Newswise — MOUNT VERNON, IOWA—Cornell College is launching a new business major this fall with three areas of focus, including business analytics, which uses data and statistical analysis to guide business decisions, and is one of the fast-growing areas in business. The major will offer concentrations in business analytics, finance, and actuarial science.

The growth in the availability of data has created strong demand for people capable of managing, manipulating and analyzing large data sources. Aaron Miller, assistant professor of business analytics at Cornell College, cited a report by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company that said businesses have an enormous financial incentive to use the data available to them, but that the United States faces a shortage of 140,000-160,000 workers with “deep analytical skills” and 1.5 million “data-savvy” managers and analysts.

“The new program at Cornell College addresses this growing demand,” he said. “In addition, Cornell’s One Course At A Time curriculum and small class sizes will provide students the chance to work with large real-world datasets, while addressing problems that have practical applications.”

Demand for graduates with training in business analytics is growing quickly, said 2006 Cornell College graduate Aaron Reykdal ’06, who is part of the Target Corporation’s Strategic Pricing Team.

“I can’t think of many jobs that would not desire a student with training in business analytics,” he said. “They’ll have the ability to comprehend complex business questions mixed with their ability to source and organize the data needed to answer the question.”

In addition to business analytics, the College will offer concentrations in finance, which will prepare students for careers in the financial sector, as well as for careers in finance and accounting departments of organizations across the economy, and actuarial sciences, which will prepare students to apply mathematics and statistics to the assessment of risk.

The new concentrations give students an advantage when searching for a job, said Santhi Hejeebu, Cornell College professor of economics and business.

“One third of our seniors who majored in economics and business in 2014 had job offers six months before graduation,” she said. “The new programs will improve our strong placement record. They teach important skills while reinforcing core strengths in communication and interpersonal relations. We’re quite optimistic about our students’ future.”