Big data courses are coming to the MBA at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. The school has just announced the launch of a data and business analytics concentration in its full-time MBA.
Student and employer demand spurred the move. In an era in which analytics can make or break business, employers are increasingly seeking workers who understand and utilize business analytics.
According to an analysis this month by professional network LinkedIn, data science is the fastest growing job field in the US, and among the best paid ($113,000 median salaries for data scientists).
“Companies want individuals who can lead their organizations using data and thinking analytically,” said Heather Byrne, director of the Michigan Ross Career Development Office, which will work with the MBA team to ensure students have the right data science skills.
“Our goal is to prepare students to explore career options in which they can apply these skills, and help companies source exceptionally-qualified talent.”
For Michigan Ross, the offering is the latest in a long line of MBA concentrations that include business and sustainability, healthcare management and real estate development. Big data is the first concentration to launch under the leadership of Brad Killaly, associate dean of full-time and global MBA programs at Ross.
He said: “We’ve developed the Data and Business Analytics Concentration to meet the needs of today’s MBA student as well as today’s evolving business world. As students continue to seek careers in data-intensive industries, such as consulting and technology, Michigan Ross will offer the necessary business acumen that students can utilize to give themselves a competitive edge.”
Students on the conentration will be required to take courses from a wide array of options, including big data management, marketing research, advanced big data analysis, data mining, and digital marketing.
The new concentration will be offered in fall 2018. Ross began developing it in 2017 after receiving feedback from students who wanted a more specialised course focused on big data.
Ross’s announcement highlights the rapid growth in demand for and provision of big data programs at the world’s top business schools. According to data from the Graduate Management Admission Council (owner of BusinessBecause), 74% of specialist big data master’s programs in the US reported application rises last year, compared with just 32% of full-time, two-year MBAs.
A raft of top schools have launched programs in response to that demand — MIT Sloan School of Management, Imperial College Business School and Warwick Business School are among them. Other schools that have created optional electives in their MBAs like Ross include the Cornell College of Business and INSEAD.