UC Irvine’s Merage School Launches Business Analytics Degree

The Merage School of Business at UC Irvine will launch a one-year master’s degree in business analytics

The Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine will launch a one-year master’s degree in business analytics this summer.

Analytics and ‘big data’ – a popular term reserved for large and/or complex data sets – have grown greatly in stature among providers of business education and you can now find these areas covered in many leading MBA programs around the world.

However, such is the importance attached to the field’s application to modern business and the employment opportunities therein, that a number of institutions now also offer standalone master’s degrees in this area. In the US, for example, UC Irvine’s announcement follows the launch of similar degrees aimed at pre-experience students at MIT Sloan and Duke University’s Fuqua School last year. NYU Stern, meanwhile, launched a part-time program in business analytics aimed at experienced managers back in 2013.

The new MS in Business Analytics (MSBA) program on offer at UC Irvine runs for 11 months and will enroll its first intake in August 2017.  It will consist of three curricular tracks – data analytics, marketing analytics and operations analytics. The school says the program will also feature a capstone project and hold a STEM designation, allowing international students to work for up to 36 months in the US, post-graduation. To learn more, TopMBA.com caught up with information systems professor and faculty director of the MSBA program at the Merage School of Business, Sanjeev Dewan.

What excites you most about this program launch?

Everyone involved with the Merage School of Business is excited about the opportunities that come with welcoming a new type of student into the school.

We’re excited to add a different perspective from that of our traditional MBA applicants, and for our faculty to explore applied research opportunities in different areas. Our local industry partners are excited for the opportunities to engage with our students on data analytic projects, and employers are excited that we are helping to fulfill a key need that they have in their future hires.

What led to the development of this program at the Merage School of Business?

We have widened our portfolio of business programs in recent years through establishing a number of one-year master’s qualifications. We already have a successful master’s in accounting, and are launching a master’s in finance along with the MS in Business Analytics this year.

The school has renowned faculty in information systems, marketing and operations - all of which are key reference disciplines for business analytics, and so the development of this program was a natural step in allowing students to take advantage of the school’s strengths. Our business analytics students will also benefit from the long-standing IT management and digital innovation focus at the Merage School of Business.

What type of students do you hope to see apply in the first year? What can students expect from the program on a day-to-day basis?

To maximize the success of this program we are looking for prospective students with a keen interest in business analytics. We are not necessarily looking for significant work experience in the field - as business analytics is a relatively new discipline -  but we do want to meet students who have demonstrated an interest and competency in quantitative or STEM fields; either in their work or undergraduate study.

We will be putting together a great cohort of students who will enjoy studying the unique courses that we have developed for the program. Our students will also have the opportunity to take existing MBA courses in different areas. Finally, we have a comprehensive calendar of extracurricular and co-curricular activities related to business analytics, including a six-month capstone project working with real data from a company.

What kind of career steps do you envisage your students taking post-graduation?

Firstly, let me say feedback from employers is extremely positive - there is a distinct demand for business analytics graduates - and so we expect most of our students to get jobs or internships right away. Our students will also be significantly boosted by the STEM designation of the program, which will allow international students to obtain up to 36 months of OPT (Optional Practical Training) to work in the US, which is an important feature of the MSBA program – and different from the MBA and other master’s programs that allow only 12 months of OPT.

How can prospective students find out more?

Prospective students can visit the Merage School of Business website, or attend one of our upcoming information events around the world at the end of this month, March 2017 - for example, those in Beijing (March 22), Shanghai (March 23), New Delhi (March 27) and Mumbai (March 29), all of which I will be attending personally.

  • The QS Global 250 Business Schools Report 2017 places the Merage School of Business at UC Irvine into its 'Top-Tier Employability' category for the strength with which its full-time MBA program is viewed around the world. Download the report for free to find out more.   

This article was updated on March 15, 2017 to encompass new information about the program's launch date and upcoming information sessions.

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Written by Tim Dhoul

Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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