Online Courses: MBA

Soumyasree Vinod

Online MBA with Data Analytics

I have been working in the software industry for the past 19 years. During my career I have held various roles working on analytic platforms, database performance, leading global teams and developing machine learning packages used by several Fortune 500 companies. At present my focus is on software development for one of the leading on‑demand financial and human capital management software vendors in California, USA.

I studied a post-graduate degree in computer applications and after this, I got an opportunity to work in India developing a payroll application for a firm. This task required a good understanding of databases, software development and designing applications from scratch. I really enjoyed the work and after moving to the US I decided to continue working in that industry. About three years ago I got an opportunity to move to the machine learning team within the organization where I worked and lead a group of engineers developing machine learning packages. This got me really interested in learning more about data, data analysis and gave me a first-hand understanding of the impact that proper usage of data can have. I really wanted to make positive contributions to the community by working in this area.

Having worked in the software industry for a very long time and as a team lead, I had gotten the opportunity to work closely with consultants from Fortune 500, getting a clear feel for how this industry is growing and how it could be of service to humanity. I had also completed a one-year course from Stanford Center for professional development on Innovations and Entrepreneurship and an Executive Program, Artificial Intelligence - Implications for Business Strategy from MIT and I was looking into doing my MBA next.

I work full-time and I’m also a mom to two kids. With the limited time I have, the only way I am able to pursue my studies is through the support of my family, my interest in the subject and a strong desire on my end. I wanted an option where I could study at my pace (usually in the evenings or on weekends) and still be there 100% both at work and for my family. I did explore few local universities that provided evening classes for MBAs. However, they required you to be available at fixed times multiple days during the week, which was not always possible due to other matters that took priority on certain days. So, I decided that studying online was the best option for me.

I explored all of the online options available and came across the Online MBA with Data Analytics specialization offered by Nottingham Trent University. This was the perfect combination of leadership classes and data analytics that I was wanting. And to top it all, NTU has both Equis and AACSB accreditation and has a great reputation. So, I decided to pursue the course at NTU.

We have discussions almost every week and sometimes assignments which require collaboration and feedback from your cohort members. So, there is definitely social interaction along with networking and discussions. We try to stay in touch via LinkedIn and WhatsApp groups, where study-related and sometimes other topics of interest are discussed, and this helps with the networking aspect. Definitely, campus courses will help better with the face-to-face, social interactions and networking; however, we make things work online as well.

This course has definitely helped me to stay on top of industry changes and to apply what I’ve learned on a daily basis at my work. We discuss many theories and case studies, which you are not going to come across otherwise. Also, the big data, machine learning and data science modules cover the latest and greatest topics in that area, which is something I am eagerly looking forward to.

I am definitely evaluating any project from a much wider perspective; the impact for stake holders, the business strategies behind a decision, innovation outlook and adaptability are all topics that I am able to understand now and also able to apply various theories and laws into my own personal decisions regarding projects. I am able to view things from different angles such as that of an engineer, a top executive as well as marketing personnel.

My goal is to continue to push my future career towards the area of data analytics and to focus on converting data into real knowledge, making it crucial to reaching critical decisions. Completing the Online MBA with Data Analytics will without a doubt equip me with all of the tools required to lead any project or team in this area and make sure we achieve success. I am eagerly waiting to use the knowledge acquired during my course work and apply it back into my work.

I would recommend this course to anybody who is looking for a combination of leadership and machine learning/big data/data analytics coursework. You will get to learn the latest happenings in the field, at your pace. If you are willing to put in the effort, you will see the benefits this course can bring for you. There is constant guidance such as a special Professional and Leadership Development module, as well as mentor guidance and meetings which you might not find at many other universities.

My advice 100% is to go for it. Make sure you have a support system around you which includes your family and a work schedule that allows work-life balance. With proper time management and carefully planning your week ahead you can achieve this and also balance your work, family life and studies very easily. Before you make a decision clarify all of your questions with the admissions office or if possible a senior student. And once you start the program, NTU mentors are there every step of the way leading you and helping you with any questions or concerns you have.

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