Harvard Launches Online Business Analytics Program

Harvard Launches Online Business Analytics Program

Harvard Business School (HBS) is launching an online business analytics program for MBAs as employer demand for leaders who can crunch data to make better decisions skyrockets. 

Digital technology is pervasive in many organizations, leading to an explosion in the volume of data being generated. HBS believes that executives must be able to effectively leverage data analytics to improve an organisation’s operating model. 

800,000 job posts for data-driven decision makers

While there has long been a dearth of data scientists, there has been recent explosion in interest in graduates who are skilled in the art of business analytics, in industries such as finance, healthcare and technology. According to PwC, the management consultancy firm, there are more than 800,000 job posts for data-driven decision makers, such as chief information officers and financial managers. 

The Harvard Business Analytics Program is designed for business leaders, including MBA graduates, seeking to learn new ways to analyze, interpret and take advantage of increasingly complex data across industries. Participants study online and develop core skills in the fundamentals of analytics, software design, architecture and data science. 

The program comes as more business schools create business analytics courses to satisfy intensifying recruiter demand for data-savvy talent. Last year, MIT Sloan launched a master of business analytics degree priced at US$75,000.

Harvard’s business and engineering schools will work with 2U, a digital education platform, to deliver online classes in a seminar-style setting. Students will also participate in two on-campus learning experiences at the HBS campus in Boston.

A surge in digital education

The business analytics course is HBS’s latest push into online education. Through HBX, its digital learning initiative, HBS has launched a roster of five online programs, including one aimed at educating entrepreneurs in startup essentials. 


HBS may be seeking to capitalize on demand for shorter, online programs from those who do not wish to spend tens of thousands of dollars and considerable time on a formal degree program. Online courses are one way to help address the shortfall in data science talent, as participants can become qualified more quickly without taking time off work. 

HBS to work with world-class engineering school

HBS has partnered Harvard University’s world-class engineering school to launch the executive certificate program. The tie-up will expose participants to cutting-edge research on how data-driven business analytics impacts strategy, operations, marketing, people management and leadership. 

The announcement highlights a growing trend of business schools collaborating with their wider universities. Cross-disciplinary programs are thought to better prepare managers, who do not operate in silos. 

“By bringing together world-class faculty…The Harvard Business Analytics Certificate Program will push the boundaries of innovation both in terms of scholarship and program delivery,” said Srikant Datar, senior associate dean at HBS.


“Business analytics is an exciting, emerging field. Harvard is uniquely positioned to collaborate across disciplines and geographies in pursuit of new ideas in this space.”

Seb Murray
Written by Seb Murray

Seb is a journalist and consulting editor who has developed a successful track record writing about business, education and technology for the international press.

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