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Syllabus for Online Course

Course Description

How can mobile companies use their customer data to predict customer churn or to personalize SMS messages for improving customer service? How can financial institutions use past loan data to predict the chance of defaulting for new loan applicants? How can Bollywood use data on movies to predict the next box-office hit? How can charities use data from a campaign in one location to target the right donors in another location? And how can politicians use data on supporters to segment and best target each audience?

Most organizations are data rich but information poor. Emerging technologies such as sensors, blogs, social networks, and website usage tracking have created large amounts of data with the potential to reveal insights about customer, supplier and competitor preferences and behaviours. 

In the course we work with real business problems and real data. We will learn the types of questions that data mining can answer and the appropriate data mining tools for answering different questions. The emphasis is on understanding the concepts behind a wide set of data mining techniques and their relation to specific business analytics situations, rather than on mastering the theoretical underpinnings of the techniques.

Course Objective

Upon successful completion of the course, you should possess valuable practical analytical skills that will equip you with a competitive edge in almost any contemporary workplace. In particular, the knowledge acquired in this course will benefit those who plan careers in analytics, targeted marketing, predictive modeling and strategic consulting. More formally, the course will provide participants with the following skills and knowledge:
  • Be aware of the business analytics’ potential in today’s data rich environment 
  • Gain a practical understanding of the key data mining methods of classification, prediction, data reduction and exploration 
  • Know how to decide when to use which technique
  • Understand how to implement major techniques using software
  • Become a smart and critical consumer of data mining techniques
  • Gain the intellectual capital required to provide business analytics services

Course Materials

The course website contains videos, reading and assignment instructions, and discussion items. These materials are released weekly. Aside from the materials available through the course website, participants will require a copy of the textbook and software. 


Participants will engage in a business analytics project either individually, or by teaming up with other online participants (at ISB, students work in teams). The course includes two contests: an ideation contest and a data mining contest. More information about the guidelines and objectives will be available later in the course. 


The course includes four short assignments, based on the textbook. Online participants are encouraged to work on these problems and discuss them on the forum (without disclosing final answers). Unfortunately, we cannot provide solutions to online participants.


The course discussion forum is the main communication avenue. The primary way to interact with me and the teaching assistant in this course is through the forum. You can join the discussion on an existing thread or start a new threads for a new topic.


This is a 5-week course. New materials will be released twice a week on the course website.