At the University of Tennessee’s Chattanooga campus, the school’s new online MBA with a business analytics track came about as a result of feedback from the major companies in town.
Michael Owens, the UTC business school’s assistant dean of graduate programs, said the online data analytics program rose out of comments from interns and conversations with local companies like Blue Cross, Volkswagen of America, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. “They were telling us what they really needed was business analytics, and it was a gaping hole. They helped us define what was really needed and their feedback helped shape our curriculum,” he said.
The university’s all-online MBA with a business analytics track combines a traditional MBA with four Business Analytics courses. This new offering is in addition to UTC’s existing business analytics certificate program, which will be offered online for the first time this fall. The university hopes to grow enrollment in the new MBA program to 90 students per year.
The business analytics courses include as part of their curriculum projects that often use data from local companies seeking help with analytics projects. Additionally, students are encouraged to partner with their employer to complete a project that not only will assist the student in learning business analytics skills in their current field of interest, but also benefit their employer.
Current online MBA students are enthusiastic about the quality of the new analytics concentration as well as the online option. Sarah Mattson said she was excited to earn her degree without having to travel to campus or commit to a specific schedule. “Balancing work and life is hard enough without school,” she said. “The only way I’m able to participate in this program is because it fits around my own schedule.”
Bryan Hair is an officer at a Knoxville bank, and he echoes Mattson’s enthusiasm. He said that he is thoroughly impressed by the amount of interaction he gets both with professors and fellow students.
“The only aspect of the program that makes it feel different from a classroom setting is that I’m sitting in front of my computer,” Hair said. “UTC has done a phenomenal job with the format and I’d highly recommend the Professional MBA to anyone that is juggling a full-time job, family and school, like myself.”
Sami Evanson said she is happy that she can work on obtaining her MBA while holding down a full-time job. “Most master’s programs discourage you from working to focus on your studies,” she said. “This program has been very easy to navigate, and my advisor literally is there and available for any of my questions. I don’t have to wait a couple of days (for a response). It has been a great experience.”
- Starts in Fall 2014
- All classes available online
- Program includes eight three-credit core MBA courses and four three-credit business analytics courses.
- Tuition: $2,100 per three-credit-hour course (in-state); $2,232 per three-credit-hour course (out-of-state)
- Required GPA for admission: 2.7 overall undergraduate GPA or 3.0 overall graduate GPA
- Business advisors include data professionals from McKee Foods Corporation, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee, and Unum Insurance
- Coursework includes data warehousing; exploratory and advanced statistical analysis; and descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive models
Susan Madrak is a Philadelphia-based writer.
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