American University of Beirut

Business analytics graduates share insightful stories on the data visualization blog

​​A group of students showcased their stories on the newly launched Data Visualization website, part of the data visualization and communication course in the Master's in Business Analytics (MSBA) program at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB). The MSBA prepares its candidates with the knowledge, techniques, and skills to analyze big data. It introduces state-of-the-art tools to envisage a variety of approaches by placing data into context, and instructs hands-on skills based on different data types and audiences. 

In the data visualization and communication course, MSBA students work individually and in teams to explore new datasets and identify impactful findings. They learn to communicate through data by focusing on concepts like storytelling, visual design, and dashboards, whilst manipulating a mixture of coding and out-of-the-box tools, like Plotly and Tableau.
Fouad Zablith, Assistant Professor and blog curator articulates: "It was a pleasure to work with our MSBA students this semester in the data visualization and communication course. Their commitment to learning, and willingness to adapt to new communication platforms, greatly helped in overcoming the challenges imposed on us during this unusual term. They were eager to continuously explore new datasets and design effective visualizations to uncover new insights. I hope the launched data visualization website will serve as a space for current and future students to share their data stories visually and help us see things from different perspectives."

MSBA candidates have blogged their articles using a set of interactive dashboards, along with dynamic and static images. The blog covers a wide range of interesting and eye-opening topics, both national and international in scope. For example, students reveal insights into how food prices rise exponentially in Lebanon, COVID-19 implications on stocks and healthcare, violence against women, child marriage and religion, global suicide rates, vital regional statistics in Lebanon, undernourishment around the world, and many more stories. All stories can be accessed on the blog website.
"Despite every obstacle thrown our way this semester, the data visualization and communication course remains as one of the most valuable learning experiences I’ve ever had. Before taking this course, I never imagined how much details matter. After this course, we've all become visualization critics! With practice on Tableau and Python, we are able to perform deep exploratory and explanatory analysis on any dataset we are presented with, and visualize it accordingly. I do not see this course as simply for MSBAs only, as I believe it could benefit any student from any background. There is not one person who does not, or will not, need to present, understand, and analyze visualizations in either their career, education, or daily life," informs Sara Dabbous, MSBA candidate.

Graduates of the program will learn the various data analytics processes from managing, modelling, analyzing, visualizing, and recommending solutions to challenges in various domains, including supply chain and operations, project management, marketing, human resources, and finance.
"In the wake of the COVID-19 global monster, people of all ages and backgrounds seek certainty and knowledge anywhere they can, amid a flood of fake news and overly-technical reports. Only accurate data presented with proper user-friendly, automatically updated visualizations are attracting millions of customers!" exclaims Layale Bassil, MSBA candidate. "I learned in Data Visualization and Communication to effectively represent meaningful data through visual aids, using smart engines dedicated to deliver information. In fact, I am pursuing my MSBA to expand my technical abilities and skills, to transform my attitude towards the age of data intelligence through analytics, in a pure customer-centric manner."
For further information about the MSBA program at OSB, please visit the program website.

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