Online master's program addresses Nebraska talent shortage

· 4 min read

Online master’s program addresses Nebraska talent shortage

Student walking outside the College of Business
Craig Chandler | University Communication
The College of Business has opened enrollment for a new online Master of Science degree in business analytics.

Applications now are being accepted for the inaugural class in a new online Master of Science degree in business analytics developed by the College of Business at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The degree will prepare students for career advancement in analyzing data to improve business decision-making in a variety of industries. Delivered completely online in a series of eight-week courses, the program is designed to provide flexibility for students to take courses when they fit into their schedule.

The Nebraska Business launch of the new 30-credit-hour program comes in the age of “big data” and at a time when there is a significant shortage of talent in Nebraska and throughout the U.S. with these specialized skills. Enormous increases in data collection and data sharing have transformed analytics into a critical business function. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2016 that more than 100,000 new management analyst jobs will be created over the next 10 years.

“As big data continues to transform business, we are focused on preparing students for the dynamic workforce,” said Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean of the College of Business. “There is a growing demand from employers for quantitative skills. With our proven track record in online learning, graduates will be poised to advance their careers with employers seeking those who can use predictive techniques and perform data analysis to inform business decisions that will be value enhancing to their organizations.”

The program builds upon the success of the college’s graduate certificate in business analytics created in 2014. Designed to suit a wide range of students from those who recently completed their undergraduate studies to those seeking career advancement, the program will teach students to master skills to impact the organizations in which they work.

“Our graduates will be trained to apply state-of-the-art quantitative methods and related tools, including software and programming languages such as R and SQL, which are in high demand,” said Jennifer Ryan, Ron and Carol Cope professor and chair of the Department of Supply Chain Management and Analytics. “Their background in both business and quantitative methods will position them to work collaboratively with information technology and statistical specialists to collect, maintain, and analyze data in support of business decision-making.”

While business schools across the nation act to respond to industry’s needs, Ryan believes the Nebraska business analytics program is distinctive through its curriculum design, flexibility and value. The eight-week, online classes provide flexibility for students to excel in their current positions while pursuing the degree.

“Our curriculum not only develops students’ quantitative skills, but it also provides a solid foundation in key areas of business so they can better understand the context in which the analytics tools will be applied,” she said. “The program continues the college’s efforts to offer quality business education at fair tuition. It’s reasonably priced without losing the value of the curriculum design, instruction and access to leading professors at a Big Ten university.”

Students will also benefit from the college’s career resources and investment in consistent, engaging course technology. Financial Times recently recognized Nebraska for providing online graduate business students with some of the best career resources in the world.

“We made strategic investments to combine engaging, intuitive technology with our world-class Big Ten faculty for a dynamic online learning experience,” said Tammy E. Beck, associate dean of graduate programs and external engagement. “This format enables students to enjoy a consistent online class structure that reduces tech stress and allows them to make more personal connections with peers and faculty.”

The program will enroll students three times per year. Prospective students must apply by April 1 for the summer term, July 1 for the fall term and Nov. 1 for the spring term.

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