Growing up with a chronic stammering problem, I was used to ridicule and derision, but could never fathom how difficult the situation was going to be until the last few semesters of my engineering. As many as 45 rejections back to back were breaking me apart, one cell at a time! “I have not failed. I’ve just found ten thousand ways that won’t work” – I used to remind myself of this inspiring Thomas Edison quote every time I faced rejection in an interview and when the placement season was finally over, I decided to take the bull by its horn and work on my speech impediment.
Finally, the day came when I was offered the role of Senior Reliability Engineer at Blue Star Limited. Working with numbers was always fun but building failure forecasting models for control valves and centrifugal pumps infused the passion for solving complex problems!! The world of Analytics embraced this “Stammering kid” with an open heart!!
After 14 years in the world of Analytics, I still feel like a kid in a candy store!! Every day, the technology changes, every client interaction adds different elements of domain expertise to your repertoire, and every new algorithm brings the joy of problem-solving!! There’s never been a boring day in the last 14 years!!
Every new endeavor, be it a consulting project or a product build is a unique challenge in itself. In the consulting projects, the challenge is to define the problem, understand the current landscape and design a future-proof solution in a very short span of time. When you are building a product, all these challenges get magnified with stricter timelines and tighter budgets. The secret sauce is to plan rigorously, question the status quo at every juncture, effectively communicate with stakeholders and serially innovate. There’s no shortcut to success!
Analytics is an industry that changes every day and the mantra is to keep learning continuously and never getting complacent with your achievements. Building up domain expertise is the most important element; In the last 14 years, I have had the opportunity to work in various domains like Aftermarket services, Enterprise processes, Finance, Supply Chain, etc. Along with domain it’s also important to keep abreast with the latest technology. Open-source technologies are gaining a lot of momentum (for example, TensorFlow), Auto ML platforms (RapidMiner, Amazon’s SageMaker, etc.) are democratizing machine learning and creating more and more Citizen Data Scientists, Conversational AI is disrupting the customer services industry… and so on and so forth.
The point is that the world is changing, and the change is fast-paced and fascinating; we need to keep up with it!!
To be very honest, I have never planned my career so far and don’t intend to do so in the future as well. All my role changes happened organically and, on average, every 2 years. I have always taken up the roles by following my instincts instead of following the market trends. I plan for one week at a time, set lofty targets every week and try to achieve those targets at any cost!! I also set very specific weekly learning targets for myself in order to keep up with the latest in the industry. This system has worked so far, and I hope that this will work in the future as well.
My inspirations have evolved over the years. Being an avid sports fan, Tom Brady is one of those underdog icons I admire. He was a 6th round draft and was dismissed by most of the NFL bigwigs as unfit to be a quarterback. He has continued to prove everyone wrong and recently collected his 6th Super Bowl ring at the age of 42!!
I live in Bangalore with my wife, son and our miniature dachshund Oreo (who was rescued and adopted by us after he was found abandoned with a life-threatening injury). Outside of work, I am an avid photographer, an amateur violinist, and a robotics enthusiast. My wife is also an Analytics professional and our dinner table discussions are something that I look forward to every day.
My only advice to the young professionals would be: learn to embrace your failures and keep working hard towards achieving your goals. I urge those who stammer, struggle with speech or any other impediments, to never give up hope, and face life’s curve-balls with dignity, grace and the relentless hunger to succeed.
Meet Abhishek Bhadra – Digital Innovator, Analytics Leader, and the Stammering Kid Who Never Gave up
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