Preparing students for the digital economy

(From left) Dr Wendy Liow, Dr Tang U-Liang and Dr Paolo Casadio from HELP University ’s ELM Graduate School.(From left) Dr Wendy Liow, Dr Tang U-Liang and Dr Paolo Casadio from HELP University ’s ELM Graduate School.

THE importance of the digital economy is further amplified by the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, which ironically has given a strong fillip to e-commerce around the globe.

HELP University is at the forefront of IT, data analytics and data science education. It was designated a Premier Digital Tech Institution by the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) for its efforts in transforming into an analytics-driven entrepreneurial university – one of the few so honoured.

HELP offers two relevant bachelor’s and two master’s programmes – Bachelor of Business Analytics, Bachelor of IT (Data Analytics), Master of Applied Business Analytics (MABA) and Master of Data Science (MDS).

MABA and the MDS are of special importance for their relevance and potential contribution to nurture high level managerial manpower skills and training relevant for the MyDigital context.

The MyDigital initiative was launched recently by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin with the aim of transforming Malaysia into a digitally-driven, high-income nation and a regional leader in digital economy.

MyDigital (incorporating the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint under the Economic Planning Unit) aims to create 500,000 new jobs in the digital economy by 2025; invest RM70bil in digitalisation by 2025 to enable the digital economy to eventually contribute 22.6% of GDP; increase the number of start-ups to 5,000; and encourage 875,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to adopt e-commerce by 2025.

HELP’s MABA programme aims to nurture talents to assume senior and managerial positions like chief data officer and chief analytics officer.

MABA covers topics in statistics, decision-making models, business intelligence and analytics, and applies them to crucial areas of business like marketing, HR, finance, economics, business operations and supply chain.

It equips students with the latest analytics tools and skills to understand the dynamics of a business, anticipate market shifts and identify market segmentation and consumer patterns by using big data and analytics to optimise performance and control risks.

“Today you need an analytics mindset and a sophisticated set of models and tools to manage large sets of data and produce reliable forecasts, ” said MABA course leader Assoc Prof Dr Paolo Casadio, whose experience includes working as an econometrician and financial economist in leading European banks and asset management companies before he joined HELP University.

The Master of Data Science (MDS) programme aims to produce data scientists with sophisticated skills in quantitative modelling and data mining and analytics techniques to analyse big data and provide crucial information needed in decision-making.

The programme nurtures graduates to meet the growing demand for data science professionals who are capable of making decisions based on the availability of comprehensive data. It prepares graduates to apply analytics techniques for knowledge discovery and dissemination to assist researchers or decision-makers in achieving organisational objectives

“Data scientists are some of the most sought-after professionals in Malaysia. Organisations are on a search for individuals who are able to use advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a sustainable value chain from enterprise data to decision making in the boardroom.

“At HELP, our MDS programme not only equips students with highly sought-after programming, and scientific and data engineering skills, but also the leadership to effect digital transformation in their organisations, ” said Dr Tang U-Liang, head of HELP University’s School of Information and Communication Technology and MDS course leader.

The MABA and MDS programmes of HELP University’s ELM Graduate School assume special importance in view of the Government’s policy to encourage 875,000 MSMEs to embrace e-commerce as an important contributor to Malaysia’s digital economy under MyDigital.

ELMGS collaborates with the SME Corporation Malaysia to train entrepreneurs in the successful operation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

ELMGS dean Dr Wendy Liow said: “We will continue to sharpen the e-commerce skills of our SME cohorts. We welcome the MyDigital initiative and will put special emphasis on this aspect of the training. We will also target the many previous SME graduates to upskill themselves through our MABA and MDS programmes to enable them to contribute more significantly towards Malaysia’s digital economy.”

Apart from harnessing qualified and experienced leadership to deliver these programmes, HELP has created a vibrant ecosystem in keeping with its mission to nurture the A*Gen – the Analytics Generation – and maintains close ties with the industry and governing bodies.

A RM25mil Business Analytics and Technology Innovation Centre (BATIC) was set up to incubate and innovate techno-entrepreneurship and research and development in analytics, the latter in tandem with the HELP Centre for Applied Research in Analytics (CARA).

BATIC also houses one of the largest Bloomberg financial labs among private higher learning institutions in Malaysia to train students in live stock-trading.

In collaboration with analytics software developer SAS, HELP offers students a joint certificate of competency in the application of SAS tools for descriptive and predictive analytics.

HELP’s extensive network of collaborators provides opportunities for enriching student learning experience.

The Alibaba Business School provides mentorship in data analytics and e-entrepreneurship, while senior members of industry and the professions sit on HELP University’s industry advisory boards to proffer advice and guidance on academic standards and curricular relevance.

Under the liberalisation of higher education, the APEL scheme of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) allows candidates without a bachelor's degree but who possess a recognised diploma or STPM and have prior working experience in this field to be admitted into the MABA and MDS programmes.

For course details, contact Christy Chong at 03-2716 2102/ (MABA) and Yam Chik Cheong 03-2716 2164/ (MDS) or visit

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