Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, No. 9, May 10, 2013
   
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IBM-Supported Master’s Program Prepares Students for Big Data and Analytics Jobs

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IBM-Supported Master’s Program Prepares Students for Big Data and Analytics Jobs

To prepare students and career professionals for the expanding scope of careers requiring Big Data and analytics skills, IBM and Rensselaer are combining forces to offer a new, one-year Lally School of Management and Technology graduate degree program in fall 2013: the Master of Science in Business Analytics.

Nearly two million information technology jobs will be created by 2015 in the U.S. to support Big Data, according to research firm Gartner Inc. Analytics skills will be a key differentiator for candidates seeking to fill those jobs.

The news underscores IBM’s efforts to help students and career professionals enter and succeed in the growing, high-demand analytics workforce. In addition to collaborating with Rensselaer on the new degree program, IBM has also recently donated a Watson system to the school in order to help faculty and students explore new uses for cognitive computing and expand their understanding of Big Data and analytics.

“Whether your office is a scientific lab, a manufacturing company, an emergency room, a government agency, or even a professional sports stadium, there is no industry left where an analytics-trained professional cannot make a positive impact.”— Brenda Dietrich

The new Master of Science in Business Analytics degree is a one-year, 30-credit graduate program offered by the Lally School. The program will provide students and career professionals with the hands-on experience and knowledge required to succeed in analytics jobs spanning a range of industries, from the data scientist who helps chief residents make sense of millions of medical records, to the marketing analytics specialist who helps chief marketing officers personalize consumer brand campaigns.

Supported by longstanding partner IBM—which will provide Rensselaer with curriculum materials, real-world case study projects, access to a wide spectrum of software solutions, and IBM thought leaders as guest lecturers—the Business Analytics graduate program will feature a three-part curriculum comprising:

  • A business core to ensure students understand where Big Data fits into a business’s strategy and operations, as well as how analytics-driven decisions can impact the growth, competitive standing, and bottom line for a business.
  • An analytics core that includes hands-on training in predictive modeling to help businesses identify profitable data patterns, focusing also on data management, statistical analysis, and leading-edge techniques in harnessing Big Data.
  • An experiential core with project-based courses that allow students to apply their newly gained skills to real-world problems faced by businesses spanning a range of industries.

“As a world-class technological research university, we attract graduates with strong technical and quantitative skills,” said Thomas Begley, dean of the Lally School. “Data will be the lifeblood for businesses throughout the 21st century, and only a trained analytics professional can help unlock its hidden value. In collaboration with IBM and Lally School faculty, we are proud to offer a degree program that will send skilled, distinctive candidates into the workforce, to help today’s businesses address the wealth of opportunities and challenges that data poses.”

Begley noted that Rensselaer is well positioned to provide tomorrow’s business leaders with the analytics skills needed to not only succeed, but also make a meaningful impact in the world.

“We believe that analytics merits an entire master’s program of its own, because this is no longer an emerging field; today’s businesses will only thrive if they master the application of analytics to all forms of data,” said Brenda Dietrich, IBM fellow, vice president and chief technology officer, business analytics, IBM. “Whether your office is a scientific lab, a manufacturing company, an emergency room, a government agency, or even a professional sports stadium, there is no industry left where an analytics-trained professional cannot make a positive impact.”

“Organizations have been investing in information technology for the last 30 years, which has generated copious amounts of data and continues to do so,” said T. (Ravi) Ravichandran, associate dean for research and professor at the Lally School. “There is a strong demand for people skilled in business analytics who are proficient in harnessing this data and who can help companies make decisions and continually refine their businesses.”

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, Number 9, May 10, 2013
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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