The McDonough School of Business will offer a variety of new undergraduate and MBA electives in the 2018-2019 academic year that explore ways to incorporate and analyze data in business decisions. From data science and data visualization to computer programming and social media marketing, these topics are a response to the needs of employers in a job market where proficiency in using data is an increasingly crucial skill. Here’s a look at a few of the new courses:
Applied Data Visualization
Data Visualization, which will be offered to MBA and undergraduate students in the spring semester, will teach ways to use data in decision-making through different forms of visualization.
“The class is focused on building data visualization products that can effectively communicate powerful insights from the large datasets our graduates are being asked to analyze,” said Adjunct Professor Chris Parker. “The subject matter of the course prepares students to quickly find insights with little to no computer programming and to be able to use those insights to motivate important business decisions.”
The class is designed to address the demand for an increasingly marketable skill, according to Parker. “The entire course is taught in Tableau, which is one of the leading data visualization software packages in the market and an increasingly common skill for recruiters to list as required or preferred on job postings.”
Data Science Applications for Business Decisions
Data Science Applications for Business Decisions aims to bridge what Adjunct Professor Matthew Hoover describes as the gap between data scientists and people trained in business. “The course is not about training someone to be a data scientist, but training a business person on how to work with data scientists,” Hoover said. Having worked as a consultant for nearly 15 years, Hoover is in a unique position to offer insight on both sides of the divide to both MBA students and undergraduates this fall.
“Part of the reason I was really attracted by the offer to teach at the McDonough School was helping to use some of my unique experiences of being in the business student’s shoes of having to talk with others and present the business value proposition, as well as now being on the technical side,” he said.
The class will consist of a series of projects modeled after those often found at consulting firms, including a sample six-week project to conclude the course. Above all, Hoover hopes to keep the class grounded in real-world applications. “No one would ever accuse me of being a theoretically focused person,” he said.
Intro to Business Application Development in Python and Management of Business Application Development in Python
Adjunct Professor Michael Rossetti will guide undergraduate business students through the basics of computer programming in Introduction to Business Application Development in Python and the subsequent course, Management of Business Application Development in Python. The classes are designed to start from the beginning of coding to bring students up to speed.
“I assume that students have not ever programmed before, so it should be, and is, very comfortable for introductory level students,” Rossetti said. “At the same time, I do build in enough challenges for students who might have some exposure to programming.”
Projects in the classes will include writing a program to recommend which stocks to buy and sell, and sample inventory management projects. The courses also are taught using Python, a computer programming language, because of its ability to integrate with data analysis. “Students are going to learn programming at a very introductory level, but it also brings in that data aspect,” Rossetti said.
Rossetti is looking forward to sharing his interest in computer programming with his students. “I love teaching this stuff, and I’m glad that I’ll be able to offer this class at Georgetown.”
Social and Digital Media Marketing
Undergraduates in Social and Digital Media Marketing will learn how to turn “toys into tools,” according to Adjunct Professor Marty Conway. This fall, Conway and Adjunct Professor Jimmy Lynn will teach the foundations of how to use social media platforms for strategic marketing, what they describe as a growing demand in the professional job market.
Conway and Lynn’s class brings together a number of angles of social media marketing into one course for the first time. “Aspects of social and digital marketing were being discussed in various courses, but there was no one place where students could focus on that area of marketing,” Conway said. “There should be a place where some foundations are laid.”
Conway and Lynn, who both worked at AOL, have extensive experience in the field and looked to the present job market when designing the course. “Jimmy and I looked at the needs of the industry and asked leaders what they look for from students,” Conway said.
Students will learn to critically analyze the marketing value of various social media platforms by examining case studies, will discuss the ethics of social media marketing, and will have the opportunity to become certified in certain industry platforms.
The FinTech Revolution
The Fintech Revolution, offered in the spring semester to MBA students, will provide a complete overview of the present landscape of financial technology, or fintech. The course focuses on the strategic, economic, and governance issues associated with the fintech ecosystem, according to Adjunct Professor Miguel Soriano.
Through a series of case studies, guest lecturers and a final group project, the course will examine fintech startups, technology service providers, cryptocurrencies, and the regulatory framework surrounding fintech and the financial services industry. “The course will evaluate the fintech ecosystem by applying principles from established academic disciplines such as strategy management, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, innovation, and international development,” Soriano said.
An undergraduate fintech course was introduced last year.