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Sai Ananth, MSc ’19 Business Analytics, Consultant at Omnia, Deloitte's Artificial Intelligence practice, on gaining technical and critical thinking skills to improve healthcare through data

While Sai Ananth, MSc ’19 BA, had a passion for healthcare, he realized early in his undergrad that he wasn’t interested in a traditional path. Rather than focusing on clinical work, he wanted to use data to advance the business of healthcare.

At the time, he couldn’t have predicted the increased pressures his chosen sector would face because of a worldwide pandemic, but Ananth felt the intersection between heath, data and business was where he needed to be.

“There’s a linearity going on from where I started in Health Sciences to Data Analytics; it really came full circle through my opportunity in Health AI Consulting at Deloitte. And with COVID, there’s so much more work to be done within the healthcare space,” says Ananth, now a Senior Consultant/Data Scientist at Omnia, Deloitte's Artificial Intelligence practice.

His interest in how data can help solve healthcare problems was fostered in part by a summer internship in Northern Ontario, where he worked closely with First Nations communities to tackle a host of health issues through the lens of data and predictive modelling.

While considering next steps, Ananth was drawn to Ivey’s MSc because of its experiential Case Method and strong job recruitment component.

“I was already focused on analytics and AI work, so I needed a program that not only had a lot of substance, but also had the brand to back it up,” he says.

“Ivey’s MSc Program offered a really strong package for someone like me: They provided the technical skills to accelerate the data science skillsets and had an extremely well-oiled machine for job placement that kickstarts candidate’s career.”

Ananth was matched with Deloitte for a summer internship during his MSc, joining the consulting firm right as it was starting the artificial intelligence practice. He spent the summer working in the regular consulting practice and, after graduation, was offered a role at Omnia AI, where he continues to apply the ways of thinking he developed during his MSc.

“The way Ivey structures your learning serves as an input for how you think, even outside of school. You not only have to understand a good amount of theory, but you have to develop a sort of intuition. You have to take that textbook knowledge and apply it pretty fast; that’s the only way you’re going to get through a case,” he says.

“You may not be able to solve the whole case perfectly in one iteration, but if you combine the textbook learnings with your intuition, you do come out with a structured and well thought out solution. That’s what they’re expecting you to do: think critically. It’s also an excellent example of how you work in consulting – you may not have the solution to the client’s business problem up front, but through critical thinking and collaboration, you will get there.”

Ivey’s strong framework to break down problems to their simplest forms has allowed Ananth to apply the right actions to impact the business in the right way.

“Now I understand what are the key elements of patient data that we need, what kind of problems are we solving in healthcare, and how we can solve salient challenges in our industry,” Ananth says.

“Ivey’s MSc in Data Analytics Program has made me think a little more critically, so that even when I don’t yet have the right answer, I can still probe and see how we can get to that target state.”

MSc '19

Ivey Business School

Sai Ananth

Sai Ananth

Consultant, Omnia, Deloitte's Artificial Intelligence practice