Mastering Technology in the Digital Age

NUS-ISS’ Masters of Technology in Enterprise Business Analytics offers a world of possibilities for new practitioners in information technology.

The limitless opportunities provided by technology, coupled with Singapore’s push towards becoming a Smart Nation, means that the future of business lies in the field of IT. With the sheer amount of information available from data generated through technology, proficiency in IT skills and knowledge has never been more vital for meaningful growth. 

The NUS-ISS Master of Technology in Enterprise Business Analytics (MTech EBAC) programme allows new or entry-level IT practitioners to specialise or hone their expertise in business analytics. Unlike other IT graduate programmes, it caters to professionals who do not necessarily have an IT background. 

Dr. Andrew Fang, a resident physician with SingHealth Polyclinics, recently graduated from the MTech EBAC programme. As a medical doctor, Dr. Fang attends to patients with acute medical ailments, provides health promotion education and administers preventive services such as health screenings and immunisations. Dr. Fang sees the increased importance of data analytics in the healthcare sector. 

“In my previous role as a military officer working on healthcare administration and policy-making, I have seen the value of leveraging data in making good decisions,” Dr. Fang says about his decision to enrol for the programme, “In addition, there has also been a recent push in using analytics in clinical decision support, which I am personally interested in.”  

Dr. Fang describes his time at NUS-ISS as “eye-opening”. He had the opportunity to learn from professionals of different industries; and had particularly enjoyed the insights on analytics in hospitality from an Emirati professor, and the discussions with a seasoned logistics practitioner who lectured on that topic. 

“I realised that there were lessons from these industries that can be ported over to healthcare, such as queue management and improving the patient (customer) experience,” he adds.

Dr. Fang also had the chance to study real-life case studies, and work with a myriad of course mates from different industries. The varied professional backgrounds of his cohort allowed him to acquire fresh perspectives on how data analytics can be employed in different ways for different results. 

“I think the insights that came about from these interactions have been one of the biggest takeaways from this course,” he says. “Curriculum-wise, I especially enjoyed the Healthcare Analytics elective and the ‘Optimisation and Decision Making’ module – it’s intriguing how we could use software to simulate scenarios such as patient flow through a busy hospital.”

Besides, as Dr. Fang discovers, the concept of knowing the science behind making good decisions can be very practical to daily use. “It’s possible to apply the concepts in simple cases like grocery selection to bigger ones like selecting a home!” 
Dr. Fang, along with his NUS-ISS supervisor Dr. Barry Shepherd, had also worked in collaboration with SingHealth Polyclinics on his Final Year Project. The effort ties in with the organization’s push to provide value-based care – whereby resources are allocated based on care needs. They managed to design and develop a system that can automatically stratify the patient population into various categories based on the level of care requirements. This system has been implemented in one of the polyclinics under SingHealth, and Dr. Fang is looking to expand its use within the organisation. 

The system had been borne out of various challenges. For example, Dr. Fang had to learn to code, package the application into a user-friendly interface, as well as master R – a programming language for statistical computing – all from scratch. Despite these demands, Dr. Fang received valuable guidance from his supervisor that helped the success of the project.

“Dr. Shepherd had very incisive insights and advice on how to keep improving the algorithm. He identified the problems very quickly, and was constantly able to provide a valuable user’s point of view”, Dr. Fang says.

Notwithstanding the challenges, Dr. Fang’s feels that the MTech EBAC course has been personally enriching. “I’m excited to have picked up coding skills, and am able to apply the new skills to my daily work. The learning experience has also cemented my conviction: that if you don’t give up, nothing is impossible!”

“The NUS-ISS MTech course is a solid, all-rounded programme, and definitely one worth considering,” he adds. 

The NUS-ISS Master of Technology in Enterprise Business Analytics programme is designed to satisfy the demands of the industry for practical Business Analytics skills and knowledge by developing new practitioners or upgrading entry level practitioners who have a suitable professional background, but who lack the necessary academic fundamentals to move into a specialist or expert position.

Application for the January 2017 intake is now open till 31 August (for overseas applicants) and 15 September (for local applicants). For more information, click here