Mind over data

By Belinda Coniglio, current student of the University of Sydney Business School MBA program

Belinda - Blog Photo

Sunday 28 August 2015 6.15am, my flight landed from Europe – it had been whirlwind family reunion in Italy, business trip to Expo Milan 2015 and brief reprieve from study between completing Innovative Strategies for Marketing and commencing Data and Analytics.

Armed with a day cleanse from Pressed Juice on my cab ride from the airport to the Business School, I braced myself for what I anticipated would be the most difficult MBA subject. I had returned from Italy early to complete the course, tempting as it was to stay in Italy – the thought had actually crossed my mind in a coffee shop in Florence!

Surviving Financial Management earlier in the year gave me faith that I could surmount anything – even with jet lag, the first class didn’t seem that bad – economic drivers and learning how to graph series of data in Excel seemed easier than the caffeine and sugar withdrawals I was experiencing that afternoon (although I was feeling the impact from 3.30pm that afternoon and sneaked a sleep on the couch in the Business School’s foyer!)

That was until Professor Tony Webber started to talk formulas, regression and linear functions which brought back memories of year nine maths and failing microeconomics as an undergraduate: twice! The only lyrics running through my mind during the weekly data music quiz were Justin Bieber’s “what do you mean?”

I realised that my lesson was probably more one about mindset than the course content after Tony counselled that while he understood the complexity of the course (for me) and that the concepts take time to learn, when mastered, they are really valuable to know!

Tony is not only a data guru but an exceptional coach who spent additional time explaining concepts which had a direct correlation on my results – no wonder he is one of the University’s leading professors! Another correlation was the increased caffeine consumption and decline in green smoothies, juices and soups over the duration of the course and the exam approached, illustrated in the graph below, using the skills I learned in the course!


Interested in hearing about your lessons or insights that may go beyond the course content – have you had to shift your mindset?  What has helped you to achieve results in difficult circumstances?

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