Springboard Mentor Spotlight: Mohit Bhatia
Meet Mohit Bhatia, a mentor for Springboard’s Data Analytics Career Track.
When Mohit Bhatia began working remotely at the onset of the pandemic, he gained back a few hours of time each day by not commuting to work. He started searching for ways to put this time to good use, and that’s when he discovered the opportunity to become a mentor for Springboard.
As a program manager for analytics and operations at Uber, Mohit analyzes usage patterns on the Uber app to identify trends or pain points that can be used to iterate and improve the product.
He says being a mentor has opened his eyes to new learning opportunities–especially when a mentee asks a question he can’t answer.
“Being a good mentor is about being patient, understanding, and empathetic,” said Mohit, a former mechanical engineer who has a certificate in management from ISB India. “Even if I think a solution is obvious, if someone is struggling to understand it, I need to be patient, step into their shoes, and understand that they’re learning something new for the first time.”
Tell me about your role at Uber. What does your day to day look like?
I work more closely with the product and engineering teams to understand how we can improve the overall product for end users, bring on new features, and reduce friction.
Does that involve analyzing customer feedback, or is it more about behavioral analytics?
We try to understand customer usage patterns–where they tend to drop off, what challenges they might face while using the app. For example, if someone is trying to book a trip and their preferred payment method doesn’t work, what was the reason for that? I analyze this usage data and partner with the engineering and product teams to solve problems at scale.
Get To Know Other Data Analytics Students
You earned a degree in mechanical engineering and worked as an app developer for a short while. What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in data analytics?
When I was working as an app developer, I realized that I wanted to solve problems for the customer rather than just developing the final solution. So I moved into an analytics consulting role and I worked within a lot of industries including pharmaceutical, health tech, e-commerce, and telecommunications.
What should data analytics students do to keep their skills up to date?
SQL is a bread-and-butter skill for any data analyst, so make sure you’re comfortable with it. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of Excel. You won’t be asked many questions about Excel during job interviews, but you are expected to be familiar with it. Even if you want to use a different spreadsheet tool, being able to live and breathe Excel makes it easy for you to learn how to handle data.
If you want to learn advanced problem-solving using large volumes of data, then you should learn Python. Also, have a good sense of dashboarding tools like Tableau.
What made you interested in being a mentor for Springboard?
In April 2020, I started working remotely, and I realized I could use the time I saved by not traveling to the office to do other things. Being a mentor is important to me. Apart from being able to share my knowledge, my mentees have asked some great questions that I didn’t have an answer for, which has helped me learn and grow in my role.
Have you ever had a mentee that inspired you?
I would say I have at least two or three mentees who have inspired me. One of them had just finished studying engineering at a prestigious university. He had a couple of months before he was due to start his new role at Facebook, so he decided to enroll in Springboard. He studied for 16 hours a day and finished the entire course in 10 weeks. I was amazed by his dedication.
Another one of my mentees was almost double my age, but he was very down-to-earth and willing to learn a lot. He also gave me some great professional advice.
What have you learned from the mentors you’ve had throughout your career?
I learned that the most important thing for an analyst is not knowing 10 different programming languages but getting to the root of the data. It’s about finding insights that are hidden in the data and identifying the root cause of an issue.
What makes a data analytics project interesting to you?
An interesting project is one where the problem statement is not well defined, so you have to figure it out yourself. For example, if someone gives you a dataset and says, “Tell us why the company didn’t perform well in the last three quarters,” the problem statement has been defined for you. But if you’re given a bunch of datasets and asked to find a way to help the business grow, that’s an undefined problem statement.
What tips do you have for new Springboard graduates to differentiate themselves in the job market when they’re applying for their first data role?
Highlight the problems you solved in your previous career as it shows your analytical abilities. No matter what industry you’re coming from, think about the correlations between your existing experience and the roles you’re applying for. My second piece of advice is to put a lot of effort into your capstone projects because they count for a lot.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out as a Springboard mentor, or is considering becoming a Springboard mentor?
Mentoring at Springboard is a great opportunity. You will not just give back to the community; you will gain a lot. You can start small with just one or two mentees and see if you are able to manage more. Also, be a good listener.