Students on computers
INPUT by Alteryx Blog

Marketing Students Learn Data Analytics in the UK and France

Ronnie Das, lecturer and associate professor, shares his experience with SparkED, a data analytics education program by Alteryx.

Students on computers
Ronnie Das
While Alteryx’s data analytics platform has obvious value for students in accounting and finance, what does it offer other fields of study? Ronnie Das, lecturer in Digital Marketing & Data Analytics at Newcastle University in the UK, and now also an Associate Professor at the Audencia Business School in France, says it’s ‘like a godsend’ for his product innovation and data driven marketing classes, and his students agree.
“As future managers, marketing students do not always need to understand high-level statistics, nor do they need programming skills. What is really required of them is to solve a problem from a managerial perspective,” Das explains. “It was really easy for my students to grasp complex data concepts, just by dragging and dropping a few options on the platform, and that’s what they were really excited about.”
According to Das, the Alteryx SparkED education program provides him with an unprecedented opportunity to bring data analytics into less math-oriented topics, such as understanding customer behavior, predicting success of email campaigns, etc. using big data concepts. He is able to measure his students’ success through their development of hands-on practical solutions to real-world data driven problems. Das says the results were ‘phenomenal’ for helping his students feel that their established goals had been met, and to build their overall confidence by using data analytics in a wide range of problem-solving efforts. Even the vital initial steps of determining the real problem to solve is aided by SparkED learning materials.
Student feedback continues to be overwhelmingly positive. “Students now understand how to use Alteryx, and how to apply data analytics skills into real-life practice. They can now take it to the business world, highlight these invaluable soft skills on their CV, discuss how to use a machine learning platform like Alteryx, and how to apply predictive analytics on contemporary marketing problems using the platform. Many UK universities are theory-focused, rather than enlightening students through a combination of concepts and practice. Acquiring these practical skills are what stood out in student comments.”
Indeed, practicality seems to be something of a theme surrounding Das’ incorporation of Alteryx into his teaching and learning curriculum. For starters, access to the program is free, which is no small relief to departments on a fixed budget. Das goes so far as to say it was the user-friendly nature and ease of use of the Alteryx Designer platform that made the course possible and well received in the first place.
Alteryx SparkED provides free renewable education Designer licenses for instructors and learners, as well as online self-paced learning pathways. Certification is available. Students can apply for scholarship and internships. Teaching tools and optional faculty training are available. SparkED is now a comprehensive teaching and learning program, which continues to grow in order to better serve higher education around the world.
“Alteryx is the next generation solution to classroom teaching of complex data analytics concepts attached to a grassroot management level. And without a platform like Designer, I don’t think I would dare to teach predictive analytics to the core marketing students. It is a game-changer, really.”
Check out Das’ class website from Newcastle University, with posted video clips and workflows (be sure to watch the 3rd video, a 1 minute overview of how much time can be saved using the drag-and-drop algorithms in Designer).

Written By
Jennifer Miller
Jennifer Miller
Education Marketing Manager, Alteryx
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