Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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Practicum Project: Applying Data Analysis Skills to Business Context - Ivy, MMA Class of 2021

In the second term of our MMA program – the tool term, we took many interesting courses, and have the chance to learn how to use a programming language like Python, SQL, R and data visualization tools like Tableau and Microsoft PowerBI to efficiently process and analyze data, and apply data analysis results to solve business problems.

The tool term was very intense yet inspiring. I learned a lot of useful methods and skills. After the tools term, we finally started the intensive period of our practicum project.

Intensive Period

The intensive period is a 3-week term that students get the chance to apply what they have learned to their practicum project. I am working at the Bank of Montreal (BMO) financial group with their Marketing Analytics team, together with 3 other MMA students. Our project is to investigate the relationship between customer engagement level and revenue generated for their wealth management project. In the project, we got the chance to use statistical programming tools like SAS, SQL to do data exploratory analysis and modeling, and the business intelligence software Microsoft PowerBI to assist us with data visualization.

As the name ‘intensive period’ indicates, these three weeks were indeed very intensive. In the first two weeks, we identified the business problem, selected key data sources, built an analytical data frame, did exploratory data analysis, and proposed a preliminary modeling plan.

During these two weeks, both our practicum hosts and the MMA faculty provided us with a lot of support. The practicum host of our project is the senior manager of the BMO Marketing Analytics team. He is very responsible and treats our project seriously. Although he is very busy, he still spared one hour every morning to have a meeting with us about the work we have done and gave us feedback and instructions on the next-step work.

It is like a coaching experience, we learned a lot of useful techniques as well as marketing insights under the guidance of the practicum host.

Also, the MMA faculty were always there to help us during the practicum period. Every time when we encountered problems regarding the modeling, our TA and professors were always more than glad to give us the support we need. They recommended relevant literature review resources and research papers to us and gave us their inspiring insights.

In the last week of our intensive period, we got two presentations to present. The first one is a one-hour internal presentation, in which we presented our work over the past two weeks to the practicum host and the MMA faculty in detail. The second is a public presentation, which was delivered to our classmates, faculty members, practicum hosts, MMA Advisory Board, and prospective employers. We had 5 minutes to introduce our project and the progress, and only non-confidential contents were included. There were more than 100 people attended our public presentation, and it was a lot of fun to listen to our classmates’ presentation and the questions asked by our prospective employers in the Q&A session.

The practicum project took us from the classroom to the real world and gave us a chance to apply the theories and programming skills we learned to solve real-world business problems.

The Master of Management Analytics is designed to give students the advanced data management, analytics, and communication skills needed to become an analytics professional. 

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