In the era of soaring data, the role of data scientist has emerged as the key to helping organisations – become truly data-driven. Data Scientists work on mission-critical problems within a business, so it’s essential that they have the right skills and can apply the right methodology to solve the business issues.
In this week’s series of A Day In The Life Of, we spoke to Mousumi Ghosh, Head of Fraud Data Analytics at Square. She works on developing data-driven insights, emerging fraud threats and co-ordinates with teams to develop operations strategy, processes and tools which maximise the company’s ability to identify cases of fraud. With 12 years of experience in the data science field, San Francisco-based Ghosh, a mother to a 5-year-old girl and a trained classical dancer has also learnt the art of juggling work-life balance effectively.
A graduate of Virginia Tech University, Ghosh reveals she has always been good at mathematics and loved solving puzzles. That’s how she gravitated towards a career in analytics.
At Caviar, her day starts with meetings with team members and cross-functional stakeholders to understand their business needs and prioritise or assign tasks accordingly. In addition to this, she also helps her team members with hands-on analytics work — drawing insights and deriving a compelling story out of raw data which can benefit the business.
But the key task in managing a large team is to understand the bigger organisational goal and align everyone’s goal to that, shares Ghosh. “Prioritisation is critical. Every day some new risk issues come up, and, we need to prioritise those to make sure business or customers are not impacted. Along with that, we need to accomplish our long term projects. Understanding everyone’s strength and interest plays a big role here. I also take additional time to chat with my team members on a regular basis, address their pain points/concerns as well as provide opportunities for further improvement and career progression. This gives me the most fulfilling experience,” she says.
In fact, a core challenge that Ghosh, who leads her team, tackles on a daily basis is to bring all her team members on the same page The key to bringing everyone in the same page is to align everybody to the bigger company-wide agenda which is to provide our customers effortless experience or business expansion or even fraud detection, shares Ghosh. “Many a time, people are not receptive to the idea of adding new team members. I always try to align the addition as a way to benefit the business, or, to help my existing team members further. Same goes for, building a new solution. Many stakeholders are always involved, and, each has his own agenda,” she says.
Talking about one of her key projects, Ghosh tells AIM, that in one of her projects at a big bank, she observed that all line of businesses were operating in siloed fashion and fraud intelligence was not shared with each other. “I thought as we had so many overlapping customers among card, bank, mortgage, auto loan etc., we needed to share and leverage already existing knowledge that we had about customers especially about their fraudulent behaviour and look at it more holistically,” she says.
Ghosh built a single repository of customers’ fraud data from all line of businesses (credit card, debit card, checking/savings acct, mortgage, auto loan), and then built a logistic regression model on top of it. The model was built upon data like recency, severity, type of fraud among other parameters to predict the probability of committing another fraud in the next nine months. The model and score was implemented in various places like auto marketing, card collection where Ghosh successfully leveraged these insights to advise senior leaders about the value of data and score, thereby helping the bank save millions of dollars.
On the skills front, Ghosh reveals that as the data science domain becomes more and more sophisticated, analytics practitioners have to keep themselves updated with emerging trends. “Career in analytics has become a popular career choice and for the same reason, the competition is also fierce. It is important for all analytics professionals to constantly update their skill set,” she says. Ghosh continued upskilling herself with Data Mining and Data Science Certificates from other universities. “I do on the job training, and, I read analytics magazines to understand the latest trends when I get some free time,” she reveals.
Outside her daily job, Ghosh has been instrumental in helping students find the right career path through and helps immigrant students through professional skill improvement workshops.
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Richa Bhatia is a seasoned journalist with six-years experience in reportage and news coverage and has had stints at Times of India and The Indian Express. She is an avid reader, mum to a feisty two-year-old and loves writing about the next-gen technology that is shaping our world.