Arun Shankri

Assistant Vice President, Global Business Insights
, Chubb

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional background.

I have a master’s and a bachelor’s in computer science and have been in the technology/strategic management part of the insurance industry for almost 15 years now. I am passionate about emerging technologies and try to keep myself updated both on their intricacies as well as their strategic real-world implementation across industries.

Right now, I work on a team that is part of the company’s global strategic marketing unit. My team is responsible for advanced data and business analytics.

What made you decide to choose the Harvard Business Analytics Program?

The operational business paradigm and the techniques and strategies being used are changing across all industries globally.

I want to continue to be at the forefront—and be equipped to contribute and successfully achieve the demanding goals I have set for myself.

From my thorough research, the Harvard Business Analytics Program stood out as the best by far. I felt this program was the sharpest tool to have in my arsenal.

How do you feel this program is different from other, similar programs?

This program has been absolutely great and I am loving it so far. The faculty and the coursework are top-notch—as you would expect from Harvard. The case studies and the teachings perfectly blend the latest technologies with the strategic-level implementation techniques, a skill that is required for leaders in any industry in our world today.

How has what you have learned in the program impacted the work you are currently doing?

The coursework and the way it is taught redefine learning in the best possible way. I have already started applying these learnings in my work, both at the grass-roots level in how data and analytics are handled as well as within larger-scale strategic implementation.

How will what you have learned make you a leader in your industry? OR How has it made you a better leader in your industry?

The program very effectively teaches you what it takes to be a good leader in terms of emerging technologies, strategic implementation, and people analytics. It helps develop critical thinking in varied ways and equips you to advance by forcing you to think outside the box and see the bigger picture.

Is there a moment—either part of a course, with a professor, or with a peer—that stands out to you as particularly influential?

It is hard to pick one. There have been many “wow” moments at different levels—be it when a professor relayed a complicated concept in such a simplistic, practical way or when I realized that looking at or implementing a concept/strategy slightly differently could have such a profound effect.

What advice do you have for others considering this program?

My sincere advice is to go for it. I was slightly hesitant to pursue this certificate, considering I already have a master’s and 15 years of experience. I wasn’t sure about the value-add. But now that I have completed my first term, I can say the value it brings is, without a doubt, completely worth it. The program really helps you develop your leadership thought process and elevate your skill set in a very effective manner.

I will say, however, that the courses are quite demanding and you should be prepared for that. The program will have you spending your weekends and any spare time you have completing your work—not only because the courses require you to, but because you will be hooked on the knowledge you are gaining from it.

Tell us about your experience at the immersion.

The immersion experience is one of the things that completely differentiates this program from the tons of other online programs. It was great to meet the professors in person and discuss the learnings and ideas with them. Getting to meet and know each of my awesome cohorts was an experience to cherish.

On a different note, the exclusive Harvard campus tour by one of Harvard’s football players was great and a fun experience.

How did the immersion fit with your professional and personal schedule?

It was scheduled for Thursday to Saturday, which worked out well. Everyone was notified very much in advance to give us plenty of time to make arrangements.