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B-Schools Up Big Data Analytics Focus To Match Demand From Employers Like Amazon & McKinsey

MIT Sloan has just launched a new business analytics certificate to combat the data analytics skills gap

Thu Nov 16 2017

MIT Sloan School of Management today announced the launch of a new business analytics certificate to fight back against the big data analytics skills gap, and the expected lack of trained US data scientists in the coming years.

The decision corresponds with last year’s launch of a specialized, one-year Master of Business Analytics (MBAn) program at the school, as students and companies alike realize the need to augment their skills within an increasingly digitized world.

“Competency in analytics—the ability to parse large quantities of data, translate analytic insight into action and influence key business decisions—is an essential skill needed to be successful within modern organizations,” says Michelle Li, director of the MIT Sloan Business Analytics Certificate and the MBAn degree program.

“Students at MIT Sloan want to learn how to work with multi-disciplinary teams and use analytical tools to make more informed business decisions.”

The exponential increase in demand for such skills has seen applications to MIT’s MBAn program more than double in the past year—from 300 to 800. As such, the admissions rate is less than 4%.

Hence the need for greater access to business analytics courses to accommodate an industry that is expected to harness almost 3 million jobs in the US by 2020, according to a report by IBM.  

And MIT Sloan’s data-savvy students are in demand across the board—from marketing to finance, healthcare, e-commerce, and manufacturing.

“Every industry is waking up to the power of analytics and companies need people who can use business data to make decisions and predictions that will bring value to their organizations,” says Georgia Perakis, professor of management at MIT Sloan.

“Employers such as Amazon, McKinsey, the Boston Consulting Group, and IBM Watson, among many others, are very interested in hiring our students for data science roles.”

The business analytics certificate is incorporated into MIT Sloan's 15 Action Learning Labs, Georgia explains, where students will work on live analytical projects with firms like DHL and Facebook, applying the analytical tools they learn on the program to real-life business challenges.  

Completed over the course of two-to-four semesters, students dip their toes in all data analytic pools.

The Machine Learning: Algorithms, Applications, and Computation class, for example, teaches students about algorithms for missing data, deep learning, and data classification—they are then able to independently approach machine learning to solve data problems on their own.

The business analytics certificate is open to all MIT masters-level programs, including the MBA, Executive MBA, and Master of Finance—encouraging anyone keen to pursue a career in data science to enroll.

MIT Sloan School of Management is not alone in accommodating a more data-driven environment, as global business schools jump on the big data analytics bandwagon.

Nottingham Trent University Business School, for example, runs a specific online MBA with Data Analytics that schools students in big data, machine learning, and statistical decision making.

The UK’s Bath School of Management also runs an MSc in Data Analytics for Business, partnered with IBM and SAS, which has among its elective modules the integration of data analytics in project management and sustainable operations management.

Refining graduates for the big data storm that continues to gather pace is not a trend consigned to the UK and America either. The realization that an increasingly digitized world brings with it a worrying caveat in the form of a skills shortage is very much global.

Hong Kong’s HKUST Business School launched an MSc in Business Analytics program this year and has since held a FinTech seminar series for which one of the lectures was focused on ‘Business Analytics and Innovation in Financial Services’.

And in France, the opening this summer of Station F in Paris—the 34,000m² startup campus for the next generation of entrepreneurs—has driven demand for data-smart graduates.

As such, in September this year, EDHEC Business School launched a new MSc in Data Analytics and Digital Business, to be conducted at its campus in Lille.

Further south, the technological revolution is disrupting the world of marketing, causing the International University of Monaco to launch the only MSc in Marketing of Luxury Goods and Services in the world, focusing on big data, digitization, and the future of luxury.

CIMA - the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants is also tapping into management accounting’s big data revolution—the professional accounting qualification covers technical accounting as well as hot management topics like big data. CIMA’s Master’s Gateway offers a fast-track route for MBA holders exempting them from 12 exams.

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