Publications of Rienties, B.

Can statistics be fun? The benefits of incorporating research elements into MBA courses

Abstract: Quantitative methods and statistics are key components in higher education. Despite various attempts and carefully designed textbooks, statistics courses are often considered to be number-crunching subjects with limited applicability to real life. Particularly at the MBA level, a form of segregation is quite apparent; namely, students have difficulties applying their statistical knowledge in everyday business scenarios. We present a particular educational methodology that has proven to be successful in immersing participants in the process of data collection and analysis, via giving them first-hand experience at an organization. A further important element of our approach lays in the collaboration with external organizations, which in turn enhances networking and supports the exposure of students to management level problems, highlighting the practical relevance of statistics courses. Finally, the recommended methodology is flexible enough in that it can build on the particular research interests of faculty members, thereby reducing the trade-offs between teaching and research.