The technological advances of the last decades have impacted our world and the business world in particular, in fundamental ways. Massive amounts of data are being gathered and stored, from individual medical records to every single truck movement via GPS for large logistics providers. Moreover, ever faster computers and optimization methods have become available to transform this data into information for better decision making. All of this makes it now possible to apply advanced analytical methods to business problems that were impossible 10 or 15 years ago – ranging from detailed supply chain optimization to healthcare applications and the service industry.
The over-arching methodology that refers to the skills and technologies to explore past business performance to make better decisions is called Business Analytics. BA uses data, statistical and quantitative analysis, predictive modeling, and optimization to make businesses work better. There has been extensive popular interest in BA over the past few years, including popular business press books “Competing on Analytics”, “Smart (Enough) Systems”, and many others. This has translated into significant business interest. IBM created a separate consulting area called “Business Analytics and Optimization” that includes more than 4000 consultants. There are dozens of job listings at Monster.com with “business analytics” in the title, and hundreds with that term listed as a required job skill. These jobs come from companies such as Microsoft, Johnson and Johnson, Bank of America, and many other top firms. Lastly, Business Analytics is placed number 6 in Gartner’s Top-10 Strategic Technologies for 2012, in between ‘App Stores’ and ‘Big Data’, another indication of the expected future importance of this methodology.
BA is at the heart of the idea of Tepper as being at the intersection of business and technology. It practically defines our approach not just to operations research and information systems, but also work in marketing, operations management, and other fields.
This track is appropriate for those interested in transforming large amounts of data into better decisions. Possible careers include consulting in data-rich environments, analytical marketing, information technology, and financial data analysis. Applicants to the track should have a strong interest in analytical approaches to management, as shown by aptitude in courses such as Optimization, Probability and Statistics, and Statistical Decision Making.
In summary, this track not only provides you with a highly competitive skill set in analytical methodologies that can be readily applied today, but also prepares you for the ever more technology-driven business world of the future.
Willem-Jan Van Hoeve
Assistant Professor of Operations Research
Tepper School of Business