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SUMMER ASSIGNMENT; MS in Business Analytics: challenging assignment!

maanasa83 1 / -  
Aug 30, 2013   #1

I have written an essay on 'Describe a challenging assignment or task that you successfully completed. Include details about the difficulties you encountered, as well as the steps you took to complete this activity successfully'.

Please review my essay. Eagerly waiting for your valuable suggestions!!

Thanks in advance,

When I look back, I can reflect one experience that opened up doors to channel my leadership potential into a success story for my team. The interesting assignment was my summer internship during my Master's program. In March of 2009, I was doing my summer internship at Feedback Business Consulting, in the city of Bangalore. I was in a team of 4 students. Together, we were working towards developing CINDEX - India's first ever Comprehensive Index on customer experience at the country level and regional level across various services/industries. I was nominated as a project leader. I was thrilled as the stakeholders - Our Institute Director and Industry experts - had high expectations on us. The objectives were to identify parameters to design CINDEX, and devise a formula to calculate CINDEX. Moreover, we had to pilot and capture the perceptions of the customers of 3 service lines - Public Transport, Savings Bank Account, and Mobile Service Provider by rating the services under each identified parameters on a scale of 1 to 10. CINDEX equation: [Mean of (Sum of the ratings of all the parameters)* across all the respondents]*10 to index to a 1-100 scale. Finally, we had to record the great service experience defined as the most memorable/predominant service experience a customer can recall experiencing in the last 6 months. This data was categorized into people, product, process, and policy, and was subjective. With a sample size of 3300 - respondents owning a mobile phone - it was my first experience working with huge data. This project presented us numerous challenges.

First of all, it was a new team and we had hardly worked together. To be a successful team, I believe that we need to keep aside our ego and individual priorities, stay committed, and channelize our strengths to achieve our target. Unfortunately, this was easier said than done! We all knew that the best performer would be offered a full time position. Hence, during the initial phase of CINDEX each of us started competing with the other to defend our ideas, thereby arguing often but unrelated to CINDEX. Such situations not only drained our energy but also wasted our time. Before it was too late, I decided to speak with my team. I shared my view that our combined strengths, knowledge, and mutual support would make CINDEX work. Finally, my colleagues were relieved that I spoke with them because they were finding it equally difficult to trust each other. I constantly stressed the need to stay focused on our goal and that the success of this project was critical to our careers.

Second, we did not have access to a database of active cell phone numbers. Getting the mobile numbers from the service providers was ruled out because of budget constraints. I suggested checking the allocation of MSC codes (first five digits of the mobile number) of various service providers across 15 cities from the Ministry of Communications website. It took some convincing to get the team to work with this suggestion since it was not clear how we would identify inactive MSC codes and generate the last five digits of the mobile number. I nailed the latter by randomly generating the last 5 digits using RANDBETWEEN() in MS Excel. My persistent research efforts paid off in the form of a mobile number tracker (an approved software) that accurately tracked the MSC code for the state, city, and service provider. We divided the regional MSC codes among the team and shortlisted the credible codes. We divided the task of generating 150,000 mobile numbers with 1000 numbers per city to account for inactive connection, network problem, or refusal to answer the call. Over the next 2 months, we worked collaboratively to complete the survey and compile the findings.

Another challenge was capturing the 'great service experience' as many respondents could recall more negative experience than the positives. At the end of every week, the team consolidated the data, and reviewed it for completeness. During one such review, I noticed that around 12 entries in 'great service experience' were almost similar for one caller. Twelve may seem trivial but this irregularity could not be ignored because this data could highlight wrong consumer insight. So, I decided to speak with the caller (callers were temporarily hired to expedite the survey) to confirm my doubt. She told me that she was frustrated since many callers were unable to record 'memorable service experiences' and that she wanted to add her own data. By doing so, she felt that she was adding value to the survey. However, I explained that CINDEX was built on 'consumer's genuine experience' and not on 'imaginary' data. CINDEX could not afford to compromise on quality and on losing callers since we had to expedite the survey. As a preventive measure, I decided to meet with my team and callers to convey the message that fabricating the data would mean rework and loss of productivity, and that repeated incidents would lead to escalation. This step was necessary to explain the commitment required as many people were sacrificing their family time, sleep, and other responsibilities to make CINDEX work. In the end, I am happy that we had an understanding team that took this message seriously and made CINDEX a success!

CINDEX was launched in July, 2009 and the findings are revised every 3-6 months. My supervisor was impressed with my performance and offered me a full-time position. This project not only taught me to design questionnaires, and use MS Excel and SPSS for analysis but also honed my leadership skills and problem solving abilities. The experience was an eye-opener in several respects. Calling random people and getting them to talk was uncomfortable at first but paved the way for ease and confidence later. As fractured as our team was in the beginning, as time passed, however, the parallel ideas gave in to more streamlined thought and action. CINDEX was a success because we converted team conflicts and ego clashes into strengths by forging communication and generating positive synergy through coordination. The principle of 'All for one' rather than 'One for all' tied us with a sense of purpose and commitment.
marmaria 10 / 30 5  
Sep 11, 2013   #2
dear mannassa
I did not understand some scientific essay. and It should be evaluated by some one whose specialty is similar. but It was fantastic and you write so fluent.
fareena 1 / 2  
Sep 11, 2013   #3
i surprised to see your writing capability,v.nice!

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