At the beginning of this project, I was uncomfortable using python and excel to analyze because it has been quite a while since I took BADM 211. There were obstacles throughout the project. We spent most of our time understanding the data, cleaning it to come to a stage where it is usable. This project allowed me to revisit my skills in BADM 211. Moreover, I was able to go even more in-depth to learn about machine learning. Especially with the help of our mentor, Professor Guggenheim, I learned a new machine learning package called explainable boosting machine. It is a very powerful tool to analyze the data, and I look forward to utilizing that package in my future python projects.
It is essential to ensure data consistency in cleaning the data and modeling. For example, setting up a standard on how the team will name the data frames and columns is crucial because it would affect everything that comes after it. Without consistent naming, errors can quickly occur throughout the code. In addition, it is also important to assess what is the right way of analyzing the data. For example, a simple manual count may work with ten rows of data. However, we have to consider that a manual count is not practical when the client has 10 million rows in the future. Thus, using python codes is more suitable.
One thing I learned about team building is that it is crucial to have teammates on the same page. It makes work so much easier when people have the same understanding of the objective and a rough idea of what the project may look like at the end of the semester when we first start the project. Another thing to note is that as we are business students, it may take much time to research codes and customize them to apply to our projects. So, do not underestimate the time required to complete the analysis in python or any other programming language, and overpromise the deliverables at the initial stage.
Another thing I liked about this project is that we utilized project management tools to ensure that we were staying on track. It is a great way to assign tasks and remind teammates what needs to be accomplished next week and weeks down the road. The weekly meeting with our senior project manager, Amogh, was also beneficial. He often asked questions that led us to reflect on ourselves and ensure we were not missing anything about our project. Ensuring a clear communication channel with the client is also the key to success in this course. I learned that we need to have questions ready before meeting the client to ensure the best use of the client’s time. There may also be times when it is better to email the client shorter questions and smaller deliverables to make the communication more efficient.
Lastly, I would say it is the small things that made up this big project in the end. The outcome of the project is undoubtedly important. However, the process of team building, overcoming obstacles, and learning together as a team makes this course stand out. I am glad that I was able to take this course before graduating from U of I. This is one of those courses where you will learn practical skills and have many stories during interviews.