by Alyssa Walker
Data matters. “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted,” attributed to Albert Einstein, explains the purpose of business analytics perfectly. We live in an age of bigger and bigger data—and businesses need ways to sift through it all, to figure out which combinations of data count—and which ones don’t. The success of business in today’s global economy depends on it. The Rady School of Management at UC San Diego offers a forward-thinking Master of Science in Business Analytics that teaches its students how to grapple with the reality of big data using business analytics.
What is Business Analytics?
Professor Vincent Nijs, co-director with Professor Terrence August of the Master of Science in Business Analytics program at the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego, describes the field this way, “I think of business analytics as the field focused on how to use data and models to make better business decisions. Data Science uses many similar tools (e.g. machine learning) but the set of questions they seek to answer are often different. You can think of business analytics as ‘data science for business.’”
The Amount of Data That Companies Collect Gets Bigger and Bigger…
Just how big is big data? Really big, and getting bigger all the time. The EMC Digital Universe Study predicts that by the year 2020, 1.7 megabytes of new data will be created every second for every human on the planet. What does that mean? There will be 44 trillion gigabytes (44 zettabytes) of data in the digital universe. Where does the data come from? Just about everywhere—1.2 trillion searches per year on Google alone, over 1 billion people using Facebook every day, trillions of photos taken, and billions shared. By 2020, there will be over 6.1 billion smartphone users, and at least 1/3 of all data will be transmitted through the cloud. We haven’t even talked about online banking, business, movies, television, music, and games.
…But Businesses Don’t Always Know How to Use the Data
The Rady School‘s Professor Nijs states, “Companies are collecting more and more data but often lack the people to use it effectively.” He referenced a quote from a well-known report by the McKinsey Global Institute (2013): “Big data promises big things—but only if organizations have the right people in place who know what to do with it. A recurring theme among senior leadership across all sectors is a shortage of professionals trained and experienced at the intersection of disciplines necessary to capture, analyze, and generate meaningful business insights from big data. In addition to deep analytics talent, organizations need management with the right balance of business judgment and statistical skills to translate analysis into action.”
A Company’s Future Relies on Its Business Analytics
The need for effective, efficient business analytics is stronger than ever. Businesses need to know what they want to learn from business analytics—and then how they’re going to use that data to inform their decisions across the board.
Businesses need to be able to determine what data they need and then identify the data sources for gleaning that information. The final piece? Distilling that information into actionable insights using the tools of business analytics. Once businesses have a plan for capturing the desired data, organizing it, and analyzing it, they are in a position to develop plans to stay competitive.
Business Analytics Has Excellent Job Prospects…
According to a McKinsey Global Report, the US alone has a shortage of about 190,000 data scientists and 1.5 million business analysts. Globally and in the US, companies need experts in business analytics. High demand means higher salaries, and a variety of options. Graduates in Business Analytics work at large companies, start their own businesses, work in banks or FinTech, web-based businesses, retail and food companies, media companies, and marketing companies.
…Especially When You Study at a Forward-Thinking School Like Rady
The Rady School’s new Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) puts students at the forefront of the field. The program focuses on the problems big data poses to businesses—and how to solve them using models, statistics, and machine learning – in classes such as customer analytics, business intelligence, and supply chain analytics. The school’s bottom line? To graduate students who know how to use analytics to make a positive impact on business performance—and sustain it.
Professor Nijs says that “After graduation, our students should expect to work extensively with data, use statistics and machine learning, write code, and develop tools to enhance business decision-making. After gaining some experience, we expect them to be well-suited to lead an analytics team.”
First steps for prospective students? Those interested in studying in this program should have an undergraduate degree in a “quantitative discipline,” says Nijs, like “mathematics, statistics, economics, or physics.” They should also have some programming experience.
As data continues to get bigger, the global business world will rely more heavily on business analytics to succeed. Want to make a difference in the business world? Earn your MSBA in the field that businesses will indisputably need for success and sustainability.
This article originally appeared on Master Studies.