Notre Dame Business Analytics Program Fits Workers’ Schedules

by   |   August 2, 2016 3:00 pm   |   0 Comments

Notre Dame building in downtown Chicago. Click to enlarge.

Notre Dame building in downtown Chicago. Click to enlarge.

The quick growth of Notre Dame’s Master of Science in Business Analytics program reflects industry’s ever-increasing demand for people experienced in working with analytics tools and technologies.

Paul Slaggert, Director of Executive Education at Mendoza College of Business at University of Notre Dame, said the school’s analytics program began as coursework within the MBA program at Mendoza and quickly evolved into an MBA concentration track.

“Our graduate business students were increasingly expressing strong interest in the analytics coursework, while, at the same time, discussions about big data and analytics were increasing in the global market,” Slaggert said. By 2011, the same year the McKinsey Global Institute released a report on the potentially transformational impact of data analytics on various industries and markets, it was clear that there was growing, unmet demand in the job market for people with analytics experience.

“The Mendoza College of Business was uniquely positioned to provide both analytics and business education, said Slaggert. “Having a campus in an urban setting in downtown Chicago, where many employers are looking for experts in big data, helped make the decision more concrete.”

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The program launched in 2015 as a Master of Science in Business Analytics, with all coursework housed at the Mendoza College of Business.

“Our MSBA program educates professionals in both the technical and business side of analytics,” said Slaggert, “teaching students to understand the analytics and the technology, to explain what the data means, and communicate how it can be used to assist in making strategic business decisions.”

The one-year, 30-credit program is designed to fit into the schedules of working professionals, with coursework taking place on alternate weekends. The students that make up the program’s Class of 2017 are an average age of 32, with an average of eight years of professional experience and representing a dozen industries.

Coursework is divided into four modules, which focus on tools and technologies, business analytics applications and skills, and how analytics is used in business organizations.

There are two capstone experiences in the program – one midway through the program and one during the last progression of the program. Last year, the final capstone project was completed with Allina Health System, a 13-hospital nonprofit health system based in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN.

Allina Health Systems asked students to help them analyze the financial, operational, and clinical implications of a new care management program that the healthcare provider implemented for patients with heart failure. Students worked with teams of nursing care managers, who collaborate with patients on their care following a hospitalization in order to improve their health and avoid re-admission. The issue is critically important to the hospital because the program promises both to improve patient health and the financial bottom line. But it also matters to the patients themselves – as well as to the insurance companies that pay for the care. The final analyses considered all of those perspectives.

Each year, another project will provide new opportunities for students to work on real-world projects, and with real-world data, with area nonprofits.

“State of the art technology plays a large role in how our program delivers subject matter to the students,” Slaggert said. Analytics tools such as SPSS, R, Hadoop, and Tableau are integrated into coursework.

“We also regularly invite leading technology executives in as speakers to talk to the students about current trends in technologies and how they affect market forces.”

The Executive Education Department, part of the Mendoza College of Business, oversees the Master of Science in Business Analytics program. The program is housed on the Chicago campus, located at 224 S. Michigan Avenue.

Program details:

  • Program began January 11, 2015


    • One-year, 30-credit program


    • Classes meet on alternating weekends, Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.


    • Three, three-day intensive sessions at Notre Dame’s campus


    • Three credit-hour practicum with a prominent company


    • Total program cost: $59,214


    • Financial aid and fellowships available


    • Application requirements include active employment and two years of work experience


  • Next admission deadline for the Class of 2018: October 31, 2016

Susan Madrak is a Philadelphia-based writer.

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