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Making It Count: Jenkins MBA Decision Analytics

This article was originally posted on Feb. 20, 2020, by Jenkins MBA News.

By Caroline Barnhill

In today’s business marketplace, big data is king. It provides companies and organizations unprecedented insight into their customers, operations and bottom line. There also are several innovative forces converging to create a whole new set of data-related opportunities, says Donnie Hale, Poole College of Management lecturer in data analytics. 

“Sensors and other technologies are generating unprecedented amounts of data on a daily basis. Innovations in computing and data storage are allowing that data to be stored and accessed almost instantaneously,” Hale says. “Emerging analytic technologies, like artificial intelligence, are allowing companies to generate insights and build applications that quickly turn all of that data into strategically valuable assets.”

Which means, he continues, “For most large organizations, big data is now part of the norm and for a lot of them, it is the crux of their business model. Companies that do not think about the strategic use of data and analytics are decidedly disadvantaged in this environment.”

The ability to bridge the gap between data, analytics and strategy is a rare and valuable skill set in today’s business environment.

But all the data in the world won’t move that bottom line unless companies have business leaders equipped to analyze, interpret and strategically apply it. Seeing data’s many applications is what drew Quy Nguyen to the program. She is expected to graduate with her MBA, as well as a decision analytics certificate, in May 2021 — after which she wants to work in the tech industry.

“I like processing a lot of information to break it down to smaller chunks of data and the find reasoning behind it,” Nguyen says. “It helps inform so many business decisions — from marketing to finance.”

Students pursuing their decision analytics certificate are required to complete a series of courses that build a foundation in data and analytics, which prepares them to understand the use and value of analytics across a broad range of business applications. In addition, students who choose to complete the decision analytics certificate will gain a deeper understanding of the core principles and techniques driving the continued proliferation of analytics across the business landscape.  

“Our students have the ability to think strategically about the use of analytics, an understanding of how to perform analytics, and an ability to bridge the gap between technical expertise and broad strategic implications,” Hale says. “It is an important and uniquely valuable capability in today’s business environment.” 

For students like Nguyen, part of the certificate program includes building dashboards, visualizations, and predictive models utilizing real-world data and advanced modeling techniques. Additionally, they work on a semester-long project with an organization to apply the skills they have learned to real-world business problems.

“Before starting my MBA, I never would have known the ins-and-outs of data analytics software or have considered how I would solve a problem with data,” Nguyen says. “The Jenkins MBA program helps deliver that breadth of learning material conceptually, as well as technically. And having that experience, and being able to work with data software, will set me apart as a job candidate.”

Hale agrees. “Our business analytic students have the broad set of skills traditionally associated with an MBA; however, they also gain a deeper technical understanding of analytics and develop a stronger sense of how to use analytics to achieve the strategic objectives of an organization,” he says.

“So, while our students learn how to use software to build visualizations or predictive models, they also learn how to use those tools to solve problems that will advance the objectives of the organization,” Hale says. “The ability to bridge the gap between data, analytics and strategy is a rare and valuable skill set in today’s business environment.”