Successful managers across functional areas and in general management positions need to be able to understand and use business analytics in order to manage and lead effectively and improve their decision making. Business analytics consists of using data to examine past trends and events, to predict future developments in the industry and related markets, and to explore what the company should do to take advantage of opportunities and address challenges proactively.
This field comprises data collection and processing, as well as analytical techniques, including statistics, data mining, predictive modeling, and forecasting. Business analytics is to some extent present in all business courses, since specific fields such as marketing and finance use data and teach how to create data to inform decision making. In this concentration, students will learn more advanced skills and techniques, as a foundation for developing careers in analytics and pursuing further study in a graduate program in this emerging field.
While business analytics relies heavily on “big data” and information systems, there is a compelling need in the business world, government, and nonprofit organizations for skilled people with the ability to understand data, think from the business and management points of view, and provide insights that will make a positive difference. As more information is produced than ever before, and more quickly, the need for managers that fit this profile is increasingly rapidly.
- Develop a broad understanding of theories and concepts in business analytics
- Understand quantitative techniques for data analysis, predictive modeling, and data visualization to projects in diverse industries
- Apply analytical skills to address business problems across disciplines and industries
- Use regression analysis and univariate and multivariate research methods on big data
- Build key leadership competencies in presentation, persuasion, and negotiation.
Companies are collecting data faster and in greater volumes than ever before. Managers and executives are increasingly expected to provide measurable insights into business performance that can, in turn, be used to make smarter decisions. As a result, the need for data analysts has never been higher and forecasts in the labor market show this need will continue to rise over the next decade.
The Harvard Business Review calls the position of business analyst or data scientist the “sexiest job of the 21st century.” Business-analyst jobs are predicted to increase by 22 percent by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to a recent McKinsey & Company “big data” report, by 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 professionals with deep analytical skills, as well as 1.5 million managers with the knowledge and skills to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.
Example of business analytics jobs include: Strategy Consultant, Business Intelligence Analyst, Advanced Analytics and Optimization Consultants, Sales Analyst, among others.