Data Analytics: Microsoft Excel vs SPSS
In this article, I describe my experience with the Data Analytics Course. I also discuss my experience with two programmes for data processing. These are Microsoft Excel and SPSS (i.e. Statistical programme for Social Sciences). At the Lagos Business School, Microsoft Excel is the preferred software for the Data Analytics Course. I find this confusing because SPSS is more modern compared to Microsoft Excel. It is also much easier to use. Well, this is my personal opinion.
What is Data Analytics?
Data analytics is a core course of the EMBA programme. It involves careful analysis of numbers and figures to reach logical conclusions. Until recently, I thought the words data analysis and data analytics had the same meaning. How wrong I was. There is a difference between data analysis and data analytics. I am not sure what the difference is really. I am still trying to figure it out.
Choosing Software for Data processing
I feel making Microsoft Excel compulsory for data processing is a bit misplaced. Does it really matter what programme I use for data analysis? I don’t think so. I think it is more important to understand the core principles in statistics. It is equally important to do calculations and get the answers right. Again, this is my own opinion. What can I say? I am only a student trying to make sense of it all. To be honest, my experience of the data analytics course has been quite humbling. For someone who is quite comfortable with numbers, my difficulty with the course was unexpected.
In the beginning…
Our lectures in Data analytics started well enough. We received brush-up lectures which helped in introducing the course. I loved the way the course was introduced, initially. However, the tone of the class changed immdeiately when our lecturer introduced Excel Spreadsheets. Oh, Excel Spreadsheets. Some of us tune off once we see those spreadsheets.
Microsoft Excel vs SPSS
Many years ago, I learnt how to use Microsoft Excel. I could perform basic arithmetic functions and draw charts using the programme. A few months afterwards, I was introduced to SPSS. SPSS is a data processing software with a user-friendly interface. I find it much easier to use than Excel spreadsheets. Over the years, I have gathered significant experience using SPSS. I can enter data and perform complex analysis using the programme. Hence, my clear preference for the programme.
Microsoft Excel, the language of data analytics
In contrast, Excel is the language of data analytics at the Lagos Business School. There seems to be no alternative, at least not yet. The SPSS programme I mastered over the years, now seems irrelevant. Given its important to the course, I believe more time should have been allocated to teaching students Microsoft Excel as part of the course. This will enable students acquire the needed proficiency in using the programme.
The trouble continues
A major challenge with the data analytics course, is lack of time to read the study materials. This problem applies to other courses of the EMBA as well. The pace of lectures is unsettling. It is progressing at rocket speed. We have fine lecturers and excellent study materials. However, there is insufficient time to go through the lectures. This greatly limits our class participation and the opportunity to learn from the taught courses.
EMBA : Full time or Part-time programme
I believe the pacing of courses at the Lagos Business School needs to be re-examined. For starters, is the EMBA programme, full time or part time? As a part-time programme, I believe lectures should be reduced to once a week. This will enable full time professionals benefit maximally from the EMBA programme. It would also allow course participants to interact better with study materials. As it stands today, there is hardly time to blink on the EMBA programme. In between doing assignments, preparing presentations, attending lectures there is barely time to go over the study materials. This defeats the essence of the programme altogether.
Group discussions, presentations and other assignments allow us to bond with our with fellow classmates. They also enable us interact with our course materials. However, all these do not replace personal study time. Private study is crucial to achieving success on this programme. It is also important that we balance other commitments as well. As we continue on this journey, I hope we find a sweet spot that works for all. The struggle continues… #EMBA27
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