BMGT 311 Assignment #4: Data Visualization (Due October 23)

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Data is all around us.  It’s everywhere.  A key success metric is if you can make sense of the data, and summarize it in a way that makes sense to you, as well as your audience.  Data is a very powerful tool – but it is only powerful if you know how to use it.

One piece of data students may be close to is the rising amount of student loan debt in the United States.  Since you are college students, this is probably a subject that is closer to you than others.  The United States government (when it was working, of course), has released a trove of data about the student loan situation in the US.  However, that data is not easy to absorb at times.

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For assignment #4 – I am going to present you with 3 data sets that were released by the United States Department of Education.  Your assignment is to pick one of the data sets, and prepare a presentation that includes:

1. A visual representation of the data using Excel, Infographic, Tableau, or other data visualization software program

2. A summary of your findings at a very high level

3. A recommendation from the data visualization and summary of findings

Please save your assignments to Slideshare and link to them by October 23 for full credit on this assignment.  Slideshare does not accept Excel documents, so save your visualizations as a PowerPoint and upload to slideshare and include a link in the comments section below.

Here are the scenarios:

1. You are a high school senior that wants to go to college in the Pittsburgh area.  You are going to make your decision based on a simple indicator: Student Loan Default Rates.  First, you want to pick a school type that has the lowest loan default rate.  Would you pick Private, Public, or For Profit Colleges?  What college would be your best choice?  Why?  What college would be your worst choice?  Why.

Note: for scenario #1 use the file: school_loan_default_visualization copy I sent via email

2. You are a Department of Education administrator being tasked with figuring out which states have the highest Student Loan Default Rates.  You would like to focus on the top 10 states with the highest loan defaults, and develop a recommendation as to why.  In addition to visualizing the states with the largest default rate issues, your supervisor would like to include a percentage of students in default per state compared with that states overall adult population (Note – the states adult population is not given – you will need to find it and add to the Excel spreadsheet given to you).

Note: for scenario #2 use the file: US_Loan_Default_Rate_State.xls and state info you can find via Census links

3. You are a Department of Education Administrator, and have been asked to give a presentation on the rise of student loan default rates by type of school (private, public, and for profit).   You would like to compare the 2-year cohort loan default rate from 2009, 2010, and 2011.  Your supervisor would like to see the results in visual format for total schools as a percentage, as well as a breakout by school type for all years (2009, 2010, and 2011).  Based on this data, which schools are the biggest issues?  What would your recommendations be to fix this issue based on the results that you have found?

Note: for scenario #3 use the file us_student_loan_default_2 and FY2008CDR

This assignment will take some work, and require working knowledge of excel.  If you need further direction, we can discuss in class over the next two weeks.

Below is an example of the types of visualization I am looking for.

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Chris Lovett


BMGT 311: Assignment 3 (WED)


We had a speaker tonight that gave a variety of career tips for college graduates just starting out.  Some of her advice included:

    1. Look, Listen and Learn
    2. Be Eminently Coachable
    3. Build Relationships
    4. Stay out of your Comfort Zone
    5. Leverage your Strengths / Build new strengths
    6. Be Efficient – Touch everything once!
    7. Produce Results
    8. Live your Value – Be True to who you are
    9. You are in charge of your career – only you can make it happen
    10. Have Fun!


She also gave more tips for students looking to begin a marketing career:

    1. Intern or work part-time to gain skills and work experience ASAP. 
    2. Start building a portfolio of work to share.
    3. Volunteer often at school or in the community to add to your portfolio, work experience and network.
    4. Network:Build a professional network in the marketing community and include friends and family.  Learn about their work and opportunities for entry-level positions.       Buy someone Breakfast – it’s the least expensive meal of the day!
    5. Read about the industry, trends and news and have a point of view.

Having someone at her level come and speak to our class is a big opportunity.  So now on to assignment #3:

Do a recap of the guest speaker:

1. Which one of her tips do you feel is the most important?  Why?

2. Find an article of other companies leveraging data to market their companies more effectively.  What are they doing?  How are they producing results?

Due before next week.

Chris Lovett