One in a series of articles profiling university programs focusing on big data and analytics education.
The management information systems master’s degree program at Texas Tech University began in 1968, one of the earliest in the country. When it started, students learned applied business programming in languages like Basic and COBOL.
Four years ago, the program in Lubbock, Texas, began offering a concentration in business analytics in response to employers who said they needed skilled professionals to make sense of the mountains of data they had collected.
The kind of adjustment to market trends over time is a historic strength of the program, said Surya Yadav, the graduate advisor for the program at the university’s Rawls College of Business.
“We have been very proactive in adapting and redesigning our curriculum to cater to the industry demand,” Yadav said. “We started looking at the industry trend, and noticed organizational needs for massaging data. They were accumulating data on a daily basis without realizing how quickly they were growing, and all of a sudden organizations started to wonder if they could do anything with it.”
Yadav said the program, which now has 31 students, also recognizes that it’s crucial for data scientists to be experts not only in statistics and IT, but in business and organizational management.
“It’s really very vital, because there is a very important interface between the organizational users and the technology,” Yadav said. “We need to have graduates who understand both sides of this fence. The organizational side, how business operations, business needs, operational needs and human needs.”
Many students are international students; Yadav estimated about 80 percent. Because the program has a federal STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) designation, international students studying there can get an extended work visa after graduating.
Yadav said the university also encourages students especially interested in analytics and business intelligence to take extra courses for a certification while completing the master’s degree.
“We encourage them if they’re interested in BI to do a certification in data and text mining, and that requires a few more courses on the statistics side,” Yadav said.
- Program founded in 1968, analytics concentration started in 2008.
- 31 students currently in the program.
- 36 credit hours required; most students complete it in 18 months.
- Many classes project based.
- Total tuition for Texas residents is $12,135.20; non-resident tuition is $24,766.52.
- Internship not required but encouraged.
- Project-based curriculum
- Technology partnerships with Microsoft, SAP and SAS.