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In Review: Great Lakes launches 1 year PGP in Big Data and Machine Learning

In Review: Great Lakes launches 1 year PGP in Big Data and Machine Learning

There seems to be a gold rush for data analytics jobs in India and if you want to stay ahead of the curve, one way to go about it is by going back to school. Great Lakes Institute of Management in conjunction with Illinois Institute of Technology has launched a PG Program – Big Data and Machine Learning, a rigorous, industry intensive one-year course that packs technical know-how with hands on training of tools, real world insights and leadership edge from industry veterans. Great Lakes PG Program – Big Data and Machine Learning goes beyond tools and trains candidates on Big Data Technologies, Machine Learning, Visualization and Data Science models.

Great Lakes is a well-known name in Analytics Education with its PGP in Business Analytics and Business Intelligence being ranked as India’s #1 analytics program for 2017, 2016, and 2015. This new PGP-BDML from Great Lakes will only further its standing in imparting high quality analytics education.

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Harish Subramanian, Program Director – PG Program – Big Data and Machine Learning

Analytics India Magazine spoke to Harish Subramanian, Program Director, Big Data Analytics who helped us understand the Big Data program better and also how it is  different from the Business Analytics program. “In the last few years there has been a huge demand of Big Data Engineers and Analytics professionals. The PGP-BDML is designed to prepare technology professionals for careers in Big Data. In the program, they are given a lot more exposure on the technical side while learning big data technology stack, machine learning and visualization techniques. Our Business Analytics program is focused on equipping candidates on the business side of analytics. The focus there is more on solving analytics problems in business context, thereby preparing candidates for managerial and techno-functional roles in analytics and data science. The PGP-BDML on the other side is purely for technology professionals who want to build their career on the technology and big data track. The focus here is a lot more on the implementation layer with hands-on exposure on big data technology stack and learning to implementing various analytical techniques using big data tools. The PGP-BDML prepares candidates for technical roles in Big Data analytics,” he shared.

Here are some quick facts about PG Program – Big Data and Machine Learning

Name of Program: PG Program – Big Data and Machine Learning

Type: Guided learning through 200 hours of classroom sessions, 200 hours of project work (8 mini projects, course readings, and an industry-oriented capstone project), and 50 hours of online learning

Duration: 1 year

Class Size: 60 students

Degree: Dual Certification from Great Lakes and Stuart School of Business, IIT Chicago

Resources: 24×7 access to a Big Data Lab, access to a senior industry practitioner, state-of-the-art classrooms with complimentary lunch and snacks on class days and access to alumni network

Tools acquired:  R, Python, Hadoop, HDFS, Hive, Spark, Spark Streaming, Spark SQL,Tableau, MLLib, Scikit-learn & other libraries.

Experiential Learning: Capstone Project, Mini-projects, Big Data Lab

Start Date: Locations: Bangalore, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Chennai

Application: Click here to know more

Prerequisites that students must fulfil before they secure an admission

  • Bachelor’s Degree with a minimum of 50% aggregate marks at graduation or equivalent
  • Minimum of two years full-time work experience
  • Comfort with using at least 1 programming language
  • Familiarity with college-level mathematics and statistics

Course Content

As companies grapple to monetize the huge volumes of data through valuable insights, PGP in Big Data and Machine Learning gives students cutting-edge analytic technology combined with business practices to drive results in the extremely data-driven world. The comprehensive course is divvied up in four major streams — Statistical Foundations, Big Data Technologies, Machine Learning on Big Data, Visualization and Insight.

The course builds on core statistical foundation, covering areas such as Descriptive and inferential statistics, Hypothesis testing and estimation, Predictive analytics – regression   (Ordinary least squares, multiple   linear, logistic). In big data technologies, students will be introduced to Hadoop and Spark ecosystem; learn about data discovery and acquisition in real time, web, DB, archives, machine logs; pick up big data query languages such as Spark, Hive, Pig; data storage in HDFS and tackle big data in AWS.

The next module, Machine Learning on Big Data touches upon tree-based methods — Decision trees,   random forest, Classification, Clustering, Recommend systems, graphical models and page rank   algorithm. And the last module teaches students how to bring data to life with visualization tools. In this module, students will work on case studies with real world data sets and learn exploratory data analysis, graphical representation through libraries and more.

Real world education powered by experiential learning

It is a course that is definitely anchored in real-world with experiential learning that extends beyond classroom with case studies (where students can work on unique, real world data sets), self-paced projects, assignments and access to big data lab. The PGP in Big Data and Machine Learning  gives hands-on experience with project-based training where candidates can apply their skills learned in classroom and showcase their leaning with the Capstone project where candidates can analyze and leverage complex data with big data technologies.


Students can draw on the experience of an eminent faculty that has delved in the complex world of analytics and has extensive research experience. Some of the core faculty members from Great Lakes who will be heading the program are Dr Satya V Nitta, Dr PK Viswanathan, Amit Kapoor, Dr Srabashi Basu and Dr Bappaditya Mukhopadyay, an expert on credit risk management.  Lending the much-needed industry experience will be Ullas Nambiar Head of Technology Innovation, Zensar Technologies.

Placement Assistance

While Great Lakes itself doesn’t explicitly participate in career assistance, they have an active internal jobs board, thanks largely to a great industry connect, wherein specific roles in leading companies are filled as per need basis. Also, students are offered structural support, wherein predecessors come and share their job experience. 

“In addition to learning skills and building competencies required by the industry, the program also helps candidates build their profiles in the Big Data space. We share a lot of resources and also do workshops to help candidates prepare better for their aspirational roles. The PGP-BDML also builds a body of work for candidates through the multiple projects that they work on. Further, the industry interaction in the program enables the candidates to network with industry professionals working in leading analytics companies. We also have a very active job board in our analytics programs where we share opportunities with our candidates. Being the leading analytics school in the country, these are opportunities that companies reach out to us for analytics talent. We have had a lot of opportunities from leading companies and a lot of our candidates and alumni have converted these opportunities,” noted Subramanian.

Job Titles students can break into

Analytics is one field that is credited for spawning a range of new job roles that were completely unheard of. AIM asked Subramanian to list down a few roles that students could break into post the course.

  • Data Scientist
  • Big Data Architect
  • Data Analyst
  • Big Data Engineer
  • Big Data Consultant
  • Information Analyst/Lead Analyst
  • Big Data Manager

Our View

Upside: It is one of the most in depth courses with a thrust on data science and data engineering. The academic rigour is more promising than most online courses. Plus, you can benefit from the diverse industry access with experts from IBM, Accenture, American Express, Genpact and many more lending their real world experience.  From learning statistical programming languages such as SAS, R in data sciences to exploring the gamut of big data technology stack, the PG Program – Big Data and Machine Learning will definitely help you find your spot in big data analytics.

Downside: The program takes only a small batch of candidates and they have a strict selection criteria. Candidates need to have a good experience in technology for being considered into the program.

Last Word

Overall, on the curriculum side, Great Lakes PG Program – Big Data and Machine Learning wins hands down.  If you want an industry relevant and intensive course that could open two streams (Data Sciences and Data Engineering) then definitely go for it.

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