In a recent issue of this newsletter, we had highlighted the arrival of the Wharton Research Data Services Database (WRDS) as an asset for both faculty and student development in the area of research. Where the business environment is now dominated by the development and analysis of data, securing a data-rich resource to empower new insights and intellectual contributions is imperative.
We follow up with some earlier encounters and experiences that faculty in the Paul and Virginia College of Business as they engage with this resources.
WRDS in Research
Dr. Ashley Morgan, Assistant Professor of Marketing & Macy Professor of Business, has found early opportunity in the use of WRDS in her research.
Dr. Morgan continues:
The WRDS database includes several different individual databases that can be used in a variety of ways as it relates to research. For instance, instead of having to rely on a company’s 10-k or other sources, those who conduct research that requires the collection of financial and accounting information can gather this information more easily using Compustat. Specifically, Compustat allows for a researcher to pull information related to a company’s financial statements including a company’s advertising expenditures, net income, and the number of common shares outstanding. Additionally, the financial and accounting information can be used to calculate other variables and metrics of interest. For example, advertising intensity and marketing capabilities are common variables used in marketing strategy research that can be calculated using information gathered from Compustat. In the end, there is a lot that WRDS has to offer from a research standpoint and the various databases are worth exploring.
WRDS in the Classroom
A data-rich resource likes WRDS can impact faculty research in many ways, but among the more compelling benefits of WRDS is opportunities to enhance the learning experience for students. Dr. Anne-Christine Barthel, Assistant Professor of Economics & Decision Management, has identified a number of opportunities in economics instruction and has exciting plans for the use of WRDS in the coming semesters.
Dr. Barthel continues:
WRDS is a useful resource in the classroom for a variety of economics, finance and data analysis courses. Having access to extensive amounts of real-world business and economic data provides students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in different aspects of data analysis. The students will learn how to search for suitable data in a database, how to clean and prepare their data for analysis and lastly, how the data can help guide business decisions. For example, students in my quantitative analysis courses will be able to download company data and perform regression analysis to identify factors that influence firm performance or forecast financial data.
WRDS also provides instructor resources on how to teach popular topics such as the Capital Asset Pricing Model or portfolio diversification with the help of data available in their database. These „classroom tools“ include teaching notes, Powerpoint slides and often an interactive online platform to easily visualize the data.
The digital readiness of both faculty and students relies on their fluency in interacting with the business environment as it is, and as it is destined to be. In both cases, the ability to gain insight, develop alternatives, and engage in effective decision-making predicates on acuity in the digital realm. WRDS constitutes one step among many in supporting the ability for students and faculty to lead in the contemporary business environment. Competency in harnessing data resources such as WRDS will continue to be both a vital and prized component of business acumen moving forward.