“Hey, I think it’s time we moved you to the Strategy department. HR will work that out at the end of the year”. With these words, my boss unknowingly reinforced my decision to return to school and obtain a master’s degree. One week later, I called the admissions office at Lagos Business School (LBS) to begin the process. Was I certain of this move? Definitely not. Did I consider the life changes it will require? Well, I like to think I kept an open-mind. Did I prepare mentally for the demands? Yes, I did. One thing I did not imagine was the looming battle with Python and ‘R’.
Now, you are probably wondering what I mean by Python and ‘R’, stay with me, I will take you there. While doing my research ahead of the program, I spoke to few alumni and they all mentioned that despite the many benefits, the program was strenuous. Armed with this information, I came in prepared for the arduous task. The program started with brush-up sessions which comprised; a session on LBS and its values, basics of the courses within the program and core soft skills such as time management. The brush-up program was interesting, eye-opening, and provided clarity on the learning outcomes of the program.
The top learning outcome was developing analytical and problem-solving skills; hence, I was not surprised to see that Data Analytics, was one of the courses within the program. I took pride in it knowing that LBS was moving with the times. All I had to do was refresh and update my Excel skills, or so I thought. Little did I know that my pride would be short-lived.
Two sessions into the Data Analytics course, and all I could hear in class was that I needed to learn “Python”. Now, if you are unfamiliar with this, you may be wondering why we are learning about snakes in an MBA class. Python is not a snake; it is one of the most popular programming languages in the world. It is used to build our mobile applications, websites and analyse data from companies and businesses. It serves as an investigative tool for businesses to sift through their data. Back to my story; just as I came to accept that, in addition to excel, I had to learn Python, the facilitator started talking about ‘R’ and how it had certain capabilities not found in Python. Now, I also had to learn ‘R’ and I had to do it on my own. I felt overwhelmed and for the first time since the semester commenced, I realised what lay ahead.
The sudden realisation that no one was going to spoon-feed me in this program hit like a wave. I had two choices: sink or swim. It became clear to me the real reason why LBS never calls their faculty, ‘lecturers’. They are facilitators for a purpose. They are there to point me in the right direction, nudge me towards the truth, and guide me to decision making. Now, the facilitator did play his part in nudging and guiding. He spoke on the benefits of learning these tools and even provided various materials to aid the learning process. I was grateful, especially for the materials, but my attempt to study and understand them requires a separate blog post.
No one told me about this part of the program. I laughed at myself but decided I was going to swim. There was no gain without pain.