This is part of Das Tor’s ongoing series, “Club Spotlight,” in which the leadership of different Thunderbird clubs describe their mission, goals, and why students should consider joining their group.
Three years ago, I visited London for the first time. I absolutely fell in love with the city and with the entire Tube system, the underground trains that crisscross London’s urban areas with pink, blue, green, and brown lines all making stops at places that sounded like they couldn’t be anything but properly English. I bought myself a tea mug to remember it all, emblazoned with the now-famous Tube tagline: Mind the Gap, a helpful reminder to recognize the slight distance remaining between the platforms and trains when getting on and off.
During the last couple of years, Thunderbird students recognized that there was a gap to mind in learning more about and preparing to work in the 4th Industrial Revolution. Our classes and professors are world-renowned and know about the world. They’ve had hands-on experience with the tools and technologies that the 4th IR is all about – ways to visualize data, gather and interpret insights, and ultimately impact changes at organizational and functional levels across industries. Luckily, we’re introduced organically to some of these tools by just being enrolled in classes like (drumroll) Data and Analytics, Global Finance, and others. But being on the upper edge means that it’s not enough anymore to simply rely on organic introductions to the tools that can help us the most; the rest of the world is doing that, too. If we want to truly take advantage of the tools and tech available with the 4th IR, we have to know what they are and get our hands dirty, which is usually more than what our current classes can realistically provide. So the gap? It’s in expanding on those introductory-only phases, digging in, and coming out of the end of our Thunderbird experience more fully-equipped to use the tools available to drive results in whatever our chosen fields may be.
And with that, the Thunderbird Data and Analytics Club (TDNA) was born! A group of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, communally working together to share knowledge and resources to help us master the tools and technologies that matter most right now. It’s meant to be the club that helps close the gap between managerial and technical skills during your T-bird experience. As a recent club, we’ve only had one president (Les Mounteer), who frequently repeated the mantra that “a rising tide lifts all boats,” and I’m excited to take on as the new TDNA President what Les and the team have already built during the last 18 months.
We’ve had faculty and student-led training sessions on Excel, Tableau, Salesforce, and SPSS, along with deeper discussions about statistics and how to clean data during the last semester– all while being a remote club and community. These resources are available to any and all Tbirds, alumni included, who want to increase their relevant technical competencies. While there are lots of tools being used across different industries and functions, they’re still the same tools. Finding and sharing successes and resources together can help all of us.
Quoting our new VP of Training, Gautami Priyanka Batte Venkata (Priya), “Math comes with practice; so does data analytics.” I couldn’t agree more – and it’s good to know that, really, that’s all we need with some of these tools – further practice and exposure. This semester, we have a line up of training sessions on additional tools and resources that we haven’t previously covered, including Qualtrics, Python, and PowerBI. We’re continuing to stockpile resources, creating a community and a network of individuals to reach out to for help, support, and real-life examples of how these tools are being used across industries and positions.
At the end of the day, my goal is that TDNA isn’t just simply another WhatsApp group, but rather a living and breathing resource and network. By the time you put on that graduation robe (in person or virtually) and walk into your first day on the new job (whether for your own or another company), I hope TDNA will have served to increase your technical know-how and prime you to take on those challenges.
Our first training will be coming up within the next month. Until then, why wait? Access previous training session recordings and resources on our T-bird connect page (https://t-birdconnect.com/topics/1332), and let’s fill that gap together.