An intensive week on Quantitative Analysis took place 20-24 April 2015 in Izmir, Turkey. In Finland it was rainy and cold, but in Izmir was +20C, the smell of the sea and shining sun. Our hosts at Dokuz Eylül University met us with all the warmth of Eastern hospitality. They were probably surprised at first – the majority of our students were from the evening studies, so we looked unusual against the background of 20 years old students of Izmir Business School. But it did not prevent anyhow the group work. Every day we made assignments in international teams. Their business school is of the same mix of nationalities as our – there were Turks, Ukrainians, Albanians and Greeks. The huge campus (65,000 students!) is situated on the hill with great view over the city.
For me the Izmir trip was amazing because of three reasons:
1) I like statistics, and the modern possibilities of using the data as a powerful and diverse resource for business optimization fascinate me. During the week together with Turkish students, we learned and practiced creating effective questionnaires, analysed typical mistakes, and ran the basic methods of quantitative analysis. SPSS program was already familiar to us, but the theory of probability and statistical methods are not easy – so the more exercise the better. “Harjoitus tekee mestarin”.
2) I have not been to Turkey before, and my perception of the country was limited by stereotypes – tourists, heat, annoying traders, something like that. I changed my impression. Izmir is not a resort city, there are not even any beaches. But what they have is ancient history, a magnificent position between the mountains and the sea, calm and friendly people. Maybe just the Bazaar (the traditional market) was such as it should be – with sweet delights, nuts, carpets, endless rows of stuff and very active direct marketing.
Izmir (3 million people) is a huge fast growing city. Mountains are overgrown with small,
closely built houses – each time on the way to University I wondered how our driver could find his way in these intricate streets. There are ancient ruins and modern skyscrapers, mosques, museums and parks, and the indispensable image of Ataturk. After the Baltic, the sea seems very clear: local citizens catch calamari with a fishing rod right from embankment in the center. And here in Izmir lives about one cat for every square meter.
3) This was the first time I spent a week in a company of Finns. In other words, I received an intensive course of Finnish spoken language in addition to Quantitative Analysis. And I changed my opinion about Finns too. They are not those Finns who look for a place in the bus at maximum distance from other passengers. Maybe Finns who like quantitative analysis are special? Finns from our team were emotional, fun-loving and talkative!
What we did not manage to do:
– Visit museums. We were lucky (in terms of sightseeing) – on April 23, there was a holiday in Turkey, a Day of Children, and we could enjoy both the holiday events and the city. But most of other interesting places of Izmir remained for the next visit.
– Learn more statistical models (in terms of study). Data processing and visualization are interesting and promising skills, would be nice to continue learning of SPSS, as well as R, Qlickview, Big Data tools – this field is infinite. For example, to hold another intensive week after Christmas week in Metropolia. Because during the dark winter days in Helsinki nothing distracts from the absorption of new knowledge.
Thank you Pertti Vilpas for the interesting course, and my teammates – Päivi, Marko, Meri, Tuija for the wonderful company.
Text and Photos by Anna Adel, IBL14