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Drexel University uses Qlik to equip students with data analytics skills

With approximately 26,000 students, Drexel University is one of America's 15 largest private universities and ranks amongst the top 100 in the United States. Data analytics and visualisation has become a hot topic at the university's LeBow College of Business, gaining attention from both students and their potential employers.

Dr Bay Arinze, a professor of Management Information Systems at LeBow College of Business at Drexel, educates students on the importance of data analytics and discovery with a hands-on curriculum and courses. His goal is to prepare students to influence decision-making, strategy and operations with fact-based insights and an in-depth understanding of business performance analysis.

"Right now, we are working on significantly growing our data analytics programme," Dr Arinze said. "We are looking to deliver many types of certificates and degree programmes in the field, and students' interest in data visualisation is increasing. We are also putting pressure on teaching staff to teach more courses on the topic."

Qlik gets to the top of the class

Because the LeBow College of Business was in need of a visualisation solution to complement this evolving trend and support more impactful course curriculums, Dr Arinze applied to the Qlik Academic Programme. This programme provides free licences and training resources to accredited programmes, enabling students to experience user-driven BI solutions from Qlik in a college or university-supported curriculum.

Dr Arinze had previously used Qlik in his work with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and saw the power of the Qlik associative experience first-hand when it unlocked hidden data insights. He also noted the Qlik rankings in key analyst reports such as the Gartner Magic Quadrant.

Visualising the future of business

Within a month of obtaining the Qlik licences, Dr Arinze had developed multiple Qlik applications, as well as a comprehensive curriculum around the product. The course first introduces students to Business Intelligence and the power of the Qlik solution. Then the course actively engages students to gain actual insights from data by using applications and visualisations.

Each quarter, students are tasked with finding interesting data sets and creating dashboards to glean important insights about a company or industry. In one assignment, for example, the students were asked to visualise data on nutrition, physical activity and obesity for the US population.

"Building up a Qlik knowledge base enables our students to excel in data analytics in the real world. Qlik is a great mechanism to teach our students the value of data exploration so that they can make smart business decisions in the future," Arinze said.

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