SBWL Data Science

SBWL „Data Science“

The ever growing economic significance in terms of efficient processing and analysis of Big Data for businesses, has led to a research area commonly labelled as “Data Science”, which is getting more and more attention in both academia and industry (cf. also the following articles published in the WU-Magazine [1] and in the Journal of the Austrian Computer Association (OCG) [2]).

In response to these global trends WU takes an interdisciplinary, cross-department approach by providing this new SBWL for Bachelor students.

Many departments of the WU are already focusing on Data Science in their research. Among these, the follwing are involved in the new SBWL:

  • Department of Information Systems & Operations (Institute for Data, Process and Knowledge Management – Prof. Polleres, Institute for Information Systems and New Media – Prof. Neumann, Institute for Production Management – Prof. Mild)

  • Department of Finance, Accounting and Statistics (Institute for Statistics and Mathematics - Prof. Frühwirth-Schnatter, Prof. Hornik, Ass. Prof. Hochreiter)

  • Department for Marketing (Institute for Interactive Marketing & Social Media – Prof. Abou Nabout, Institute for Service Marketing and Tourism – Prof. Reutterer)

  • Department of Business, Employment, and Social Security Law (Institute for Information Law and Intellectual Property Law– Prof. Winner, Ass. Prof. Clemens Appl)

Mobility and creditability (German: "Anrechenbarkeit")

We are committed to encourage student mobility and designing our SBWL in a manner combinable with stays abroad. Yet, due to the nature of out SBWL, we need to ensure that all our students learn the basics to successfully complete the final lab course. As such, we apply the following principles upon requests for creditability of courses taken abroad in our SBWL:

  1. We recommend to do the first semester courses of our SBWL (course 1-3) at WU; however, we are willing to accept creditability requests in cases where the respective courses taken abroad overlap contentwise to a large extent with our courses 1-3, in order to guarantee that all students learn the necessary data science base skills. We will decide on a case-by-case basis, so ideally you ensure to ask us before you decide to subscribe for potential replacement courses abroad!

  2. We handle creditability for course 4 relatively flexible as long as you can argue that it covers/touches upon applications of Data Science.

  3. We consider the final lab course (course 5) the heart of our SBWL, where you play through a full Data Science project from a practical use case context in a team. As such, we typically do not offer creditability for this last course; however, in exceptional cases, and if you can arrange with your team to work/support from abroad, we can accept remote participation in (parts of) this course due to a semester abroad.


Admission - Guiding Principles:

Our admission process and criteria are guided by the following principles: based on experiences from prior runs of the SBWL, we have found out that, on the one hand average grades are highly correlated with success in our SBWL, whereas there are also exceptions to this rule, in the sense that students who don't perform well in prior lectures do excellently in our entry exam. We value prior expertise in data-oriented aspects in your studies, which is why we offer special "Green Cards" for students performing extraordinarily well in selected respective courses.

Following these guiding principles, the admission process is as follows.

Admission - Process:

  1. With applying to the course "Access to Specialization: Data Science" you consent to us requesting from the vice rectorate of teaching your grades transcript (Sammelzeugnis). 

  2. The course "Access to Specialization: Data Science" consists of two Tutorial sessions (attendance voluntary) and an obligatory (for all, even for those who would qualify for a green card or with excellent average grades) entry exam, which will be held as an online-exam.

  3. Places in the SBWL (overall at maximum 60) will be assigned as follows:


  • 10 spots are reserved for the top overall average grades, where in case of ties we take the average grades of the GreenCard courses (see below) as ranking/tie breaker.

  • a maximum of 10 further spots are reserved to students qualified for a GreenCard; in case of more GreenCard qualified applicants, the overall average grade we take the average grade as ranking/tie breaker.

  • The remaining spots are filled by the results of the entry exam, where again the overall average grades will be used as a tie breaker in case of ties.

Admission - Expiration: 

If you do not register for courses 1+2 after being admitted by the registration deadline, we will offer the spot for this SBWL to the next persons on the waiting list and you have to re-apply in the following semester, if you are still interested in enrolling in this SBWL. 

Also, not passing the courses of the 1st semester may result in being unregistered from the SBWL under the following circumstances: 

If both course 1 and course 2 are negative or not graded in the first semester after you have been admitted, you will loose your spot in the SBWL and you will have to re-apply in the following semester, if you are still interested in enrolling in this SBWL.

If at least one of course 1 or course 2 is passed positively in your first semester after being admitted, you will remain in the SBWL.

This rule applies to all students applying for the next upcoming application deadline; we reserve the right to adapt this regulation in future iterations of the SBWL.

Admission - Preparation for the entry exam:

It is recommended to have passed positively the courses

  • Betriebliche Informationssysteme (BIS 1)  or  Business Analytics 1,   and

  • Statistics or Quantitative Methods I+2

from the Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) of the Bachelor Programmes of "Business Economics and Social Sciences (BaWiSo)" or the English Bachelor Programme in Business Economics (BBE)"

Particular, for BaWiSo students, parts (mostly, chapters 4, 9, 10, 11) of the Book “Wirtschaftsinformatik”, 12th edition by Hans Robert Hansen / Jan Mendling / Gustaf Neumann as well as from the course material of "Statistics" (all chapters) are relevant and can be used for preparation; alternatively, for BBE students, the materials from the respective above-mentioned courses are relevant. The contents will be repeated in the tutorial sessions prior to the entry exam.

Additionally, we recommend skills such as analytical thinking requires from a Data Scientist, which we will train with for instance typical "interview questions" from Data Science companies. Some examples will be presented in the tutorials.

