By Dave Hendrick
Newswise — Through a first-of-its-kind partnership between its renowned business schools, the University of Virginia will begin offering a new master of science in business analytics (MSBA) degree in late summer 2018, pending approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
The 12-month degree is intended for early career professionals and will be delivered by faculty of the UVA Darden School of Business and the McIntire School of Commerce in UVA’s new, state-of-the-art facilities in the downtown Arlington, Virginia, district of Rosslyn. The new facilities are close to both Union Station and the Washington, D.C., area airports, making the program easily accessible and minimally disruptive for those commuting in from most U.S. metropolitan areas.
The program will be delivered via a combination of weekend, in-person sessions and online instruction, and offer students a broad mix of analytical and technical skills as well as foundational business knowledge and leadership instruction. The MSBA program is designed for professionals with two or more years of full-time work experience who seek to enhance their existing business analytics skills or build a career in business analytics.
“UVA’s new master of science in business analytics presents a unique opportunity for professionals of all backgrounds who want to sharpen their data skills while gaining a multidisciplinary understanding of business as future decision-makers,” said Darden Dean Scott Beardsley. “There will be no career ceiling for graduates of the program as the combination of business and analytics will make them highly sought-after leaders in a range of fields, including consulting, technology and finance.”
“As the use of big data and business analytics grows across industries, we know employers seek professionals who can work with data to create value and competitive advantage,” said Carl Zeithaml, dean of the McIntire School of Commerce. “This new program will prepare its graduates to become drivers of advanced analytics who know how to translate the insights into strategic business actions, solutions and results.”
Focus on Business Fundamentals and Analytics Opens Doors to More Careers
Familiarity with data and analytics is increasingly necessary for a range of positions in a variety of fields, as the explosion of data transforms nearly all industries. Although students in the new MSBA program will gain the hard skills necessary to unlock the power of big data, the program differentiates itself from competing programs by teaching the fundamentals of business and leadership and emphasizing real-world context and applications.
For those new to analytics, the UVA MSBA program will provide ample preparation to transition into a new career in the field. For individuals already working in analytics, the program will fill critical gaps in their technical background and provide the soft skills and strategic business perspective required for career advancement into senior positions.
“We want to reach learners where they are, whether they come to the program equipped with a background in computer science or literature,” said Darden’s Eleanor F. and Phillip G. Rust Professor of Business Administration Casey Lichtendahl, who will teach in the program. “The new MSBA program is tailored for high-ability learners of all backgrounds.”
“We will examine how analytics concepts work together at the enterprise level through a unique blend of problem-solving frameworks and technical rigor applied across multiple business functions,” said Ahmed Abbasi, Murray Research Professor of Commerce and director of the Center for Business Analytics. “An integrated project will close out each of the six interrelated modules wherein students will be asked to leverage knowledge of technologies and methodologies to show how data insights can be used to advance business strategy.”
Curriculum and Program Delivery
During the 12-month program, courses will be offered in a hybrid format — online and in-person, limiting time away from the office while maximizing engagement with peers and faculty. Students will attend two four-day residencies in historic Charlottesville and seven two-day weekend class sessions at the new Rosslyn facilities, which offer sweeping views of the Washington, D.C., area from the 31st floor of a modern high-rise. Students will also take part in online, faculty-led weekday evening discussions, along with flexible team and individual learning assignments.
The highly integrated curriculum will include six themed modules:
- Fundamentals of business analytics
- Descriptive analytics: communicating the value of data-information insights
- Predictive analytics and machine learning: developing competitive advantage through agility
- Big data analytics and artificial intelligence: monetizing data in an era of digital transformation
- Corporate-sponsored analytic challenge: translating your knowledge into strategic business solutions
- Business ethics in the digital age: creating your future
Students will hone skills in analytics, business fundamentals, leadership and communication using a blend of the case method and applied learning, with professors engaging in lively discussions to help students solve real-world business problems. The project-centric curriculum will open the classroom to industry experts and corporate sponsors, who will be invited to share their perspectives.
Graduates of the program will join the ranks of the dynamic and exceptionally engaged UVA alumni network, which numbers more than 200,000 members around the globe.
To continue to receive the latest information about this new program, visit virginia.edu/analytics.
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.