Tag Archives: university

Data analysis basic exercise (comparison and graphing)

How to find the insights from data


Business data analysis class started again at Yokohama National University.

The class is designed mainly for the 1st and 2nd year international students to give business data analysis (problem-solving) skills.


We focused on some basic techniques and thinking process to process raw data to get some insights from the data.

This was one of the exercises we used in the class:

Data exercise

The students were required to make their own “conclusion (not just findings nor analysis results) with Excel.

In this case, the output (goal) parameter is “frequency of visit”, while the input (explanatory) parameters are (i) Gender and (ii) Direct Mail (D/M) received or not.


In order to get a first insight from the data, you may compare the data on the each parameter (in this case, gender and D/M received). Let’s look at examples of the outputs:

Data exercise 2

Data exercise 3

In order to simplify the original data, averages are used in the upper matrix.

The following bar charts show the comparing results with the two parameters (gender and D/M).


Which parameter is more critical to the goal? Look at the significance of the difference!


(D/M received) has more gap between “YES” and “NO”, rather than one between the genders.

So you may focus on the D/M effects more than gender difference. (Let’s call it “Key parameter“)


Then you may dig into the D/M effects to find more detail (by splitting by gender).

Data exercise 4


This is an example of a conclusion drawn from the chart above:


 ” Direct Mail affects the frequency of the visits, while only female customers have such effect. Therefore, my proposal is to keep sending D/M to the potential female customers to get more visitors”


Again, here are the points to learn from the exercise:

  • How to find the key parameter to dig into further?

          => Find the parameter with “larger gap” which indicates more critical factor to the goal/issue.


  •   What to do once you find the key parameter?

          =>Split the data with another parameter to dig into the “Key parameter”




Business statistics class for undergraduate students

This is a apart of my university program “Practical application of Business statistics”.

We started the semester by asking the students to

“Make your conclusion(s) by comparing any kinds of two or more data sets”.


The students were allowed to use any data, index or techniques to make a conclusion as I did not teach any analytical techniques nor thinking process yet.


After one week, the students prepared quite interesting works as follows (this is only a part of the all results):


Each student presented their own work within 5 min.  and we discussed how convincing and interesting it was in the class. Also discussed how you could have improved it in order to make the conclusion clearer and more convincing (this is important part).


My objective of the assignment was to make a “story” based on the face(data) , rather simply comparing the data, as the goal of business data analysis is NOT making an analysis result but finding useful insights and making a conclusion to convince your business partners.


I gave each student my feedbacks in the following viewpoints:


(A) Did you do an appropriate comparison?  — eg. number of automobiles in the US and Japan cannot be directly compared as they have different population.


(B) Did you make a conclusion (story) rather than showing calculation results? — Your audience wants to hear not results but “conclusion!”


(C) Is your conclusion based on the facts derived from data? —  Didn’t you put lots of your own assumptions to make the conclusion? (This is called “Logic jump”)


These three points are fundamental to business data literacy. I am not going to talk about “academic” statistics in my class but very practical business data literacy which is required in the AI (Artificial Intelligence) era.


I would be happy to provide my workshop class at your university class as well!


#statistics  #university #AI #Business application

Business plan presentations by international students at Yokohama National University

On Feb. 14 in 2018, the international students at YCCS  (Yokohama Creative-City Studies) program presented their own business plans.


It is a requirement for all the YCCS international students at the end of the semester to show their skills and ability which they acquired in the classes to develop a feasible business plan.


I participated in the event as one of the judges to evaluate their proposals.  Each judge is required to place a bit to some of the proposals as an investor.

The major criteria are

(i) Creativity,

(ii) Uniqueness,

(iii) financial validity and

(iv) logic


Not only a creative idea but also “business reality” such as solid logic and financial validation is required

I was so happy to know that they properly applied the skills which I taught in my classes, especially financial validation, benchmarking, logic development and data utilization. etc.

I believe that this kind of program is quite unique not only in Japan but in general. But this is really worth learning for the students who will start their professional careers in the complex and competitive business environment.


I am so proud that they did great jobs. Congratulations!!


Business problem-solving exercise

It was a year-end class today at Yokohama National University in Japan.

In my class, “Business problem solving”, the international student groups tackled the following short exercise :


In the exercise, the groups switched the facilitator roles for each question so that they can learn how to facilitate small group discussion efficiently.

It was just a short case but they learned the problem-solving process and how to lead discussion to get a conclusion within the limited time.


We will keep this kind of exercises until the end of semester in Feb.

Assumption making for financial business planning at Yokohama National University

One of the final goals of the international students, studying at YCCS program of Yokohama National University is to make their own “feasible” business plan.


I have five classes in the program, where I teach:

  • Business problem solving
  • Financial business planning
  • Team facilitation
  • Logical thinking (for negotiation, communication etc.)
  • Business data analytics


One of the weakness of the students, who do not have any working experience, is the fact that they do not know how to know the “realistic” assumptions for making a business plan.


In this semester, I only focus on the techniques and knowledge about making reasonable assumptions.

This week, we will talk about “Goal-based” assumption.

This is one of the slides from the class:


I apply “active-learning” for all of my classes, where the students are actively participate in the discussion, assignments and group work.

We will discuss the topic and their own works assigned at the previous week.



Please let me know if you need further information for considering such practical business class at university.

Business problem solving class at Yokohama National University

Formulation of the problem really matters in order to solve it.

Logic tree is a key to the solution. You can formulate comprehensively the entire picture of the issues/problems.


Here is an example used in my class at Yokohama National University for the international students:

Exercise 1

The students learn how to develop a logic tree by re-allocating those cards. You need to sort and put the same level of information/cards in the same layer.


This is a good exercise in which you can learn how to aggregate or breakdown an issue into smaller pieces.


This is an example of the answer of the exercise:

Exercise 2

It is very rare to have such a class, even in Japan, where you can learn very practical skill sets for problem-solving used for real-business issues.


In my class, students from huge variety of nationalities tackle the exercise in such diverse learning environment.


I am happy to answer to any inquiries.

Final exam of “business data analysis” class at Yokohama National University

This is an assignment of another class “Business data analysis” at Yokohama National University.

Students are required to develop their own story, supported with the analyzed data.


This is the key skill-set when you apply those analytical techniques to the practical business issues/proposals.

We have already experienced several similar exercises at the class and I am so excited that they will enjoy it and present interesting insights.


Good luck!


Please send me an email if you / your organization would like to try those lessons/lectures.