Tuesday,
October 21, 2014

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New Graduate Program Tackles Demand for Data Analysts

Dr. Srinivasan Raghunathan

Dr. Srinivasan Raghunathan

Big data keeps getting bigger — and companies need more people who can make sense of it.

The Naveen Jindal School of Management is introducing a master’s of science in business analytics degree this fall to meet a growing need for employees who can analyze data in a range of industries.

The new 36-credit hour program can prepare students for careers in analyzing the increasing volumes of data that businesses collect through website traffic, social media and electronic health care records. Data analysts use the information to help companies improve efficiency, make better decisions about future sales and identify their most likely customers.

“This degree is about managing big data,” said Dr. Srinivasan Raghunathan, professor of information systems. “There’s a huge demand for people with these skills.”

The average starting salary for a data analyst is about $65,000 a year, he said.

Students in the program can choose one of the following tracks: financial, health care, IT, marketing or decision and operations analytics.

The school designed the program in response to input from industry leaders who said they need employees with analytics skills who also understand their businesses.

MS in business analytics

Credit hours: 36

Tracks: Financial, health care, IT, marketing, decision and operations analytics

Job growth: 32 percent for market research analysts from 2012 to 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay: $65,000, average starting salary for data analysts; $72,100, median salary for operations research analysts

Brian Bonner, Texas Instruments Inc. vice president and chief information officer, said that data is increasingly critical for making accurate decisions, including forecasting production needs, and for providing customer and market insight.

“The availability of talent to effectively advance efforts across such domains has not kept pace with these changes in data growth and analysis tools,” Bonner said. “The MS in business analytics is a step in the right direction to develop such talent.”

The business analytics degree plan includes new and existing courses, Raghunathan said. The Jindal School offers many of the courses as part of its business intelligence and analytics track in its information technology and management master’s degree program, which will remain an option.

Ajay Gowda, a student in the business intelligence track, is building work experience as a predictive analytics intern at Volvo Global Trucks Technology.

“UT Dallas’ JSOM is one of the very few colleges that offer a lot of courses with multiple specialization tracks and also encourages students to pursue internships by providing the flexibility to take online courses,” said Gowda, who has a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

The job market for data analysts is expected to continue to grow at a faster-than-average rate.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for market research analysts will grow 32 percent from 2012 to 2022. Jobs for analysts who specialize in operations research, which aims to help businesses and organizations become more efficient and cost effective, are expected to grow 27 percent during that same time period. The median pay for operations research analysts is $72,100.

Vishnu Bapathi said he had a few job offers after he graduated in December with a master’s degree in information technology and management in the business intelligence track. He works at MedeAnalytics Inc., which specializes in the health care industry.

“There are a lot of opportunities in this area,” said Bapathi, who also has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

The program includes a fast-track incentive that allows undergraduates to take graduate courses for dual credit and tuition savings. Students also can earn a master’s in business analytics and an MBA in 63 credit hours rather than the typical 89 required for both degrees.

For more information, contact Raghunathan at sraghu@utdallas.edu.

Media Contact: Kim Horner, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4463 kim.horner@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu.


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