Reflections on the start of the MBA Digital Analytics Week, with Python, Big Data and AI on the menu. Which team will win the competition?

Nowadays digital technologies are dramatically reshaping industries and organizations are undertaking many digital transformation efforts. Therefore, as MBA participants, we need to equip ourselves with adequate capability and hands-on knowledge of programing and digital technologies.

After a three-day prep training in Python and Tableau in early June, our MBA Digital Analytics Lab was officially kicked-off on Monday. Led by Professor Amit Joshi, the Digital Analytics Lab aims at enriching our knowledge of Big Data, Machine Learning and AI, and developing our Python programming skills by applying them in a team project.

The project is divided into two parts, namely data cleaning and data analysis, and the final presentation of each team is scheduled for the coming Friday.

The first competition, a Data Cleaning Project, started at 12:00 p.m. on the first day and ended at noon on Tuesday. We were divided into 22 groups and our goal was to use Python to clean a database. A big screen stands in the lobby of the MBA building showing the progress of each group.

I am in team 20 together with Fayçal, Carlos and Sejal. Even though none of us are programming experts, all of us were highly focused and tried our best to complete the project. It is very thoughtful that there are several coaches going to different study groups to answer our questions during the whole competition. I really appreciated their clear explanations and demonstrations that accelerated our study pace. They deserve a big round of applause!

Learning and reflection

Learning programming reminds me of the time when I just started studying accountancy in my bachelor’s degree. Accounting is the language of business, while programming is the language of data. They both have their own methodology to present information, and beginners need to take time and effort to understand the principles. It is not easy to gain a new mindset in dealing with data, but once we understand the logic behind it, we can find new approaches to data organization, interpretation, and analysis, to provide business insights.

In addition, the Digital Analytics Lab is not only about learning new knowledge, but also about teamwork and leadership. I appreciate our team’s positive attitude, as we encouraged each other in trying different methods.

I also discussed the learning experience with colleagues from other teams. The winning team shared how they set their strategy, allocate work, and control quality. One of the team members reflected their experience with an excellent metaphor. “The best comparison I can think of is the kitchens of any of the best restaurants. The best member of the team (and the leader) is the chef who runs the pass, making sure that everything is being delivered as required, while meeting a certain (high) standards. Without the chef, the cooks would send out useless meals, but with the chef they learn more while continuing to perform better. The task is too much for a single person, though, so it’s important that the cooks play their part too. We had a winning combination, a desire to win, and finally luck. So we won.”

The second competition starts this afternoon and all of us are excited to apply our knowledge and skills in data analysis, interpretation and making business proposals. Good luck to all the teams!


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