Life at Deloitte

Technology Guild Program: Vaibhav Srivastav 

An interview with a Machine Learning Guild Master

September 24, 2020

Vaibhav Srivastav is a consultant for Deloitte Consulting LLP, based in our Delhi, India office.During his 2+ years with Deloitte, he has helped technology sector clients understand how to make sense of their internal data warehouses and transition them onto the Google Cloud platform to expedite their machine learning journeys. Srivastav is a Guild Master, the highest level of achievement in the Guild’s learning program. He has played a significant role in the growth of the Machine Learning Guild and the development of professionals’ machine learning prowess.
 

How did you become interested in machine learning?

My first introduction to machine learning occurred before joining Deloitte. I was consulting for a news agency here in India and they had an issue with classifying news articles into different categories at scale. This is when I started developing systems around machine learning. That’s where it all started, but it’s evolved into a lifestyle for me. 

How would you describe the Machine Learning Guild Program and why did you want to join?

The Machine Learning Guild is a community of like-minded people who have a collective passion for learning the domain, applying it to practical problems, and reproducing trends in academia to provide practical solutions for our clients. It’s a safe space for people across all levels of machine learning to come together, share knowledge, and learn through a hands-on approach.

I joined the Machine Learning Guild because there was an opportunity to teach the domain to other individuals within Deloitte. I believe that the best way to reinforce concepts and learn is through teaching. I also loved the community aspect of the program and wanted to be a part of that revolution within the organization.


What path did you take through the Guild? How has the Guild helped you in your career at Deloitte?

Since joining the Guild, I’ve taught four learning cohorts twice a year at a five-day bootcamp. My main areas of focus are natural language processing and image recognition, applied regression leveraging Python, and how machine learning is revolutionizing our client landscape. Each component includes hands-on exercises to help members gain experience from the start.

I am also currently teaching a Natural Language Processing Practicum. We cover everything from handling textual data within Python to building advanced recommendation systems and language models. I’m quite proud of this practicum because we also provide office hours where we discuss research papers by tech giants to understand how we can package insights up in a way that can be deployed for our clients.


What does it mean to be a Machine Learning Guild Master?

Masters have proven that they are well versed in the field of machine learning by demonstrating strong technical acumen within Deloitte on client work and outside of Deloitte in different settings. It’s a selective pathway that gives you access to a niche group of talented individuals that can provide great insights when you’re stuck on a complex client problem, RFP, or data competition.

As a Master, I’ve had the opportunity to deliver workshops across the world. In February, I traveled to the Philippines to represent Deloitte and India at an annual global Python conference. I spoke about the applications of NLP in our day-to-day work and provided a workshop on how people can leverage NLP in their daily machine learning workflows without altering their code that much. I also had the opportunity to present at another conference where I spoke about NLP and distributed machine learning and how it can be used to train models in a cheaper, faster, and more efficient way. These opportunities have helped me develop a well-rounded personal brand within Deloitte.

Mentorship is also a big part of being a Machine Learning Guild Master. For anyone starting on a learning journey, a guided path is needed. In a complex field like machine learning, you need to be in touch with someone that understands the nitty gritty details and data behind it. As a mentor, my responsibilities include checking in on a weekly basis to track their progress and keep them on the right path.


How does the Guild Program prepare Deloitte professionals to solve our clients’ most complex problems with cutting edge technology?

I call it the experiential learning program because from day 1, we are hands-on. Each concept that we teach is backed by use cases and exercises. The exercises leverage real life data from different open source data sources so that practitioners can build a machine learning model and reinforce whatever concept that we’ve studied. It provides a view of what these concepts look like in a real consulting client application setting. The most elite schools don't even offer these kinds of hands-on experiences.


Can you share your favorite memory of being a Guild member?

My favorite Guild experience is the follow-up to the bootcamp. Everyone gets together a few months after the bootcamp to present a project and it’s a very humbling experience. You see these professionals that started with little machine learning knowledge and no application experience and they present a project on an issue that they are passionate about and solved using machine learning. The progress is astounding. It’s one of my favorite memories because it is a testament to the impact that the Machine Learning Guild is making.

Learn more about our Tech Guild Program and explore technology jobs at Deloitte.

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