reward now😊 Though we have come a long way I still think there is a longer way to go, and we will continue helping the analytics professionals come together.

You know, the innate desire to give the best to our analytics professionals keeps me motivated. The big analytics ecosystem and the diverse skillset of people in India drive me to enable resources to various communities. Having gone through this journey myself, I feel there are lots of takeaways. As a young analytics professional, you should not think that your career in analytics or technology is just a onetime thing. All I want to say is never lose your passion for learning something new and never hesitate to explore what’s beyond your role.

To be honest, the segregation between my professional and personal side hasn’t been there in the last three-four years. Right now, my workspace and residential area is very close, which is convenient to me as I can spend time with my daughter. My daughter is very used to having me around. For example, last week when I was busy working on the Keynote for DHS2017, she would come to me and ask, ’Can we play, dad?” I just said, ‘’let me finish this first and then play’’, but she kept getting up from her sleep at night and come to me and say, “Can we play now?’’. She is too young and has always found me whenever she needed me. But again, we scale up further, I think I will have a hard time convincing her, but so far life is good!

Outside of Analytics Vidhya, I am a person who enjoys reading technical stuff. I love to keep myself abreast of all the technology trends; space travel is one of the areas that fascinates me a lot. Although I haven’t been able to follow sports in last few years, I used to be a long-distance swimmer during my Capital One days in the UK. I used to swim for some eight km at a stretch, and I wish to do it again, very soon hopefully

Meet Kunal Jain: A Diligent Datapreneur, Doting Dad, and an Occasional Swimmer

Interact with Kunal on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaink/) to know all about foraying into the analytics and data science world!

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