Introduction to Business Analytics
Value: 16 credits
This country suffers greatly from the fact that large numbers of people, even (or especially) those in senior positions – not just in business and management but also in professions such as the law, journalism and politics – do not possess even a rudimentary understanding of data, basic statistics and probability. This course is the first of two (the second being MNGT 213 in your second year) which aims to help you attain such understanding at a reasonable level.
The area of employment most closely linked to the syllabus is called "Business Analysis" or "Business Analytics" (a more modern term). All major organisations employ several business analysts (though they sometimes are called something different) and it is certain that very many of you will find yourself working as a business analyst in a placement, internship or graduate job. Your coursework exercise for MSCI 100 will therefore involve you working as a junior business analyst on a simple but realistic case study and reporting results and conclusions to a fictional boss.
Some of you may have previously studied the quantitative techniques involved, but this course covers much more than just techniques. You will find that the teaching and your learning will be a bit different from that normally encountered in a mathematically-focused statistics course. Others of you may believe that an understanding of these issues is not relevant – if you still believe this when you come to apply for graduate jobs, internships or placements related to business or management you will get a nasty shock. This course aims to shake you out of these beliefs before they can get you into serious harm.
As well as the rudiments of statistics and probability, you will also be introduced to the use of Excel, which is in very wide use in all sorts of organisations throughout the world. Some of you may believe that you know all about Excel already, but it is almost certain that this course will teach you several useful tricks you can use with Excel that will prove invaluable for you in your future students and employment.
We are not trying to turn you into mathematicians – far from it. The level of mathematical ability required is no greater than that required to get a C grade at Maths GCSE.
Terms Taught: Michaelmas, with an exam in the summer term
Contact Hours: 37 in total: 20 lectures, 9 tutorials and 8 computer workshops.
Lecturers: Nicos Pavlidis and Richard Eglese
MSCI 100 is compulsory for students majoring in Operations Management or Project Management.
MSCI 100 is not available to students majoring in Management Mathematics, Management Science, Economics, Economics and Finance, Economics and Accounting, or any major or joint major degree in the Accounting and Finance department, who must take MSCI 101 instead. It is also not available to students taking MNGT 110 or MNGT 120, who must take MSCI 110 instead.
Otherwise MSCI 100 is available to any student.
MSCI 100 should be taken alongside MSCI 102 or MSCI 103 or MSCI 105 to provide credits equivalent to one standard Part I course.
Course test: 20%
The book we will be using is "Quantitative methods for business, management and finance" by Louise Swift and Sally Piff, 3rd edition, published by Palgrave. This book covers all the statistical and probabilistic material taught, and we will be using several of its exercises for tutorials. It will also be used extensively during your second-year course MNGT 213. You are strongly advised to buy this book – there should be plenty of copies in the bookshop. In MSCI 100 we will mainly be using the sections titled "Describing data" and "Probability".
Books relating to the practical application of business analytics tend to become very advanced and specialised at an early stage. However, a bit of internet browsing may help you understand some of its value. You could start by using sources such as Google, Amazon and Wikipedia.