Why Business Analytics Programs Are Important Today

Why Business Analytics Programs Are Important Today main image

According to the recent Employer Poll report by GMAC data analytics students are the most in-demand recruits out of all master’s programs and, as coding and algorithmic skills continue to become more prominent in business, the demand for graduates with these specific skills will only increase.

The same GMAC research report also found that over 70 percent of employers surveyed said they plan to boost the number of data analytics graduates they take on from the previous year.  

With this in mind, we thought it useful to find out how business schools are preparing students for a career working with data.

Helping business professionals communicate with software developers

Coding – the ability to design, write, test, implement and maintain a computer program’s source code – is an important part of growing a business in 2019.

As more businesses and industries incorporate digital technology into their operations, an understanding of computer programming – even a basic one – is vital.

Vlerick Business School is just one of many institutions incorporating coding into its agenda. Oyku Isik, Professor of Information Systems Management at Vlerick Business School and head of the coding bootcamp says, “In a global digital economy, it is certain we need more professionals who understand the language, rules and needs of both worlds.”

Not only is Isik a professor of Information Systems Management, she also teaches the Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship course, which is tailored towards students who want to start their own business.

Isik notes the significant increase in the number of students wanting to start a digital business even without a technical background. She says, “I started getting more and more questions around software development, hiring programmers, and how to translate business requirements into IT requirements. Combining these questions with my computer science background, I decided to offer the coding bootcamp.”

Bootcamps are popping up in institutions across the globe, but are they important? Isik says, “Absolutely! The technology is developing so fast and is becoming ubiquitous in our lives. With so many technologies layering up for one business solution, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a person who understands all aspects.

“We need to do our best to keep up. We need more business professionals who understand the language of technology, which is software development. The idea isn’t to turn business professionals into software developers, but to equip them enough to be able to communicate with developers properly.”

ESMT Berlin also launched a coding bootcamp in March, with the first iteration of the program set to begin in July. Nick Barniville, Associate Dean of Degree Programs at ESMT Berlin says, “While the bootcamp curriculum has been customized to local tech employers needs, we can leverage each individual curriculum improvement made in response to market feedback from these partnerships to bring the most up-to-date and effective bootcamp to the Berlin market.”

Barniville admits that coding skills are a firm requirement for many technology roles, while an understanding of coding is extremely useful for the positions business school graduates progress into.

He says, “While our graduates may not themselves be coding, they need to understand the processes of software development and the mentality of the coder in order to manage tech teams, or to best represent company interests in developing the business.”

Why we need to understand the impact of algorithms

Around the globe, a number of the most-popular businesses have leaned on analytics to ensure they garner a competitive advantage. One obvious example would be McDonald’s using business analytics to create customized services for diverse international audiences.

Emlyon Business School intensified its efforts in teaching digital marketing and coding in 2016 by launching a wide array of courses in business analytics, data science and machine learning.

Clement Levallois, Co-Director of the MSc in Digital Marketing and Data Science at emlyon says, “The program is very intensive. Students will learn the nuts and bolts of digital marketing (from web marketing to UX design and strategy) and will become proficient business analysts and data wranglers (using Python, R, SQL, Tableau, etc).”

But it’s not just what they learn, the way they learn is also important according to Levallois. “It’s mostly project based, with a wide access to workshops and events organized by emlyon’s Makers Lab and the school.

“They spend their last semester in Shanghai, which puts them right at the center of the digital and data revolution.”

But what does the future hold for digital marketing and data science? Levallois says, “Companies providing products and services based on the acquisition of personal data, against a free service supported by advertisement, are in turmoil.

“Algorithms are increasingly placed at the heart of decision-making in a variety of domains of the public and private sphere, and the consequences of this tendency aren’t yet fully understood.

“Digital marketing and data science are intimately related because they contribute to impact our lives as consumers, citizens and cultural beings. We train participants of this MSc to be able to understand these phenomena in order to be able to act on them, rather than being acted upon.”

The future of data

Master’s in digital marketing, business analytics, and data science are some of the most popular program choices among students – demonstrating the forward-thinking nature of the future workforce.

Data science and business analytics are key to business development, as Levallois says, “They’re now ubiquitous in any (public or private) organization of a sufficient size. They contribute to offer better products and services to customers, provide increased efficiencies in the production process, and assist in decision making at the strategic level.

“Provided that proper regulations and ethical boundaries are set, data science can help create value for a variety of stakeholders.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about the top business analytics programs around the world, check out this year’s QS Business Masters Rankings: Business Analytics and discover how we rank the programs via our methodology page.

Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Assistant Editor of TopMBA.com, creating and editing content for an international MBA student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of the business world.  

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