By Dave Hendrick

Newswise — The University of Virginia’s Master of Science in business analytics (MSBA) program is accepting applications for enrollment to the Class of 2020 and has announced a number of admissions open houses for professionals interested in learning more about the 12-month program, which begins in August.

The MSBA program, offered in partnership by UVA’s Darden School of Business and McIntire School of Commerce, is designed to fit into the lifestyle of busy professionals, combining weekend residencies with online classes and distance learning.

Delivered by full-time faculty at UVA’s top-ranked business schools, the MSBA is intended for students with a wide array of professional backgrounds. The program emphasizes the practical application of business analytics, incorporating project management, leadership skills and management communication alongside introductions to cutting-edge analytics tools. Students are able to serve as critical interpreters within data-rich organizations, translating technical content into narratives and design visualizations that can help inform decision-making.

“We’re very deliberate about putting the ‘business’ in business analytics,” said Casey Lichtendahl, Darden professor and co-director for the program. “Students leave the program with a deep understanding of analytics tools and practices, but critically, they also understand how analytics can be used to solve and communicate real problems across the enterprise.”

“What differentiates our program is how world-class faculty deliver an integrated curriculum that allows students to see the relationships between business and data; between analytics projects and organizational strategy,” said Ahmed Abbasi, McIntire professor and program co-director. “We’re developing business leaders adept in translating, managing, enabling and strategizing analytics.”

Careers for MSBA graduates may include roles as business analysts, product managers and analytics directors, among others, and the MSBA program has a dedicated team of career coaches to help advance careers.

Now enrolling for its second year, students in the inaugural cohort are applying what they learn in the program immediately, and many have made career transitions or grown within their organizations over the course of the year.

Katie Feige, a UVA graduate and mother of three young children, said the program aided in a career transition to a management position at Capital One — while fitting into her busy schedule.

“I have been thrilled with the MSBA program in a number of areas,” said Feige. “Being a candidate in the program opened doors for me at management levels that were not possible in the past. The ability to apply critical lessons I am learning through the program at my job continues to give me a leg up.”

During the 12-month program, two residencies are delivered on UVA Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the remaining eight two-day residencies take place at UVA’s new state-of-the-art facilities in downtown Arlington, Virginia. The curriculum includes five modules, with topics including enterprise analytics, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and a closing residency on business ethics in the digital age.

Students are also afforded the opportunity to work directly with leading corporations grappling with real analytics challenges. The program recently partnered with Hilton to explore a data analytics challenge with the Northern Virginia-headquartered lodging company.

“We have a strong partnership with the MSBA program, leveraging student insights and analytical skills to solve real-world challenges that we face today,” said Christine Maginnis, Hilton vice president of HR strategy and analytics. “Business Analytics is becoming a very sought after skillset that spans all functions of our business. We have and continue to recruit graduates from this program. Their strategic thinking and practical skills are in demand across our global customer experience, marketing, HR, sales and finance organizations.”

Prospective students interested in the MSBA are encouraged to attend a webinar, information session or schedule a class visit.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.