That’s exactly the goal professor Barbara Hoopes envisions for students in her Analytics Experiential Learning Module, part of an 18-month Executive MBA Program at Virginia Tech.
In the analytics course, MBA students test-drive various software applications to mine publicly available data and extract insights to address a business- or community-oriented challenge. For example, one team recently explored data-driven solutions to choosing the location for a new retail business, while another group of students analyzed the shortage of dentists in specific neighborhoods of Washington, D.C.
“As company leaders, I tell them that they need to be intelligent consumers of analytics and data science,” Hoopes says. “Showing them what technologies are available and what’s possible in the world of analytics is a critical part of their MBA education.”
Hoopes added Alteryx to her experiential learning course in fall 2020 with assistance from Alteryx for Good, a program that helps education institutions use this technology to elevate their curricula. Along with offering free Designer licenses for students and educators, Alteryx for Good provides access to technical support and other learning resources.
“It's inspiring to see a company contribute to our educational mission like this,” Hoopes says of the program. “They just made everything very easy for us in terms of getting the students set up with Alteryx software, tech support — all of that was taken care of.”
Alteryx Mentor Brings Real-World Perspective to Class
Alan Jacobson, Chief Data and Analytics Officer at Alteryx and Virginia Tech alum, took the company’s support even further. He connected Hoopes with another Alteryx employee, sales engineer Marie Breton, to serve as a mentor and project coach for students.
“I jumped at the chance because I’m passionate about not only education, but also building our user community,” says Breton. “I was that same adult student eight years ago, trying to earn my master's degree in predictive analytics. So being able to help create this experience in Barbara’s class really appealed to me.”