After two years of growth through 2015 and 2016, applications to online MBA programs remained ever popular last year, according to the GMAC 2017 Application Trends Survey Report. This steady rise coincides with the growth of the global digital economy and is symptomatic of shifting preferences towards flexibility and mobility.
With online programs having applicants with the highest level of work experience after Executive MBAs. 33% of applicants have 10 or more years of work experience, showing busy business leaders are looking online to upskill themselves.
One area which is particularly in need of skilled employees is data analytics—making sense of big data and putting it to use—with a recent report from e-skills UK and SAS claiming the demand for data-savvy staff will increase by up to 23% per annum over the next five years. This is where programs such as Nottingham Trent University’s (NTU) Online MBA with Data Analytics are looking to make an impact.
As expert business school admissions consultant Barbara Coward explains: “Business schools are responding to the increased demand for professionals who can ‘make sense’ of the extensive amount of data available in a digital economy.”
We now collect more data than ever before and turning this into meaningful intelligence through analytics is set to be the difference between success and failure for many companies. NTU’s specialized Online MBA is designed to prepare students to fill the big data skills gap on graduation and make them invaluable in today’s business environment.
“Think of the amount of data that Netflix has from all the movies downloaded,” Barbara continues. “What do your actions tell them about customer behavior? How can they use this information to make strategic decisions that drive growth?
“Employees who understand big data provide exceptional value to employers because they offer skills that can drive better business decisions that are in short supply.”
Working professionals on NTU’s Online MBA with Data Analytics will be trained to use big data, tackle contemporary issues surrounding data, and be able to create business value from data science after completing the degree.
It’s not just the theory, but the student experience that breeds this understanding of the digital environment. With a unique blend of interactive online tools and resources as well as acclaimed teaching staff, students are able to create a global network and learn cutting-edge theory all through an immersive online learning environment.
This blend of general management skills and specialized knowledge is becoming the norm—it’s what today’s employers expect.
“The digital economy has shaped the need for more specialists,” Barbara explains. “If you wanted a career in banking, for example, a general management degree with a core course in finance would have sufficed in the pre-internet age. Now, you need also to know about fintech as well as how to calculate present value.
“Specialized programs provide that level of depth reflected in 21st-century job descriptions and demonstrate the additional value you can offer the organization.”
It’s this blend of skills and style of learning that initially drew Maria Agius to NTU’s Online MBA with Data Analytics.
“Having been a science student all my life, I always missed the business acumen. This particular course presented the perfect cross for me, a mix of business and technical.
“The course has given me a whole new perspective on work in general, being able to understand different realities and how these can be applied even in the smallest things I do on a day-to-day basis,” she continues.
“I would definitely recommend this course to anyone like me who is techy and business-minded with a busy schedule.”