MISSOULA –The School of Business Administration at the University of Montana will help meet a growing workforce need when it launches its new master’s degree in business analytics this fall.
The Master of Science degree, a joint effort between marketing and management information systems, will combine new elements with several existing programs at UM. The core curriculum will include the study of business intelligence, big data analysis, business statistics, statistical computing, data mining and management, and communicating insights based on data analysis and associated decision-making.
Program graduates will understand the fundamentals of statistics and programming with a strong foundation in business. They will be poised for successful careers working with data across multiple disciplines.
Employers are excited about this new program, which is on the Board of Regents’ May agenda for final approval.
“Support from the business community has been particularly strong,” said Jakki Mohr, UM Regents Professor of Marketing and the program’s core instructor. “Companies such as the R2C Group, ALPS, ATG and Montana Timber Products even helped scope out the curriculum and trial offerings of the courses.”
Demand for data analysts in the U.S. has skyrocketed in recent years. In 2013 alone, demand shot up 67 percent nationally, with local and regional employers also seeking graduates with data analytics experience. The estimated starting salary for employees with master’s degrees in data-related fields hovers around $80,000.
“The MSBA is very innovative and designed to deliver critical knowledge and skills for the technology-intensive business environment of today,” said Simona Stan, UM associate professor of marketing and the program’s director. “It serves a rapidly growing need in the marketplace and is likely to attract enrollment from both Montana business professionals who need to hone their business analytics skills and from out-of-state and international students.”
UM will be one of the first universities in the northwest to offer this type of degree. The program expects to enroll 20 to 25 students this fall, including current UM undergraduates looking to continue for an additional year to earn the master’s degree.