Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Tom Snee

The University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business will begin offering a Master of Science degree in business analytics starting this fall in Des Moines’ John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center.

The M.S. degree joins a certificate in business analytics that Tippie began offering in Des Moines this year. Combined, the programs will provide flexible opportunities for advanced study in a rapidly growing field.

The new Tippie College program will serve working professionals through part-time classes available in evenings. Ten classes will be required for the master’s degree, which can be taken in addition to the five classes currently needed for the certificate. The classes will be taught by Tippie’s current faculty, mostly from the Department of Business Analytics, who are international leaders in the fields of descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics.

Both the M.S. and certificate coursework will help students learn to manage vast amounts of data, teasing out what secrets they hold, and then using that information to strengthen their businesses. Though companies have relied on statistics to make business decisions for years, improved data gathering and storage methods give them reams of information they can mine and manipulate to unearth revelations that raw numbers can’t provide.

Studies by numerous agencies and organizations—including Iowa Workforce Development—show that jobs requiring knowledge of analytics will be among the fastest growing in the coming decade. A study by the consulting firm McKinsey shows that the United States alone faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with analytical expertise and 1.5 million managers and analysts with the skills to understand and make decisions based on the analysis of big data.

There’s also big business to be had in this so-called big data. The U.S. Department of Labor expects 25 percent growth in the need for workers trained in business analytics through 2018, and surveys consistently show data management is one of the top priorities of businesses.