Rethinking a core curriculum in statistics for business students. Results of an international study involving academics and professionals
Since several years by now, despite the fact that data generation and data analysis are at the forefront of companies’ decisions, we observe the apparent growing lack of interest of the majority of the students in French (and not only French, see Gougeon, 2016) business schools in statistics curriculum, and in other academic disciplines where the content relates to quantitative techniques.
Several schools launch special programs on “big data” and “business analytics” (Henry & Santosh, 2015), though these initiatives reminds a small beautiful tree of excellence which prevents to see the big forest for the trees on the fallow land. Yet, it is incontestable that implementation of the tools and quantitative techniques should be grounded in expertise drawn on from solid learning foundation, it would be highly desirable that managers and decision- makers would be able to integrate information available in advanced analytics and also to develop critical thinking skills in their use of the results provided by specialists (Burch & al, 2014; Feldman & Worline, 2016).
So far, core courses in statistics for futures managers present a key challenge, and management education must propose a new curriculum which while taking into account students’ expectations and profiles would contribute to the achievement of the crucial learning goals.
Rethinking a core curriculum we have carried out an international survey using with a purposive controlled sample composed of academics and management professionals. The objective of our research was to better understand how decision makers implement statistics, as well as business analytics in their professional practices. Drawn from the study results we possess systematic information on the nature of analytical tools and methods used in the companies for managerial purposes. Furthermore, confronting the responses of academics with professionals we attest a diversity of perceptions which must be obviously taken into consideration.
Our presentation contains the two parts: we explain the results of the performed study and propose then new core curriculum for teaching basic courses on statistics built on experts’ opinions. We hope that the resulting course design will reveal the advantages of each specific technique and therefore contribute to the attainment of the inspiring learning objectives.