MS In Business Analytics Program Guide With Professor Willem Van Hoeve
Willem van Hoeve, the academic head of the Tepper School of Business’ new Online Master of Science in Business Analytics program and Carnegie Bosch Associate Professor of Operations Research shared some details about the program.
Q: Why did the Tepper School create this new degree program?
A: Industry needs individuals who understand both analytics and business application, and this program takes a deep dive into those areas.
The Tepper School has been in this field for decades. When the Tepper School first started in 1949, we pioneered an approach to business education called management science that was data-driven. Fast forward to today, there are more skills and tools that exist, and we have so much more data available and better developed algorithms that can turn that data into valuable information. And that valuable information can then be turned into decision support tools and managerial insights.
Q: How is the Tepper School uniquely equipped to help this program be successful?
A: The CMU Tepper School of Business is a research-driven school. Many of the faculty in the MSBA program – including myself – have computer science degrees and perform our own research in this area. We publish papers in the top journals and we go to top conferences in AI, machine learning and optimization. We bring those insights and cutting edge technologies into business applications – which you can’t find with a data science degree alone.
While there are other similar offerings available, our 18-month curriculum program is the only one of its kind to offer a thorough understanding of analytics and robust business knowledge with the flexibility of an online format.
Q: Can you tell us more about what students can expect during the program?
A: This program combines technical courses such as programming, statistics, machine learning, and optimization, with courses in business, communication, and leadership. An important component is a sequence of four courses that starts with an introduction to probability as well as statistics, and then transitions into machine learning courses. Those courses thoroughly dive into the details of machine learning, including for example, deep learning. The core technical courses in statistics, machine learning, and optimization provide the foundation for the elective and specialized courses, which consider areas like marketing, supply chain analytics and finance to provide a niche understanding for students based on their unique interests.
Q: It’s a part-time online program, but are there any on-campus opportunities for students?
A: We have three on-campus experiences. The first is an orientation basecamp, where the students are introduced to the program, interact with faculty, and learn about their cohort. The second takes place mid-program, during which students participate in workshops on special analytics topics. We end the program with a capstone experience where students can present their work to real-world clients and celebrate the end of the program.
Q: Who should apply?
A: Our MSBA program has been designed to appeal to a broad range of students with technical or STEM backgrounds, including engineering, economics, or mathematics. Our program is suited for individuals that have some experience working in the analytics space and want to update their skills and knowledge, as well as people that would like to shift their career into the business analytics domain.
Q: What opportunities will a MSBA degree create for a graduate?
A: With an MSBA degree, you’ll be positioned to play a key role in the analytics group in organizations ranging from the finance sector to more classical production and manufacturing to the services industry. There is a need for people who can translate analytical skills to business concepts, can identify opportunities for data-driven business improvements, and can articulate that to teams and managers.
Q: Are MSBA graduates prepared for leadership roles?
A: The MSBA curriculum includes specific courses for leadership training such as management of teams and organizations. In addition, students have access to the Accelerate Leadership Center as a resource.
In addition to these leadership skills, it is incredibly helpful to be able to understand the strategic value of analytics methodologies, and identify their strengths and limitations. When managing an interdisciplinary team, being able to speak the language of the machine learning experts as well as the business users gives you not only credibility but also the opportunity to build bridges in and organization and truly leverage the power of analytics. These capabilities will help you and set you apart for a leadership role in an organization.
Q: What excites you most about the program?
A: The analytics excites me most – industry wants people who can bridge technology with business applications. We have an opportunity to bring advanced analytics to industry and business applications. There isn’t another program of this kind that goes as in depth into technology, analytics as well as the business applications.