The Internet has made exponential quantities of information available to everyone. As Nate Silver, the high-profile American statistician and political pundit puts it, “How do we identify signal amongst the noise?”
Simply finding data in the ever-expanding pool can be a difficult task – but making sense of it, and drawing accurate and useful conclusions from it can be even harder. With that in mind, the big question for business is how to effectively analyse and model the data it has.
For the business leaders of tomorrow, that skill will be paramount. They will need to know not only know how to source reliable data, but also to understand the story behind it and figure out how to use it.
The ‘Data Analytics and Modelling’ unit of study in the MBA program has been designed to teach us these skills – and I was a little apprehensive going into this subject as I don’t have a background in this area, and it’s a very daunting subject to approach. I knew it was going to be a challenge.
Personally, it has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I went from self-doubt in the beginning, through to enjoying a level of confidence in myself as the unit of study progressed.
It hasn’t been an easy journey, but it’s one that I have come to enjoy – thanks largely to the support of Dr Tony Webber, who taught the course, and the collegial support of my fellow MBA students.
I fell that it’s important to make a very clear point about Dr Webber, and that is this: Tony’s not just a ‘lecturer’, in the strictest sense of the word. His classes were funny, and entertained us every Tuesday evening for the past ten weeks. His approach to learning took what had all the hallmarks of an extremely dry and difficult subject, and made it interesting and fun, which in turn made it easier to learn.
Additionally, the study groups that have formed for this unit of study have also been enormously helpful, and being able to share the learning experience has been invaluable.
I feel a sense of accomplishment, looking back to where I started at the beginning of this unit of study – and I know that I’ve still got further to go. Aside from the ‘nuts and bolts’ of Data Analytics and Modelling, what I’ve learnt from this course is that becoming good at something doesn’t just happen.
It’s a slower process of development, where you need to push yourself until you get to where you want to be. If you’re passionate about something, it won’t feel like an effort – and by putting in the hours, you’ll learn from the experience, and develop as a result.
For me, that’s the kind of journey I was looking for in the MBA, and I feel that by accomplishing what I have in this unit of study, I’m on my way to becoming the person, and the leader, that I truly want to be.