Indiana University Responds to Market Demand with Analytics Focus for MBA

by   |   January 16, 2013 7:02 pm   |   0 Comments

One in a series of articles profiling university programs focusing on big data and analytics education.

Professors at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University have been using data modeling and analytics in their research into marketing, finance, operations and supply chain management for years.

Two years ago, two of the school’s corporate partners, consulting firms Deloitte and Booz Allen Hamilton, asked for help creating certificate programs in analytics for training their employees.

Those requests made it clear there was a need in the marketplace for more analytics degrees, said Ashok Soni, the associate dean of academic programs at the Kelley School. The school, located in Bloomington, was already teaching several analytics-based classes, so it was not hard to formalize a full analytics track.

“There has been a long tradition of doing analytical work in the school,” Soni said. “As we developed those [certificate] courses, which are very much oriented towards what’s going on in the field of business analytics today, we saw these courses would help our MBAs as well.”

Starting in 2011, Master of Business Administration students could elect to pursue a major or a minor concentration in business analytics as part of their full-time program.  A major in business analytics requires 15 credit hours of study, and a minor calls for 7.5 credit hours, Soni said.

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Indiana’s MBA program is full time and takes two years. Soni said now there are about 20 students majoring in business analytics in the program. The program doesn’t just teach technology or techniques, but tries to show students the crucial management science behind data-driven decisions.

“One of the biggest challenges with analytics is always: you can solve the math problems, but what does it mean?” Soni said. “The hard part comes when you actually get results from your various models and analysis, and then figuring out what it means. We have a whole range of classes that deal with that.”

One of the classes is an analytics capstone project, where teams of students work together to solve a real business problem with data, from start to finish, and then defend the results in front of the faculty.

Soni said the university is also developing an online Master of Science in Business Analytics program. Some classes are currently available, but the full program won’t be complete until later in 2013. The MS will require 30 credit hours, instead of the more than 50 hours MBA students need, and it will focus less on managerial topics.

“We’re introducing it slowly, and it will be fully online by the summer,” Soni said. “It takes a little time to ramp up the online programs.”

Program details:

  • Started in 2011.
  • 20 students in business analytics program.
  • Full time, two year MBA
  • Total costs for residents is $51,080; non-residents $70,062

Program features:

  • Capstone project class.
  • Students work with technology from SAS, IBM and Tableau.
  • Students can choose business analytics major or minor track.

Email Staff Writer Ian B. Murphy at Follow him on Twitter .

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