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Business Management

Introducing Poole College’s New Concentration: Business Analytics

The new curriculum is designed to equip students with the skills to collect, analyze and present data effectively, ensuring they are career-ready from day one.

Poole College’s new concentration in business analytics will give students opportunities to explore cutting-edge techniques to harness data for business success. From traditional statistics to advanced artificial intelligence (AI) methods, the curriculum is designed to equip students with the skills to collect, analyze and present data effectively, ensuring they are career-ready from day one.

“Our innovative curriculum integrates AI and machine learning across several courses,” shares Shawn Mankad, business analytics concentration lead and assistant professor in business analytics. “Through real-world projects and hands-on case studies, students learn to leverage AI, machine learning and related techniques to extract and communicate insights, make data-driven decisions and ultimately drive business outcomes.”

We sat down with Bill Rand, McLauchlan Distinguished Professor of Marketing and Analytics and a key figure in the development of this concentration, to learn more about what makes this program a significant addition to Poole College.

What motivated the creation of this concentration?

When I joined Poole College seven years ago, my goal was to enhance the focus on analytics. The college already had a strong foundation in this area, particularly with its business analytics honors program, which caught my interest. The new concentration aims to make this education accessible to a broader audience. We want to attract more students to business analytics and highlight this emphasis at Poole College. 

How does the concentration’s curriculum address the evolving needs of the business analytics industry?

There is a huge demand for professionals who can analyze data to make informed decisions. Historically, decisions were often made based on subjective beliefs and experiences of senior executives. Now, there’s a shift towards data-driven decision-making. This concentration equips students with the skills to analyze data and present their findings to stakeholders, including CEOs and other C-suite members.

Could you highlight some key courses or modules within the concentration and their significance?

The core of the business analytics concentration includes two essential courses: BUS 440 and BUS 458. BUS 440 focuses on creating and managing databases, collecting data effectively, and querying it for decision-making. BUS 458 delves into data modeling, machine learning, and AI to understand data patterns that guide business decisions. Additionally, we offer electives in various functional areas such as marketing, supply chain, finance, and human resources, complemented by advanced courses in AI, machine learning, and statistical methods.

How do you anticipate this concentration contributing to students’ career readiness and marketability?

This concentration exposes students to a wide range of tools and methods used in the industry. Employers appreciate candidates who can discuss and apply these techniques from day one. By familiarizing students with these tools, we aim to enhance their employability.

Looking ahead, how do you envision the evolution of this concentration?

We plan to expand the number of electives and opportunities for students to learn advanced techniques not covered in the core courses. We’re already collaborating with NC State’s  Data Science Academy to offer classes in areas like natural language processing and other advanced data science techniques.

The new business analytics concentration at Poole College of Management promises to prepare students for the future of business decision-making, ensuring they are equipped with the latest skills and knowledge to succeed in a data-driven world.