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Read about the journey of an engineer who went from synthesizing asprin in a laboratory to commingling complexities of the corporate world.

Nihar Vakil

The back-bencher
  • 2015

    Joined Mu Sigma as a Junior Associate in the September batch of the Columbus Program

  • 2016

    Managed a sub-group with the world's largest telecom company with a team of 4

  • 2017

    Promoted to Associate leading sub-groups at two separate accounts in the Dallas region

  • 2018

    Accepted the role of Apprentice Engagement Manager responsible for the engagement with one of the world's premier Consumer Packaged Goods company

Q & A with Nihar Vakil

I never liked the classroom, but always loved learning. It took me a long time to realize this as well, and it wasn’t until recently that I was forced to read, yet given the time and freedom to choose my subjects. I hold a degree in Chemical Engineering, yet what really defines me is my love for acoustic music – I play the piano, movies – I watch all things Bollywood, Martial Arts – I am a Brown Belt at Judo, and my Dog – Ranchhoddas the mischievous Golden. Having left home (Mumbai) when I was 17, I flew to the United States of America to lead the ultra-independent life I wanted to have, and that is exactly what the past 8 years have gone in building. Not one to follow the norm, I had my first paid job a year before I decided to move out, as a Production Manager in a startup theatre company which has now become a popular creative engine in India. Ever since, there has not been a time when I haven’t been actively employed. Ultimately true to my Indian roots, I am still heavily emotionally attached to my family back in Mumbai and aspire to be back some day to run the family business.

Mu Sigma is my first full time engagement. I was hired directly from Ohio State University and chose to join for one very simple reason – I would get to visit India for an extended period of time. The balance between my two homes was something I was looking for, and I feel lucky to have found it. The Columbus Program, all its intricacies and quirks included, was a humbling albeit character building experience. Living a college lifestyle even after graduating, in a new space, surrounded by a special breed of humans – those who were comfortable in being uncomfortable, each with fresh attitudes and perspectives, was a journey unparalleled. My Mu Sigma journey has taken me from a Junior Associate to Associate to Apprentice Engagement Manager, working with multiple clients and across multiple projects. Doesn’t feel like it will end here, either, because Mu Sigma is just so much fun to work in.

The company inherently does wonders to you because of the boldness of its character. It gives you the opportunity to observe and experience the real world first hand, from clients who are leaders from huge corporations. This influences you directly and heavily. Confidence that would otherwise stay dormant, now oozes in abundance. Business is all about people, and the types of different people you can encounter is equivalent to the earth’s population. Mu Sigma has allowed me to have an unmatched number of interactions with various minds, and I am learning different ways of dealing with people in the process. The philosophy behind Mu Sigma is not one that should be limited to its walls. I can now say “I don’t know” without any hesitation, because I know that I have all the resources available to me to learn.

Mu Sigma is young and scrappy. Mu Sigma is curious and restless.

One of the world’s largest Consumer Packaged Goods companies wanted to get ahead of the market and identify various snacking trends much before they matured. They wanted to capitalize on those trends by being the first multinational to take them mainstream. Mu Sigma built an org-wide consumable tool that latches on to these trends from all over the globe and suggests how nascent or established they are in their life cycle. The tool also forecasts the length of the trend’s life span. Outputs from this are currently being used to make decisions on multiple mergers and acquisitions.

At Mu Sigma, every experience is a mini roller coaster, but the one that vividly stands out for me is my first day in the Mu Sigma office in Bangalore – not knowing what to expect, we walk in escorted by a senior mentor to an open floor full of Mu Sigmans doing things that needed to get done. The energy was infectious.

Ice cream connoisseur.

Ambitious and challenging, yet a great learning, read about Justin's life changing experiences at Mu Sigma that shaped his dream

Justin Ryan Page

The Shot Caller
  • 2015

    Joined Mu Sigma in early 2015 where I was part of the second full time Columbus program and spent 6 months in India. After completing my journey, I joined an engagement with a large retailer and e-commerce company

  • 2016

    Began leading a new and larger team centered around supply chain management and optimization with the retail and ecommerce company, further expanding my experience and opening new learnings along the way

  • 2017

    Promoted to Associate and led a team with another coworker of 17 offshore team members tackling merchandising and operations problems for the organization, ranging from immediate turn around requests as well as long term strategy

  • 2018

    Promoted to Apprentice Engagement Manager and transferred to one of the world largest insurance providers to manage the engagement and lead all day to day project steps and activities

Q & A with Justin Ryan Page

A graduate of Rutgers University with a background in Supply Chain Management, I worked with two Fortune 500 companies prior to joining Mu Sigma. After leaving college, I realized that I wanted to continue solving problems, working with a large organization. My interest in learning new things and the opportunity to create change made Mu Sigma the ideal place for me to grow. The skills I have learnt and experiences I have had in my 3.5 years here have given me an edge over those I graduated with, as well as memories I will never forget.

Joining in February 2015, I had the opportunity to be a part of the second Columbus batch to stay in India. Since then, I had the opportunity to work with two clients: the largest retailer in the world and the largest healthcare insurance provider in the world. I have gained a wide set of skills and experiences across both eco-systems and gained industry knowledge that would take individuals decades to obtain.

The company has shown me what my true potential is. It has taught me to not be afraid of learning and taking on something I am not familiar with. It has also given me the opportunity to explore areas I would not have tried to learn about on my own. From leadership abilities to analytical and problem-solving skills, the company has shaped me into a completely new individual for the better.

