Business Schools Plan Leap Into Data - WSJ.com
Faced with an increasing stream of data from the Web and other electronic sources, many companies are seeking managers who can make sense of the numbers through the growing practice of data analytics, also known as business intelligence. Finding qualified candidates has proven difficult, but business schools hope to fill the talent gap.
This fall several schools, including Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, are unveiling analytics electives, certificates and degree programs; other courses and programs were launched in the previous school year.
International Business Machines Corp., which has invested more than $14 billion buying analytics industry companies such as Coremetrics and Netezza Corp. since 2005, has teamed up with more than 200 schools, including Fordham, to develop analytics curriculum and training.
“The more students that graduate knowledgeable in areas we care about, the better it is not just for our company but the companies we work with,” said Steve Mills, IBM senior vice president and group executive of software and systems. “It really comes down to what clients and customers need most.”
Data analytics was once considered the purview of math, science and information-technology specialists. Now barraged with data from the Web and other sources, companies want employees who can both sift through the information and help solve business problems or strategize. For example, luxury fashion company Elie Tahari Ltd. uses analytics to examine historical buying patterns and predict future clothing purchases. Northeastern pizza chain Papa Gino’s Inc. uses analytics to examine the use of its loyalty program and has succeeded in boosting the average customer’s online order size.