Trends like big data and machine learning are radically altering the business landscape and the industry's ability to leverage information. With these industry changes in the backdrop, UBC Sauder School of Business recently marked the graduation of the inaugural cohort of Master of Business Analytics (MBAN).
A total of 35 made up the 2018 cohort of the MBAN program, which runs over a period of one year.
The program offers a wide gamut of training, from data management and data analytics to decision analytics, as well the ability to gain real work experience through a 3-month analytics consulting internship. Students have worked with such companies such as Kal Tire, Vancouver Airport Authority, and WorkSafe BC.
While courses and programs that offer hard analytical skills and produce data scientists are not new, UBC Sauder's MBAN program has filled a gap that employers are increasingly looking for in new recruits: an astute ability to harness data for complex business decisions and creative problem-solving.
"The proliferation of big data and data science has propelled all major organizations towards a more data-driven approach to solving challenges," explained Harish Krishnan, a Professor at UBC Sauder and Director of the Centre for Operations Excellence. Krishnan was closely involved in designing the MBAN program from the onset.
"UBC Sauder was already running a program that utilized advanced analytical techniques to enhance the management of business operations. The MBAN program built on this strength and significantly broadened the scope. The MBAN program added a focus on marketing analytics, an important and growing function today. We also introduced new skill-sets and expanded the number of students who could enrol into the program"
The 2018 cohort is now foraying into the industry with newly-minted skills that blend data analytics with business acumen.
"Students learn to strike a balance between the technical side of the discipline and an understanding of the business context -- both of which are emphasized in this program. Many students have already secured exciting job opportunities," said Krishnan.
Isha Kataria, an MBAN graduate from the 2018 cohort, represents the success Krishnan talks about. During the course of the program, she discovered her passion for analyzing consumer data to predict customer profitability and building systems that help recommend products and services based on a user’s unique preferences.
This passion translated into a job opportunity with Deloitte as soon as her courses drew to a close. She will soon join the company’s Toronto office as a Business Technology Analyst.
Kataria said the MBAN program was instrumental to securing this opportunity: "I could cite multiple instances where I have performed data cleaning, visual and predictive analytics to generate actionable recommendations, using several techniques and tools for the same. This highlighted my capability to learn and juggle among different programming platforms."
Echoing Krishnan's thoughts on the design of the MBAN program, Kataria said it transcended academic rigour: "The program helped me hone my skills to 'story tell' analyses results in managerial language, which employers are keenly looking for in their employees."
This especially came to the forefront during the behavioural interview round at Deloitte, where Kataria demonstrated the problem-solving and team collaboration skills that she learnt at the MBAN program.
"I would strongly recommend this program to anyone who is looking to develop a holistic skill-set, ranging from identifying business issues to developing analytical solutions for addressing challenges in modern business contexts."