Preparing students for the digital economy

Students practice live stock-trading in the Bloomberg Finance Lab in HELP’s RM25mil Business Analytics and Technology Innovation Centre (BATIC).

IN February 2021, the government launched the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint aimed at transforming Malaysia into a regional leader in digital economy with a RM70bil investment in digitalisation by 2025 with the digital economy expected to eventually contribute 22.6% of the nation’s GDP.

It aims to achieve 100% household access to the Internet to enable students to access online learning and create 500, 000 new jobs by 2025.

Initiatives will be implemented to increase the number of start-ups to 5, 000 while pushing for the adoption of eCommerce by at least 875, 000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by 2025.

In light of this ambitious blueprint, HELP University offers two programmes in data analytics to contribute to fulfilling the manpower needs required for its realisation.

The BIT (Hons) Data Analytics offered by School of Information and Communication Technology aims to fulfil the high industry demand for business and data analysts by producing graduates with an understanding of the business challenges of an enterprise, and who are able to conceive and manage solutions that are increasingly data-driven.

Students are trained in the latest data analytics methods and tools. They will be able to consult on, support or develop the technological platforms of an enterprise to achieve a competitive advantage, and build a career in roles ranging from data and systems analysts to data engineers and data scientists.

The programme includes topics such as fundamental and advanced statistical and mathematical principles (the basis of advanced data analysis techniques), machine learning, pattern recognition, data mining, big data technologies, data visualisation and enterprise data infrastructure.

Commenting on the programme, head of the School of Information and Communication Technology Dr Tang U-Liang said: “Data scientists are highly sought-after by organisations which need skilled individuals who can use advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a sustainable value chain from enterprise data to decision-making in the boardroom. The ultimate aim is to contribute to raising efficiency and productivity in the service of the digital economy".

Dr Tang, who holds a PhD from the National University of Singapore, is a data scientist with extensive experience of applied research using AI and ML tools.

To add to the value of their study experience, students are offered a joint certificate of competency in the application of SAS tools for descriptive and predictive analytics. This is in collaboration with SAS, the leading analytics software developer.

Complementing the BIT (Hons) Data Analytics offered by HELP is the Bachelor of Business Analytics (BBA) (Hons) offered by the Faculty of Business, Economics and Accounting (FBEA).

Data analytics specialists Dr Tang (left) and Dr Tan.Data analytics specialists Dr Tang (left) and Dr Tan.

Business analytics aims to provide solutions to business problems and to improve business performance by using statistical analysis and modelling to explore and investigate business data to transform data into business insights. These insights are then used to predict outcomes of business decisions and to recommend actions that maximise ideal outcomes.

Graduates are nurtured to assume management and marketing positions such as business analyst, operations research analyst, market research analyst, operations analyst, quantitative analyst, project manager and digital marketing manager.

They will acquire a good knowledge of the discipline of business as well as a data-driven capability to enable them to generate statistical outputs using analytical tools and techniques, interpret them and make effective managerial decisions.

Topics include programming, database systems, business analytics and information systems, business analytics for decision-making, marketing analytics, HR analytics, descriptive, predictive, prescriptive analytics, business analytics, and data insights and visualisations.

They are also given practice in live stock-trading using Bloomberg business resources and facilities in HELP’s RM25mil Business Analytics and Technology Innovation Centre (BATIC).

According to the course leader Dr Melody Tan, the BBA is targeted directly to fulfil the enormous demand and need for trained Business Analysts to boost business and productivity.

“It strengthens our capability as the leading business school to nurture skills and professionalism to contribute to the digital economy".

Dr Tan used a data science methodology - social network analysis - to study the movie series Stargate and Star Trek for her PhD thesis. This complements the skills in bibliometric and citation analysis of data she acquired as a postgraduate student at Universiti Malaya.

To further enhance students’ skills, a Data and Business Analytics Certificate Course is offered free to all students. They also receive mentorship in data analytics and e-entrepreneurship through HELP’s collaboration with the Alibaba Business School.

HELP’s efforts in advancing data analytics and training have received recognition and endorsement from industry and governing bodies.

Its programmes contribute to transforming HELP into an analytics-driven entrepreneurial university, for which Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) named HELP as a Premier Digital Tech Institution (PDTI), one of a handful of institutions to receive this honour.

Admission into the BIT Data Analytics and BBA programmes for SPM, UEC and O-Level holders is through the Diploma in IT and Diploma in Business pathways, with credits in three subjects (Maths is compulsory for BIT).

Currently HELP University is making access to its analytics programmes easier by offering micro-credentials to a wide community of students from high school to undergraduates and working adults.

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