Mu Sigma is the 21st century detective agency. We solve problems and find solutions. It's as simple as that.

I worked with a retail client on creating a Decision Board for them which dealt with futuristic and technological advances in its stores. The specialty of this project was the fact that it was envisioned by the CEO of the E-Commerce division, whose team went through our visualizations to make their decisions.

A request by the CMO of a large corporation, who needed an analysis to be done within 2 hours for presenting in a board meeting. Although it was very stressful and required a lot of work to be done in analysis and visualization, the reward and satisfaction of completing the ask was something I will never forget.

I would most likely be in Graduate school pursuing my PH.D. I have a passion for both teaching and learning, and would be taking strides to pursue options that would most likely lead to becoming a professor.

From being a social introvert to leading and managing a wide portfolio of analytics projects. Read Rohit’s journey of personal transformation at Mu Sigma

Rohit Bane

The Cautious Thinker
  • 2013

    Joined Mu Sigma as a Trainee Decision Scientist, and started working on a prototype engagement with the foods division of a leading UK retailer

  • 2014

    Promoted to Decision Scientist, and led leading two UK retail engagements with team sizes of 4 members each

  • 2016

    Changed domains to lead multiple engagements with a US based network technology manufacturer. Got promoted to Apprentice Leader in the same year

  • 2018

    Currently leads delivery and growth out of Bangalore, for a couple of US-based client engagements; along with extended support to new partnerships within our larger client portfolio

Q & A with Rohit Bane

I've been raised in a considerably modern but traditional Indian household, which meant that my dreams and aspirations were pretty much tied to the field of engineering that I chose back during undergrad. Having had a general passion for cars and the way machines worked, I considered Mechanical engineering to be my calling. It took me just under a year to realize the difference between academia and passion, and I spent the next 3 years in college looking for something different to excite me. Even then, I aspired to get into a career that was closer to the industry to the extent of being relevant in real-time. A path where I wouldn't have to spend 4 years leaning about an obsolete technology or science, only to discover that the world has already changed. Mu Sigma fit that description perfectly. 5 years since, today as an Apprentice Leader, heading delivery for a Fortune-100 client has only extended those aspirations further. Having spent a bulk of my years at Mu Sigma adapting to the ever changing business world, now I want to pioneer bold decisions for companies that have been stuck in the legacy loop for far too long.

I started off as a Trainee Decision Scientist in 2013, working with a major European Food Retailer in the space of Supply Chain and Demand analytics. A journey that started with me being the youngest member in a prototype engagement swiftly translated into a two year engagement that required me to step up just 8 months into the company. Post that I worked with 2 other European Retail giants with a common thread – convincing hard veterans with 15 years of experience on the power of data driven decisions to solve issues around promotions, supply chain, and assortment planning – any retailer’s true nightmare. In 2015, I took a couple of months off for personal reasons, and came back with a 360 switch to work with a US-based technology conglomerate. I have worked with multiple executive level stakeholders over the past 3 years to grow this into a steady engagement that answers questions for our clients across technical services and supply chain optimization, commerce effectiveness, and a few niche AI initiatives that are potentially industry trend-setters. But then, this is just my journey through work. There were quite a few side stops on the personal front!

I was shy and an introvert in college, and frankly the prospect of speaking to such experienced clientele scared me. But the one thing that Mu Sigma has shown me is that expertise is short lived, and the power of learning and adapting can never be underestimated. Once I broke the traditional barrier of the ‘infamous’ inferiority complex, my personal side evolved enabling me to be a part of experiences that I would never have dreamt of 5 years ago. I helped run Expose 2015 as a part of the core team, became a part of two large people-oriented drives in our extended client portfolios, and reached a point where I could embrace interactions, strange encounters, and exploration of the unknown. Professionally, Mu Sigma has given me the one thing that 4 years of undergrad education could not – a purpose.

Mu Sigma, the way I interpret it, has always been an enabler – first for the industry, then for our customers, and lastly the 10,000 people that have been associated with the company over the years. The company has been called disruptive, trendsetting, bold, among other things – but the right adjective is just a function of time. It has always enabled everyone to do more, and still continues to do so.

One of the most exciting projects that I worked on while at Mu Sigma was a promotion planning tool that we designed for a convenience retailer in the UK. The goal was to provide a holistic assessment of upcoming promotional deals from vendors and brands, and help category buyers make informed decisions on their promotional strategy. What made the project interesting was not the technology or the statistics that went into creating this solution. But a single statement from the client – “You guys have managed to pull off something in 4 months that I spent 17 years to understand”. That was the only reinforcement that I have ever needed to believe in what I am doing.

Probably, the time when I worked with one of our senior leaders to brainstorm and create content around a challenging topic for a Tech Talk at one of our client locations – Augmented Intelligence v/s Artifical Intelligence. It was an exciting experience to take a look at our own industry through a more conceptual and critical lens, and present strong opinions about the way we the future of this industry should pan out. The research that was involved as a part of this process was just an additional perspective that I carry in my arsenal at all times now.

If not a Mu Sigman, I would still be a problem solver wherever that may be. Also, in the event where problems cease to exist in the world (highly unlikely), I would turn my mind to writing or gastronomy – or maybe a combination of both!

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