In an age when organizations are looking to analytics to help with their decision making, understanding how to structure the data and making sure that the models used are valid is vital for success. That’s why Rotman is preparing students to learn these skills through the Master of Management Analytics Practicum Project.
The practicum is a program long engagement in which students are paired with a top-tier organization and given a complex business issue to solve. Some of the organizations who participated in this year’s practicum included Google, TD Bank, Rubikloud and Unilever.
Working in groups of three or four, the students had to develop effective techniques for communicating with their business counterparts, as well as providing interim updates on the project progress and challenges. Importantly, they were given access to confidential data sets in order to develop effective solutions through the methods taught in the MMA.
In December, the teams presented the outlines for their projects, laying out an analytic approach on how they wanted to address the problem at hand. While all of the projects were unique, each had its particular complexity. The culmination of this work was in April, when each group went on stage for ten minutes to present their solutions and take questions from the audience.
When asked about his perception of the April practicum presentation event, Academic Director of the MMA program Professor Dmitry Krass highlighted the sense of achievement felt by the students. He stressed the importance of the analytical skills the students had learned from the experience.
“The tools they are learning, the approaches they are learning, are very universal, they apply to almost any business in any situation.”
Solving real-life business problems
Professor Krass emphasized the uniqueness of project, in which students were expected to deal with a messier managerial issues than the ones encountered in class. This opened the possibility of competing approaches and explanations. In this way, it represented what the MMA had set out to achieve: giving students the capability of analyzing and interpreting data in order to solve business problems.
“The program was about management analytics, not just about analytics in an abstract way to execute a task, it's analytics brought to bear on real life management decisions”.
The projects ranged widely, from predicting stockouts (Canadian Tire), to developing a strategy for contacting doctors about a new drug (Janssen). In many cases, students applied multiple regression analysis to support their findings.
Whether it was for banking institutions, retailers, or an AI software enterprise, the teams took advantage of the power of high-quality data, and its role in prediction. This approach, which was a combination of quantitative analysis, collaboration and communication, bridged the gap between data analytics and managerial skills. In this way, the practicum project represents the essence of Rotman’s Master of Management Analytics.
The Master of Management Analytics is designed to give students the advanced data management, analytics and communication skills needed to become an analytics professional.