The field of analytics has been growing exponentially over the past few years and will not be slowing down anytime soon. To prepare for a growing demanding profession, the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University recently introduced a new major for undergraduate students in business analytics.
Business analytics is the process of descriptive, predictive and prescriptive transformation of data to provide insights into making better business decisions. It can also be applied to nearly any field, like medicine, technology or real estate.
“Business analytics majors are a key component of business and management programs at many universities in the U.S. and throughout the world, and the development of this major was a welcomed addition to the Whitman curriculum,” says Penelope Pooler, professor of finance practice. “Data analytics are used in every facet of decision making in every business—from small internet startups to local brick and mortar businesses to large global companies. The skills learned in the business analytics major position our graduates to be leaders in the data-driven economy of the 21st century.”
The foundation of the major includes data management and advanced analytics for business. Beyond those courses, students can pursue a specialization in various areas like finance or marketing analytics. “Our classes help Whitman students develop the skills to be a part of all steps of that decision making process,” explains Pooler.
During the first year, coursework focuses on concepts that are important for understanding and interpreting data to answer questions. From there, students apply this knowledge to analytical questions in other classes like finance, supply chain management and marketing. Once students reach the upper-level classes, content begins to focus on expanding these analyses and how various methods can help companies use their data in more efficient and effective ways. Pooler says, “Regardless of whether students take only the two required statistics and analytics course required or choose to pursue a major, they will gain a strong analytical foundation, expand their spreadsheet skills and be introduced to more advanced analytical coding software.”
Aaron Patashnik ’22, a business analytics major, recently took Pooler’s Data Management for Business course and says that the class was a great introduction to the world of business data. “This class gave me a great first look at how data has been and is currently used in the business world,” he explains. “I learned a ton of skills while taking this course, particularly how to best store data for extracting insight and how to create visualizations in R.”
When looking ahead to graduation and entering the workforce, Patashnik believes that Whitman’s business analytics program will give him a unique skill set that can be applied to many fields. He says, “I have been able to develop my skills in data analysis, and also using this new knowledge to be a better student, because there is always more to learn in this field. I know that I will have gained many skills that will give me a leg up after graduation.”
The business analytics major can also be paired for a double major with most of the other programs in Whitman, allowing students to graduate with an even greater skill set that can be applied to nearly any career path they choose.
Read more about the Business Analytics undergraduate program.