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Hands-on experience is an essential part of learning

By July 2, 2020 No Comments

Miltos, Kelvin, Ashwin, Tom, and Chee (a group of our Master of Professional Business Analysis students) worked on a website optimization project with NZX (New Zealand’s Exchange) earlier this year as the final part of their programme. This included working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

NZX is a stock exchange that supports the growth and development of New Zealand markets. Fan Sun, Business Analyst at NZX, shared that they brought our students in to help with their website transforming project. Their project team had already “conducted [an] internal stakeholder investigation and facilitated several workshops with consulting companies” but then our students came in to help “analyse the website users with Google Analytics and interview retail customers” as well as identify customer personas and journey maps to help with customer retention.

“They’ve [the students] brought us some interesting findings from looking at a different angle of the problem,” Fan said.

Chee Qi, one of the students, really enjoyed working on this project as it allowed them to experience what’s like in a real professional environment. It also allowed them to practice the knowledge they learned in class, Chee said “I have utilized information gathering and communication techniques learnt from the Business Analysis course and the Project Management course. Data analytics and researching skills have been most practiced during the project.”

“This project offers a great opportunity for us to connect our knowledge dots from each subject to finally draw our very own manifests to real life projects.”

The student team had only just begun working on this project when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world and New Zealand went into an alert level four lockdown. NZX, an essential business, remained open but their staff (including the students) worked remotely from home.

Tom Nguyen said that not much changed other than it “prevented us from having face-to-face group discussions and meetups with NZX stakeholders as well as interviewees since all activities were moved online via Google Hangout and Zoom” and Kelvin Choi appreciated how flexible they were able to be with no fixed time schedule.

Chee said that “We as a team have had to adopt more collaborative tools and methods to resolve the obstacle [social distancing] in team collaboration and improve overall efficiency. As for communication, we have no better strategy other than communicating more, listening more and empathising more. As for time management, clients require weekly reporting which indeed help us to better motivate ourselves and discipline our progress.”

Our Master of Professional Business Analysis is a conversion programme which means our students have diverse career backgrounds and have come from all over the world. Miltos Song, who had previously worked for a Chinese tech company, found it particularly useful to engage with people (including customers and teammates) in the New Zealand environment because it is a “small but dynamic market [so] good engagement could help build a personal network and reputation.” This helped him get his footing in a new country and put the new skills he’d learned in class into practice.

Ashwin Shekar was grateful for the opportunity to work with NZX and said that “Hands-on experience is always an essential part of any learning journey. It is great that Victoria University [of Wellington] and NZX have put together a project that can help us gain experience in most of the elements that have been taught to us as part of the course.”

Fan is happy with our students’ work and was “confident that with the skills being taught from lectures and the students’ passion for practicing what they’ve learnt from school in real-life projects, they can surely bring fresh ideas to the project.” Fan, herself, graduated from one of our programmes a few years ago and joined NZX in March 2019 so understands what it’s like in the students’ positions and why hands-on experience is so important.

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