I arrived in India on the 24th of April and the week and a half I have spent here has been great. I am in Bangalore to complete a data science internship at Simpl, an electronic payments startup co-founded by Chaitra Chidanand and Nitya Sharma, a University of Michigan alum. Before leaving for India I did a little research on Bangalore, officially known as Bengaluru, and was excited to learn that it was considered the tech capital of India and was well known for its pub culture. Since I arrived, I have had many new experiences and look forward to exploring more of this huge city.
Simpl’s office is on 80 Feet Road in the Indiranagar neighborhood, only a five minute walk from the apartment I stay in. From what I have heard, Indiranagar is the place to be in Bangalore. The two main roads, 100 and 80 Feet Road, are lined with many popular stores and restaurants as well as some of my co-workers’ favorite hang out spots like Toit Brewpup and Loft 38. I am staying with one of the product managers from Simpl, his wife and their dog Buzz. Staying with them has been great since they know the area very well, are fun to hang around with and both know a lot about the tech industry.
My major is Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE) and people often are surprised when I explain I am doing data science work. Although my background is not in computer science, I was exposed to data science techniques such as logistic regression and data mining through some of my IOE coursework. I am interested in data science because there is an abundance of data available that can be extracted and analyzed to help companies and governments make better decisions. Additionally, one of my goals before graduating from Michigan was to gain skills that would allow me to contribute in the fast-growing tech industry.
So far, I have really enjoyed my experience as an intern at Simpl. I spent the first few days learning about the business and getting familiar with the metrics and key performance indicators that the company looks at when making decisions. Since then, some of the tasks I have completed include fixing some python code that produced an excel report for the Product Management team and extracting data to analyze the repayment behavior of users who utilized a cash back campaign.
Interning at a startup has been great because I have been able to work with people who are constantly making important decisions. It is a small company and there are no walls in the office, so if I ever need to ask somebody for help it is easy to reach out to them, as long as they are not busy. So far, I have been really impressed with the group dynamic and everybody really seems to enjoy the work they are doing. That kind of enthusiasm is contagious and I really look forward to going to work every morning. These first weeks I have devoted some of my free time to practicing Python code so that I can be more efficient at the office.
Thus far, my favorite thing about India has to be the amazing food I have tried. Some of my coworkers have started to make fun of me because I always say the food is great and they think I am just being nice. I am being truly honest when I say the food is great. Most of the cuisine I have had is based from right here in South India. I have really enjoyed eating Dosa, which I like to compare to a crepe, mixed with different curries and coconut chutney. This region’s diet is mostly vegetarian and as a meat lover I do sometimes long for more protein but the flavors and spices have made up for it. The next few weeks I plan on becoming more involved in the office as well as exploring more of Bangalore and planning for weekend trips to other parts of India.