LinkedIn lists it as one of the top skills companies need most, Uber used it to become a unicorn, and the Harvard Business School calls it a powerful tool in today’s marketplace.
Business Analytics takes number crunching to a whole new level, extracting meaning and insights from data to make informed business decisions.
The ability to harness data – foundational to most businesses and organizations – is one of today’s hottest skills, with the Government of Canada calling business analyst job prospects good, while the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the business analysis profession is one of the fastest-growing occupations, with 14 per cent industry growth projected to 2030.
Business Analytics: a valuable skill set
So it’s a good thing the University of Lethbridge Dhillon School of Business is offering a Business Analytics (BANA) concentration as part of its Master of Science in Management (MSc (Mgt)), giving students the chance to add a valuable skill set to an already in-demand degree.
“There’s no denying that business analytics has become increasingly important for many organizations – businesses, non-profits, and governments,” says Dr. Gloria Y. Tian, an Associate Professor at the Dhillon School of Business.
“Students will have the opportunity to learn from some of our best instructors to help establish a solid foundation on important topics such as data extraction and processing, data analytics in Python, data visualization and communication, predictive business models, big data analytics, and consulting,” Dr. Tian says.
According to indeed.com, career pathways for Business Analysts include data analyst, business consultant, portfolio manager and quantitative analyst. Other careers include – but aren’t limited to – information security analyst and IT business analyst.
An experiential project-based master’s degree
Starting in Fall 2022, the new BANA concentration offers MSc (Mgt) students the opportunity to pursue an applied, experiential project-based pathway with a business analytics concentration.
Currently, MSc (Mgt) students majoring in one of seven areas (Accounting, Finance, Human Resources Management and Labour Relations, Information Systems, International Management, Marketing, and Policy and Strategy) follow a thesis pathway to earn their degree, an option that will remain as one of the two pathways from which students can choose.
While the current thesis route is excellent preparation for graduate students pursuing careers in academics or entry into a PhD program, the new BANA concentration route is ideal for those keen to pursue careers in industry.
“Whether they choose the project-based pathway or the thesis pathway, the MSc (Mgt) program provides students with the knowledge and hands-on experience to conduct rigorous investigation into a real-world issue facing management in the area of the chosen major,” says Dr. Tian.
Students choosing the project-based BANA concentration will tackle a two-pronged curriculum focussing on data science/analytics and business/management.
“The analytical part covers data collection and processing, statistics, and big data. The business aspect, on the other hand, help students better understand crucial issues such as how predictive models can lead to business insights, and effective communication of data-driven results. An experienced business analyst can utilize big data, statistical analysis, and data visualization to evaluate business situations, effectively communicate solutions, and facilitate proposed changes,” says Dr. Tian.
“The BANA concentration is suitable for people who would like to seek fresh opportunities in the evolving digital economy and/or those who want to upskill and advance their current career.”