Practical Insights into Data and Analytics

Module description

The module will include:

  • How businesses use data to build, understand and report their sustainability goals
  • Applying current concepts in data and analytics to real examples
  • Using ‘Design Thinking’ to create information management systems
  • Introduction to tools for analysing numbers and text

The module is jointly taught with experts from SAP (enterprise software and software-related services) and will include a visit to their Customer Innovation Centre to understand how the latest analytic approaches are being applied in practice.

Internationalisation:  the module will draw on recent scholarship in the areas of data and analytics published by researchers internationally (the UK, Europe, the United States) and case studies based on a variety of national contexts.

External Engagement: the module will be delivered in conjunction with SAP and will include a visit to SAP’s Customer Innovation Centre in London.

Employability: the module will offer an opportunity to acquire knowledge and develop analytical skills for those pursuing careers in planning and analytics.

Ethics and Corporate Responsibility: the module will look at ethics in data use where this is relevant to the individual topics.

Research in Teaching: the module will use the module leader’s research expertise in the areas of discussion; and engage you in independent research to produce an individual report.

Full module specification

Module title:Practical Insights into Data and Analytics
Module code:MBAM913A
Module level:M
Academic year:2016/7
Module lecturers:
  • Mr Stuart Robinson - Convenor
Module credit:12
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:

4 days (+ 6 weeks study)

Module aims

Information is the lifeblood of business. Companies that manage information effectively can improve efficiency, be more responsive to market opportunities, achieve competitive advantage and operate more sustainably.  As businesses drive towards sustainable strategies, they are looking for better information to guide decisions.  Many companies are already gathering sustainability-related data but a critical next step is to build information systems and data analytics capabilities that will turn this raw data into actionable insights. This will enable companies to more effectively identify which actions are achieving their goals, detect risk or opportunity early, evaluate possible outcomes, allocate resources to achieve greatest returns; and measure the true impact of products. This module will explore the role of information and analytics in supporting the development of more sustainable strategies and the practical techniques managers can use to design effective information flows.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate awareness of current reporting guidelines for sustainability metrics and how these can be met in a business information architecture.
  • 2. understand key terms and concepts in data and information management and be able to relate these to a typical business situation, including sustainability reporting systems and processes.
  • 3. critically evaluate current approaches used for collection, management, communication and analysis of commercial, operational and sustainability data, and how this data is used to support decision-making.
  • 4. describe how Information Technology can be used to support a company’s goals, including sustainability goals.
  • 5. apply ‘Design Thinking’ techniques to the analysis of a specific business challenge and use these to identify required information flows.
  • 6. demonstrate familiarity with analytical tools available for the analysis numerical and textual data and use these to drive action from data.
  • 7. demonstrate familiarity with current developments and thinking in the information management industry, specifically around ‘big’ data management, analytics and cloud.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 8. apply theoretical arguments, frameworks and concepts to the analysis of business and management scenarios. Link theoretical constructs and organisational practices.
  • 9. critically articulate how different organisations and individuals approach practice and why differences exist.
  • 10. demonstrate a critical awareness of different stakeholder perspectives and their contribution to problem-solving and delivering sustainable solutions.
  • 11. demonstrate an integrated and holistic perspective when generating solutions.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 12. analyse and draw conclusions from unstructured problems and scenarios.
  • 13. demonstrate analytical skills both with regard to data and to the design of information flows in organisations.
  • 14. demonstrate cognitive skills of critical and reflective thinking.
  • 15. demonstrate effective independent study and research skills.

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 & Teaching activities28Interactive workshop, visit to major IT provider
Guided Independent Study92Reading, personal research exercise, writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Feedback on group exercises completed during workshops on days 1, 2 and 31 hour1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7Oral feedback

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
Report on individual data research and analysis exercise 1003500 words or 10 pages1 - 16Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual AssignmentIndividual Assignment 3500 words or 10 pages whichever is shorter2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9 - 156 weeks from briefing

Syllabus plan

Day 1           Workshop – Introduction to key concepts in data and analytics and their application to sustainable business.

Day 2           Workshop – Practical aspects of information systems.  Data modelling and analytics. Design thinking

Day 3           Workshop - Communicating information; data visualisation techniques. On line analytics

Day 4          Company visit – Applications of Analytics in Sustainability contexts. Design Thinking.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

An updated reading list is available on the module ELE page

Analytics tools

A level of familiarity with Microsoft Excel is expected. The student must have personal access to MS Office 2013 or higher (PC or MAC), this is available to all Exeter students free of charge during their time at the University.   

Access and training for the other software tools used in the module will be provided,

Module has an active ELE page?


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