Big data is a big deal in the start-up world. With the dawn of the digital era, entrepreneurs are increasingly using data analytics to drive business strategy and decision-making.
Imon Choudhury, an MBA graduate from Sydney’s Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM), is a strategy specialist, with a strong interest in start-ups and guiding entrepreneurs to success. Alongside an advisory role at a major Australian corporate, he runs his own specialized consultancy using data analytics to help businesses grow.
The India-born innovator worked as an engineer for global semiconductors firm Texas Instruments before relocating to Australia, where he would later pursue an MBA. After graduation, he spent over a year working at the heart of public policy and health reform for the Australian Federal Government, strategizing a reform program that influenced the lives of 21 million Australians.
He moved on to join Accenture as a global strategist, travelling the world, before settling to life in Melbourne.
What advice do you have for MBAs looking to start their own business?
Resilience counts; you’ll get through the hard times if you stick to it.
You need to have a good support structure around you; someone who can help coach you and someone who can help navigate the landscape of the start-up world.
How strong is the start-up scene in Melbourne?
It’s looking up! There’s quite a lot of new capital making its way to Melbourne. Increasingly, I’m seeing a rise of start-ups in peer-to-peer businesses and in the education sector.
How is big data changing the way businesses operate?
The demand for data-based decision-making has definitely increased. CRM has taken off big time and you can see that businesses are increasingly relying on data to better engage with their customers.
The opportunities for internal optimization as well as external market acquisition are promising. Industries that have invested in digital platforms are increasing their market effectiveness without significant increases in overheads.
How important is it that MBA students equip themselves with data analytics skills?
Analytics, data and strategy are becoming increasingly intertwined and the demand for analytics skills will become a lot more pronounced.
If students can specialize in analytics as part of the MBA program, I would highly recommend it.
Tell me something about working for Accenture that most people wouldn’t know?
The number one thing is the quality of mentoring.
The beauty of Accenture is that it’s a truly broad-based practice. One gets exposure to a broad range of different areas and the people who come with it. I think that plays a crucial role; it opens up doors when ones transitioning from consulting and helps groom for future roles.
What does Accenture look for in its job applicants?
Be yourself. It’s a phrase used all too often but very few people appreciate what it really means.
Preparing well for the case interviews, in terms of technical areas and soft skills certainly helps. Management consulting is as much about doing business with other people as it is about getting your head down and solving complex problems.
How does working in both the public and private sector compare?
The private sector has a very strong commercial bottom line while in the public sector it’s a lot more about social outcomes.
Having said that, I would impress upon the areas of commonality. The strategy around market share, influencing market outcomes, efficiency and operational excellence, is very similar. In the digital era, I see convergence across the sectors.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at AGSM?
It was a big change for me to give up on my job and relocate to Australia. But I realized that the field of semi-conductors only brought so much. I began to ask myself where to go from here and I felt that the natural fit would be an MBA.
Being able to pursue international exchange programs while pursuing my core program with the top business school in the country was very appealing.
How have you profited from your MBA experience?
It was by far the best investment that I could have ever made.
The caliber of students together with the diversity and the way the programs were taught made for a truly rewarding experience.