Career path: Bhoopathi Rapolu

Bhoopathi Rapolu is head of analytics in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Cyient. His focus is on a major future issue for infrastructure - Big Data.

Bhoopathi Rapolu, Cyient

Why did you decide to go into business intelligence?

When I graduated from business school, I had multiple options to choose in my first IT job. I wanted to work closely with the leadership team in my client organisations so that I could understand business from the people in the hot seat.  Among software product implementation, application development and business intelligence, I opted for the latter because it gives me a chance to interact with business leaders.

Why are you on a personal mission to help entrepreneurs succeed without wasting their resources and how are you achieving this?

I am fascinated by new possibilities that technology can bring to humanity. Entrepreneurs are the most driven people who can bring these new possibilities, create prosperity and improve life in general. I see that they often struggle with lack of clarity and suboptimal technology choices that limit their path to success. I have made it  my mission to help by providing them with proven methodologies and tools to use disruptive technologies so that they can be productive.

What did you study? How did that lead to this career?

My bachelor degree was in Mechanical Engineering. I then attended the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, graduating with an MBA in Systems and Strategy. My techno-managerial education background helped me identify analytics as my most preferred area of work in my first job. I loved that it sat on the cross section of business and technology issues.

Who was your first employer and why did you want to work for them?

During my time at business school, I was placed on an assignment at Infosys, who ended up being my first employer. It was an obvious choice for me for multiple reasons. Firstly, Infosys is renowned for the highest professional standards and building careers. At this point in time, it was also one of the first recruiters associated with my business school that offered a lucrative IT career.

Can you give us a brief CV since then?

My first assignment at Infosys was building a Data Warehouse using the then newly released Microsoft SQL BI platform.  My project was showcased by none other than Bill Gates during the release of MS SQL BI suite in India in December 2005. It was a defining moment in my analytics career. I decided to explore this space further by looking into multiple BI platforms and associated technologies, like different data mining methods and reporting tools. After this time, I worked on Business Process Management, Enterprise Application Integration and Product Implementation before I jumped into Big Data analytics. Finally, I got an opportunity to lead the analytics initiative at Cyient. I was really excited about this challenge, as it gave me a chance to create new business offering around Big Data analytics. During the last two years, I am proud to say that I have helped Cyient close multiple deals with Fortune 500 clients for our analytics business. 

Did you have a career plan?

Though I started in business intelligence at Infosys, I never really thought of carving my career in analytics. It’s only after I tried multiple other areas in IT like product implementation and application development that I found analytics more interesting than other areas. However, the onset of the Big Data revolution during the end of the last decade was the real push for my decision to commit myself fully into this space. I have invested significant time into thought leadership like blogging, writing articles for public media and speaking at events in this space because I’m truly excited about the direction we’re heading in.

What is the most exciting aspect of your day-to-day role?

Applying new capabilities from Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) to business problems and coming out with innovative solutions is the most exciting aspect of my day-to-day role. I personally measure my success in creating a number of such solutions for businesses.

Who has had the most influence over your career and why?

I am a perpetual reader and continually try to emulate the cool ideas that I discover from my research. However, a couple of people have left a deep impact on me during the last five years. The first is Tim Ferriss who consistently challenges the norm and often comes out with extraordinary ways to live better. The second is Peter Diamandis, a successful serial entrepreneur. His mission is to model how disruptive technologies work and help entrepreneurs create successful business with them.

What can employers offer to make you happy in your career?

The freedom to pursue challenges on my own terms and to try out multiple routes to create new business in the technology space. I am grateful to my company for giving me all that I could wish for to do my best.  

What advice would you give to others looking to get into a career in data analytics?

Being a data scientist is not the only route you can go down by following a career in analytics. Depending on where you fit in, there are roles like big data application developer, business analyst, domain expert and solutions consultant. Acknowledge your aspirations and know your strengths. You can always find your sweet spot in this fast growing industry.

What is the one thing you have done that has been fundamental to your career?

A career is something that is built step by step over a long period of time. I see that there are multiple steps that brought me to where I am today. More than having a solid degree and having worked for sought-after companies, having the confidence to deliver much more than what my boss expects from me has been the fundamental driver behind my career. Also, having a systematic record of all my achievements handy helped me to position myself at the right place and right time.


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Its always pleasure reading your articles and knowing the thought process, blessed to have worked with you.
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