Analytics and Visualisation for Managers and Consultants

Module description

In this module you will develop the skills necessary to communicate analytical results to senior managers. You will learn the consulting skills necessary to understand business problems and develop solutions based upon analytics. The module will develop your skills in communicating information about data visually and verbally. You will learn how to use visualisation tools in R and commercial software such as Tableau. 

Full module specification

Module title:Analytics and Visualisation for Managers and Consultants
Module code:BEMM461
Module level:M
Academic year:2021/2
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Jesse Fagan - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:



This module is closed to MSc Business Analytics only



Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

“A good sketch is better than a long speech” - often attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte


This module focuses on the skills necessary to communicate data and results to others.

Students will learn the best practices for creating effective visualisations

Students will be able to assess the quality of visualisation approaches

Understand the most appropriate method of visualising a variety of data types

Present information that facilitates decision making


Students will learn to deliver an ‘elevator pitch’, critique and improve existing visualisations, and undertake a final project to demonstrate their visualisation skills.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. P1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of fundamental, and domain specific, analytics methods and tools
  • 2. P5: Create, manage, interrogate, interpret and visualise data from a wide range of different sources, types and including structured and unstructured forms.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. P9: Communicate effectively through oral presentations and written reports, presenting methodologies and findings in a way that is appropriate to the intended audience.
  • 4. P10: Contribute effectively to managerial decision processes within a business context.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. P12: A collaborative mind-set: Our graduates are enterprising and motivated individuals who are able to actively collaborate and effectively communicate within a range of diverse settings.
  • 6. P14: Technological and digital literacy: Our graduates are able to use technologies to source, process and communicate information.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity30Class meeting time
Guided Independent Study10Preparatory video lessons and podcasts on topics regarding visualisation and using software
Guided Independent Study20Preparatory reading prior to class meeting time
Guided Independent Study20Preparation for short presentations
Guided Independent Study30Reading and preparation for visualisation critique assignment
Guided Independent Study40Reading and preparation for final visualisation project

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Daily in-class exercisesDuring class hours1-6Verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short presentation305-min presentation, 2-3 hours to prepare. 1, 2, 3, 4 Summer reassessment period
Visualisation critique301,000 word equivalent1, 2, 3, 5, 6 Summer reassessment period
Final visualisation project403,000 word equivalent 1 - 6 Summer reassessment period

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Short presentationRecorded 5-min video presentation (30%)1, 2, 3, 4Summer reassessment period
Visualisation critique1,000 word equivalent (30%)1, 2, 3, 5, 6Summer reassessment period
Final visualisation project3,000 word equivalent (40%)1 - 6Summer reassessment period

Re-assessment notes

Re-assessment will be in nature to the original assessment, but the topic, data, and materials must be new.

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a reassessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to re-take some or all parts of the assessment, as decided by the Module Convenor. The final mark given for a module where re-assessment was taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.

Syllabus plan

“What about confusing clutter? Information overload? Doesn't data have to be "boiled down" and "simplified"? These common questions miss the point, for the quantity of detail is an issue completely separate from the difficulty of reading. Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information.” - Edward Tufte

  • Fundamentals of visualisation. We will review and apply research on effective data visualisation clear up chart junk and design complex, effective visualisations. We will consider cross-cultural concerns and bridging boundaries in expertise.
  •  The Visualisation Toolbox. Students will confront the variety of forms of data and the different strategies designers and researchers have created for translating information into a visual form: time and change, geography and cartography, relationships and networks. 
  • Communicating Uncertainty. All models are false, but some are useful. Noise and error are part of all analytic models, and communicating relative certainty is critical for making sound decisions.
  • Designing a Narrative. The module is designed to encourage students to distil data into an engaging story that communicates efficiently. 
  • Dashboards and User Experience. We will cover animation, and effective dashboard design. Students will learn principles of user experience and how to create interactive dashboards that give control of the data to the managers and executives who are making decisions. 

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicated texts (not required, but will be referenced in the course).



  • Students will use R, RStudio in class.
  • We will use Tableau at times for dashboards.
  • Inkscape will be used for manipulating images
  • We will be using Javascript using the D3.js library to create interactive, data-driven documents. Minimum requirement is an internet browser and a text editor (notepad, gedit, Sublime Text, Notepad++, etc.)

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