Structure & courses

Students will get an interdisciplinary overview of the fundamentals of data science as well as hands-on approach of newly developed data processing and analysis techniques through working on different projects. To ensure a broad knowledge of the different perspectives of data science, this SBWL will focus on fundamentals of process-specific (1LV), statistical-analytical (1LV), and legal (1LV) essentials. Furthermore, the SBWL focuses on end-to-end solutions of data-specific issues in business administration domains like Marketing and Supply Chain Management (1LV), and with a final group-project (so called Data Science Lab) (1LV).

Since the topic and the ever growing exchange of knowledge are received in a global context, the default language of the SBWL will be English.

SBWL 1: Data Processing 1 (PI2.0)

  • Data Formats and standards

  • Database systems and data storage

  • Data cleansing: methods for data preprocessing and improving the data quality

  • Tools and algorithms for data transformation

Learning objective: Gaining fundamental knowledge for dealing with different data formats and in using methods and tools to integrate data from various sources.

SBWL 2: Data Analytics (PI2.0)

  • Revision of mathematical & statistical fundamentals

  • Algorithms for data analysis and data mining

  • Data analysis tools (R)

  • Visualizing of data analysis results

Learning objective: Being able to work with and understand the algorithms of data analysis processes and their fundamentals, as well as working with tools to analyze and visualize the data.

SBWL 3: Data Processing 2: Scalable data processing, legal & ethical foundations of data science (PI 2.0)

  • Scalable Data Processing Frameworks and Paradigms (e.g. Hadoop, Map Reduce, and other Scalable Data Processing Models)

  • Public Data vs. Open Data

  • Handling of different licenses

  • Legal Framework (Data Privacy Act, Freedom of Information Act)

  • Ethics

Learning objective: Scalable handling of big data, understanding legal fundamentals and ethical frameworks in dealing with data in an international context.

SBWL 4: Applications of Data Science (PI 2.0)

Examples of application and specific algorithms from concrete use-case domains,i.e.

  • Data Science in Marketing (Data-driven Advertising, Digital Marketing and Social Media), including specific methods to analyze data such as social network analysis but also learning new technologies in the field of Marketing like real-time bidding, Store Trek – 3D Shopping, second screen, wearable devices and smart metering)

  • Data Science in Supply Chain Management (demand planning & forecasting, demand-modelling, inventory management, revenue management)

  •  Data Science in Process Management (fundamentals of process analysis, event-driven data of automatic process discovery, process conformance analysis)

Learning objective: Knowing the fields of application, specific algorithms and methods of data analysis as well as the scalable processing in specific areas of business administration with connection to other courses.

SBWL 5: Data Science LAB (FS 2.0)


Prior to course 5, we recommend to have successfully passed all the courses 1-3 of the first semester. A positive grade from at least courses 1 and 2 is required for registration.

The final course of the SBWL is focusing on group projects. The different projects will be presented in a joint workshop with data coaches (members of the involved institutes and industry partners). The student groups have the chance to work on practical problems front-to-end while interact actively with the data coaches on their topic. The goal of this final course is to solve a practical use case in a joint group of 3-4 students, with a focus on applying what you learnt in the courses 1-3 by conducting a real Data Science project as a team (project planning, interaction with a "customer", teamwork and team coordination). The data coaches will offer real life data sets (derived from operational applications or an open data area) or also tools. The coordination of the projects will take place within 2 parallel courses by the respective course coordinators, who supervise 7-8 groups with 3-4 students. In joint kickoff and final presentation sessions the projects are first introduced and teams are formed, whereupon - in the end of the semester the results of all projects are being presented and discussed in the plenary.

To successfully succeed students will have to:

  • Attend the Kickoff-Workshop: Presentation and distribution of the topics through the data coaches, distribution in groups

  • Submitting a problem definition of the proposed use case and add the description of the personal role during the project (pass/fail)

  • Pre-presentation of the group (graded 1-5)

  • Final report of the group including individual description of the individual performance (graded 1-5)


Students who completed all of the following courses and achieved an average grade of 1,5 or lower across the three courses:

  • BaWISO/WiRe (average grade 1,5 among these 3 courses):

    • Algorithmic Thinking and Programming (Algorithmisches Denken und Programmierung)

    • Data and Knowledge Engineering

    • Statistics (Statistik)

  • BBE (average grade 1,5 among these 3 courses):

    • Quantitative Methods 1

    • Quantitative Methods 2

    • Business Analytics 2

are automatically qualified for the SBWL, but should nevertheless complete the entry exam, since it will serve as the first partial assessment for the SBWL course "Data Processing 1".

ATTENTION: Students who want to make use of this "Greencard-Option" should send a confirmation (Sammelzeugnis) of the nessesary grades in advance to with the subjectline "Greencard SBWL Data Science".

These requirements apply to admissons from SS 2020 onwards.


Further Information and Links

[1] p. 3ff.

[2] p.13ff.

We thank our Date Science Lab partners from past semesters

  • Andritz AG

  • Capgemini Consulting Österreich AG

  • Erste Group Bank AG

  • IBM Client Innovation Center Austria

  • IBM Österreich

  • KDZ - Zentrum für Verwaltungsforschung

  • LKW Walter Internationale Transportorganisation AG

  • Oesterreichische Nationalbank

  • Ondewo GmbH

  • Phoron Consulting GmbH

  • Project Phoenix Investments GesbR.

  • PS Quant OG

  • PwC PricewaterhouseCoopers Wirtschaftsprüfung und Steuerberatung GmbH

  • ZAMG Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik