SAS Big Data Skills Festival Returns to Brunel University London

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Students looking for a career in big data can meet the UK’s top employers and take advantage of CV writing and interviewing skills workshops at the SAS Big Data Skills Festival 2014 to be held at Brunel University London, on Thursday 30th October.

The SAS Big Data Skills Festival is hosted in conjunction with SAS UK and Ireland and Brunel’s unique Business Life programme that supports Brunel’s students. The event is open to all those looking to start or develop a career in business analytics and data management – one of the world’s most rapidly expanding industries. Students and graduates will meet up to 30 top international businesses who are looking to recruit particularly those with experience of SAS software and training.

Dr Maged Ali, Brunel Business School Lecturer and SAS Student Academy Coordinator said “Mastering Big Data is one of the most important employability skills that employers, in private and public sectors, are looking for in universities’ graduates. In collaboration with SAS, Brunel University London provides students and staff with a platform to gain Big Data skills. SAS Big Data Festival 2014 is a great opportunity to bring the industrial partners, businesses, researchers and students together, to exchange ideas, networking and work together, to fulfil the demand for big data analysts in the UK and worldwide.”

About the Event:

Brunel Business School is very proud to be hosting this key SAS event for the second year running in conjunction with SAS – the leader in business analytics.

The SAS Big Data Skills Festival which will take place on Thursday 30th October from 9.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. in the Hamilton Centre, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH.

To Register

Students and graduates should email or register via the Facebook event. Current students in the College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences students can register via the Business Life portal.

List of Exhibitors Include:

Accenture, Amadeus Software, Aviva, Barclays Bank, Base 3 Systems Ltd, Capital One, CSP, Department for Work and Pensions, Nationwide Building Society, Office for National Statistics and HM Revenue & Customs, PwC, RWE, nPower, HSBC, Sopra Group, and The Home Office.

The undue influence of US business schools

profileZahirIraniProfessor Zahir Irani writes in The Conversation, 15th October, about the US business schools who dominate the Princeton Review rankings. Can business schools in the UK and other regions ever catch up and why should they continue to try?

Professor Irani acknowledges the quality US giants extend on best business practice, but suggests mimicking the US model to build recognition within the US has implications and may be changing the role of business schools. It also places pressure on the business academic to publish in top US journals.

“A gold standard is one thing, but we have reached a point where we have a monoculture in leadership and management to the exclusion of others.

Professor Zahir Irani is Dean of the College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences at Brunel University London. @zahirirani1

BBS Alumnus Hongyan (Annabella) Zhao shares her MBA story

In 2011, I decided to join the Brunel MBA full-time course. I joined the programme having already achieved my Master’s degree in textile material in China and having more than 9 years’ work experience.Annabella

The decision to embark upon a one year programme overseas was a difficult one. Although it was always my dream to study abroad and to learn Management theories to improve myself I was fully aware of the negative effect it would have on the company I was working for. As the Vice General Manager I knew that my leaving would not only affect the business but also have a financial impact on me. However, I followed my heart and decided to leave to head to London to join the Brunel MBA.

The one-year experience was fantastic for me. It was so enjoyable and made me very happy. Classmates came from everywhere in the world which added to the experience. The Brunel MBA modules were very intensive with many management related theories being taught. The classes were challenging with the different management experience some of my classmates had making the learning process demanding but rewarding.

Late 2012, I came back to China. My original company had kept my position open and invited me to go back. However I found the company was not the same, particularly as the owner had moved onto another business. I decided it wasn’t for me anymore.

So since July of 2013, I started my own company – AZ International (shanghai) Co., Ltd. The company is established to do some international business. My main business is to work as an agent for Italian textile finishing machinery suppliers, do sales and after-sales for them in China market. This is mainly because with my past working experiences, I have quite a network in the Italian textile field and the Chinese factories buyers. I selected 2 main suppliers and worked together with them.

To be an entrepreneur is very exciting but tough. Machinery business is difficult as the decisions from clients always take a very long time and the service requests are demanding. The business needs lots of care and it’s difficult to have repetitive orders from one single client. I started to build up my own small team and did many things on my own. Luckily with my past working experience alongside my MBA studies, it was not too difficult for me. However, systems needed to put in place and executed. There were times when it all felt a little too much but now after one year we have a very good small team. And thanks to all my team members and our hard work, it’s all paid off. We have generated over 1 million Euro sales for the first 12 months. We are still a very small company and there are many things to be built up but the future is looking good.

Meanwhile, I am also looking for one more good business opportunity to expand a different business line. Who knows if without my MBA I would have embarked on such a journey!

The student experience should grow out of a culture of feedback and exchange

Our own Dr Klaus writes this week’s Soapbox for the Financial Times

“Students and teachers should have an opportunity to exchange views on performance and other matters in frequent sessions during the semester in a non-threatening, non-confrontational environment. This would allow both sides to analyse each other’s perceptions and discuss possible solutions to try to make the learning environment a mutually rewarding experience.


Not only should the students’ experiences be assessed during their time at university, but also, more importantly, years later, once they have left university. It is only when students apply their knowledge that they can judge how beneficial their experience was in relation to their career and life goals.”

Dr Philipp “Phil” Klaus is a marketing lecturer at Brunel Business School and the author of Measuring Customer Experience – How to Develop and Execute the Most Profitable Customer Experience Strategies.