The UCSD Rady School of Management announced the launch of its new Center for Business Analytics on Feb. 10. The center will work directly with corporate partners and focus on teaching graduate students how to apply data analysis techniques when making business decisions.
Associate Professor of Marketing Vincent Nijs told the UCSD Guardian that one of the reasons the center was established was to provide graduate students at Rady with firsthand experience in the evolving fields of data analytics and business intelligence.
“The center will support innovative research and increase collaboration with businesses and public agencies,” Nijs said. “Data analytics is revolutionizing the business world and the Center for Business Analytics will help prepare Rady’s graduate students to become leaders in this sector.”
Nijs defined analytics as the application of data in conjunction with statistical and quantitative models to make more data-driven decisions in the business world. He commented that the center views the scarcity of professional business analysts as a major problem.
“Businesses are striving to use analytics to gain competitive advantage. However, there is not only a lack of data scientists with advanced training in statistics and machine learning,” Nijs explained. “But importantly, there is also a significant shortage of business analysts and project managers who are able to identify the right analytics projects to pursue. Particularly, first-rate analytics projects should create substantial value to an organization by solving impactful business problems.”
Each of the center’s four divisions of activities concentrates on a different activity: research, executive education, consulting projects and a partners’ symposium. These programs range in focus from consulting projects to research presentations and offer graduate students a thorough education in analytical topics, according to Nijs.
“There is substantial student demand for sophisticated, marketable job skills and knowledge in the area of business analytics at the graduate level,” Nijs told the Guardian. “Educational initiatives linked to the Center for Business Analytics will provide students with an understanding of business problems and how to assess opportunities to improve business performance.”
He further explained how students will be taught by addressing the specific subjects the center’s activities will emphasize and discussed how the programs would directly connect students to the business world.
“Students will use statistical, econometric and analytical methods to improve decision making,” Nijs added. “Topic areas might include management science and business, customer and supply chain analytics. By working on projects through the CBA, students will become effective collaborators and communicators, prepared to launch successful careers in the burgeoning field of business analytics.”
Rady School of Management announced the center’s first corporate sponsor, Urban Insights, on the same day that it announced its launch. The professional services firm has been applying data analysis in the transportation industry since its inception and is optimistic about the partnership, according to a Rady press release from Feb. 12.
There are three different levels of corporate sponsorship that businesses can attain. Firms interested in becoming founding partners are expected to pay annual membership fees of $20,000, and firms that want to be corporate partners or data sponsors are expected to pay $5,000 and $2,000 in membership fees, respectively.