Business Analytics is the new business enabler
Recently, business analytics has emerged as a prospective business enabler and is a rapidly-growing field of study. With businesses becoming more and more complex, business analytics is helping decision-makers integrate data sources, predict trends, identify new and dynamic business opportunities, and make improved and informed business decisions. Pallab Sanyal, Professor of Information Systems and Operations Management (ISOM) at the George Mason University (GMU) School of Business says, “Business analytics refers to the process of transforming data into insights to improve business decisions. It’s the process of discovering interesting and useful patterns and relationships in large volumes of data that help executives, managers, and operational employees make better business decisions.” (00:36)
According to a recent study by MicroStrategy, businesses worldwide are using an enormous amount of data to:
- Improve processes and costs.
- Draw future plans and bring change.
- Analyze and improve financial performance.
The best way to advance your career is by gaining an in-depth understanding of business analytics. “Business analytics is becoming more and more relevant today as organizations are generating more and more data,” Pallab tells us. “These days, the amount of data flowing from and to enterprises of all sorts is enormous and [is] growing rapidly. Businesses can use analytics to harness this abundance of data, to make decisions based on facts rather than intuitions.” (00:59)
Acquire the necessary skills to address business complexities
Business analytics is an ever-expanding field, constantly faced with challenges in handling complex data. The results obtained from using these analytic tools are of extreme value. Luckily, the Master in Business Analytics program at GMU School of Business helps you find causal relationships between real-life business problems.
As Jessica Hopner, Associate Professor & Area Chair of Marketing at GMU School of Business explains, “The MSBA is a 30-credit program designed to be able to be completed by students within one calendar year. Students will learn advanced quantitative analytical programming and database skills necessary to work with real-world data. Our curriculum is structured around a common set of core courses. The courses focus on fundamental business analytics, skills, descriptive, predictive analytics with also an emphasis on programming… Students can choose to take advanced data mining or corporate courses in marketing analytics, people analytics, or accounting.” (01:34)
The program is mutually beneficial for international students and for the United States
A STEM-designated program like the MSBA at GMU School of Business falls under the approved categories of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). These categories are recognized by the government for their focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) topics.
STEM-designated programs are very important for the United States’ market growth as well as for international students who benefit in terms of their work placements in the US.
As Pallab explains, “The STEM designation can help international students looking for work in the US. Traditionally, an F1 visa holder is only eligible [to stay in the US] for up to 12 months, but graduates of STEM-designated programs are allowed to extend their stay by another two years. International students in our MSBA program will be able to receive training through work experience [for] as long as three years. This long period is attractive to potential employers and makes it more likely that they will hire international students.” (03:55)
Bridging the growing skill gap for specialized data experts
According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, big data jobs will grow by 4.4 million by 2024. To cater to that growing demand for jobs, grad schools like GMU School of Business are expanding their educational offerings.
“For many years we have offered a graduate certificate in business analytics,” Jessica tells us. “This program has been well received, with students wanting not only to pursue the certificate but really expand their knowledge in business analytics even further. A recent employer survey both in the US and Virginia, specifically, have really emphasized the growth in hiring for individuals [and] graduates from these programs and so we thought this was an opportunity to help our students succeed in their future careers in the analytics space.” (05:14)
The difference between the MSBA and other business programs
Programs like a Master in Business Analytics are multidisciplinary. It combines business and management with mathematical and computer science. While an MBA is best-suited for professionals who want to be strong business leaders with a working understanding of business analytics, an MSBA is for those who want to build a deeper understanding of analytics and data science so that they can be in a better position to influence any decision-making.
“Other graduate programs such as an MBA for example [are] focused on the overall management of businesses, organizations, and projects, while the MSBA program is more technical and focuses on how to harness the power of data to make business decisions,” Pallab adds. “Thus, [an] MSBA is geared towards individuals who want to become skilled in applying data in business environments to make more informed business decisions. Other business programs do not typically offer the same amount of hands-on experience with analytical tools and methodology.” (07:05)