Data Science for Business Decision Making


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    Why do executives need to know data science?

    As a chief executive officer, director, senior manager, founder or consultant, you are already an expert in your business area. Why is it also critical for you to master the essentials of data science, programming and analytics? The short answer: data science gives you a competitive edge. The longer answer: learning practical tools, basic coding skills, and techniques for analysing and sharing data prepares you to manipulate data and implement statistical modelling. This will help you to understand and solve your most important business challenges.


    Most CEOs and managers accept in principle that data can help their companies improve productivity, reduce risk and increase market share. However, many executives still have trouble placing their confidence in analytics or lack the skills to use it to its full potential.


    In a 2019 survey of 65 Fortune 1000 executives, researchers found that 77% of respondents found business adoption of big data and AI initiatives to be a challenge.



    In a 2020 survey of 300 data analytics leaders from the US, UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, 67% of business leaders rely on “gut instinct” over data for business decisions.


    Key takeaways

    In this programme, the focus is on applying essential data and analytics tools to your business concerns. You will:

    • Identify, research and discuss ways that data science methods can be used in business to improve decisions and processes
    • Become familiar with essential programming tools for sophisticated data analysis and visualisation to improve understanding and communication
    • Gain skills in the use of data science tools to make numeric predictions and perform classifications
    • Use data science tools to extract meaning from text data sources to better understand social media feedback and discussion

    Programme topics

    You will learn through a combination of hands-on programming demonstrations in RStudio, video lectures, quizzes, readings and peer discussions.

    Module 1:

    Introduction to data science

    Learn the disruptive business applications of data science including foundational analysis methods; explore a data mining framework; explore popular data science technologies; learn about data organisation for analysis.

    Module 4:

    Making predictions by classifying outcomes

    Compare the classification methods of experts and machines; explore performance of predictive classification models.

    Module 2:

    Impactful data visualisations

    Understand the power of advanced visualisations to persuade and influence audiences for effective communication across diverse sets of stakeholders; explore the physical characteristics of effective visualisations.

    Module 5:

    Supervised and unsupervised learning

    Learn to differentiate between supervised and unsupervised learning as you explore how a model-building contest hosted by Netflix yielded predictive model performance improvements.

    Module 3:

    Making predictions by characterising relationships

    Identify and describe business problems concerned with the strength and relationship among variables. Explore characteristics and evaluate the quality of predictive models to understand how data and models can inform business decisions.

    Module 6:

    Extracting meaning from text

    Explore how and why language analysis can provide near-realtime feedback of customer opinions; learn about natural language processing methods; construct and test a predictive model to examine sentiment of text passages.


    Your Learning Experience

    Bite-sized learning

    Mobile learning app

    Dedicated programme support team

    How you benefit

    This programme is presented as a practical set of modules, designed to provide business leaders with the foundational data science skills to solve their real-world business challenges.

    • Learn commands, functions and basic data analysis in R programming language.
    • Use data visualisation tools, such as the ggplot2 package for graphics, to communicate with data teams, management, clients, partners and the general public.
    • Learn to predict prices, sales, units sold based on product features, and marketing activities using input and output variables and algorithms.
    • Predict positive customer response to an email campaign (conversion) or churn (attrition) using classification tools.
    • Master clustering applications for market segmentation, recommender systems or stock grouping for investment portfolio management.
    • Develop a playbook of applicable topics from the programme for your specific situation – a guide for your company’s unique approach to data science business solutions.

    Who should attend

    This programme is designed for mid-career functional managers, consultants, and analysts.

    Although the topics covered could be applied to a range of businesses, the programme will be particularly useful in industries with a massive data stream, such as retail, healthcare, IT, marketing and finance. You are not required to have a background in programming. Roles that would be well suited to this programme include:

    • Owner
    • President
    • Project Manager
    • Sales Manager
    • Operations Manager
    • Risk Manager
    • Marketing Manager
    • Consultant
    • Principal Consultant
    • Management Consultant

    Industry Examples

    Throughout the programme, you will consider how notable brands and global organisations have applied sophisticated data science methods to create business solutions and to communicate their analyses effectively to their stakeholders.

    World Health Organization

    Understand the power of data visualisation and predictive models with WHO’s health report and online data repository


    Discover how clustering influences what movie or series Netflix recommends for your next binge-watch.


    Data science is not just numbers; text analysis is essential for Twitter’s trending tweets.

    About Alliance Manchester Business School

    At Alliance Manchester Business School, “Original Thinking Applied” sits at the heart of everything we do. Ranked third in the UK in the 2020 Financial Times survey for customised executive education programmes, Alliance MBS is renowned for its world-class teaching and highly-regarded academics. Because we work for and with businesses every day, our original thinking is grounded in commercial reality, ensuring that our executive education programmes are credible, relevant and can be applied to real business issues. For Alliance MBS, executive education is more than just educating executives. It’s about partnerships, understanding, collaboration and impact.


    Upon successful completion of the program, participants will be awarded a verified digital diploma by Emeritus Institute of Management, in collaboration with MIT Sloan, Columbia Business School Executive Education & Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.