Duke MQM Student Blog
The MQM Experience: Transformation to a Data Professional
Diverse and Strong Peers
The Masters of Quantitative Management: Business Analytics program provides a diverse environment. Every day, in class or just in casual chats, I learn new things from people with different professional and cultural backgrounds. These are vivid, interesting, and credible experiences or opinions which you can’t easily get elsewhere. And the “Team Fuqua” collaborative spirit is an important part of every day here.
My learning team of four is comprised of students with their respective undergrad studies in The United States, China, Taiwan and South Korea, and with different specialties in computer science, public policy, marketing and consulting. Together we’ve had experiences including discussing a model until midnight at school, battling about the logic of a case for hours and then happily placing a family-sized food order afterward, and practicing with each other before a group presentation followed by giving constructive feedback. It’s these consistent engagements with peers and the trustful environment at Fuqua that enable us to learn from others’ contributions.
At the same time, every student here is just as self-driven, passionate, and smart as the next, and has the same goal of making impacts on big data in business. Since the program began, I’ve been having this strong feeling that this is totally where I belong.
Challenging and Rewarding Courses
The courses are fast-paced and require large amounts of pre-reading and practice with data-related tools like SQL, R, Python, and Tableau. It’s not easy to keep up with the pace, but the sense of achievement from the four months of study during the first two terms is amazing. Now I feel comfortable querying data from databases, building prediction models, finding causal relationships, and talking about their deployments. Besides the technical part, courses like Business Communication have sharpened our communication skills, including understanding the audience, building the structure of your message, and perfecting the delivery.
Data analytics projects in the business world require a well-rounded skill set—teamwork, statistics, programming, communication and problem-solving skills. The MQM program has polished all these skills during day-to-day study and activities, transforming me from a data outsider to a data professional.