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Proposed master’s program to better use business data

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Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 12:10 am

A new master’s degree specializing in analytics is in the proposal process at the University.

Analytics is a program aiming to help students learn how to examine large sets of data and how to apply that to a business application, said Michael Ogawa, vice president for Research and Economic Development and interim dean of the Graduate College.

“The new Master of Science in Analytics [MSA] program is an interdisciplinary, professionally oriented master of science program,” said Bai-Yau Yeh, University professor in Applied Statistics and Operations Research.

The analytics profession is expanding rapidly and will need more people with deep analytic skills, Yeh said.

A 2011 report by McKinsey Global Institute estimated a 140,000 to 190,000 shortfall of people with deep analytical skills.

“Anyone who has an aptitude in quantitative analysis and is interested in a challenging and rewarding career in analytics will benefit greatly, career-wise and earning-wise, from investing a year in getting an MSA degree,” Yeh said.

The program delves into four different departments in the colleges of Arts and Sciences and Business, Yeh said. The departments include Applied Statistics and Operations Research, Accounting and Management Information Systems, Computer Science, and Mathematics and Statistics.

The program will benefit students as well as the University, Yeh said.

“The most obvious benefit will be an increase in students’ credit hours as all the courses in MSA will be staffed by these four departments,” Yeh said. “Other potential benefits could include increase in visibility and reputation of these departments and other undergraduate and graduate programs these departments administer.”

David Sleasman, president of the Graduate Student Senate, also said the program will primarily benefit students.

“It’s going to be a wonderful opportunity for students coming in to learn this type of work,” Sleasman said.

The program will benefit the University because it is a part of one of the strategic initiatives the University is undertaking focusing on big data analytics, Yeh said.

“Most of the similar programs in the country were established only in the last five years,” Yeh said. “It is therefore important for the University to establish the MSA program sooner rather than later.”

The program is also said to generate some revenues for the University since it will be a fee-paying graduate program, Yeh said.

Any new program is beneficial to the University, Sleasman said.

“I think any program that provides a competitive edge to BGSU is a benefit,” Sleasman said. “If this program is using existing faculty and supports and providing a new program, that is great.”

The MSA degree will provide undergraduate students an opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree and a professional master’s degree in as little as five years, Yeh said.

Another advantage is the program would be directed towards businesses both local and nationwide, Ogawa said.

“It will also help businesses both local and businesses across the country that are in need of people who can do analytical work,” he said.

Overall, Ogawa said he is excited for the program although it is still under review by the graduate sub-committee before it can be taken to the full council.

“It’s going to meet a new cutting-edge need,” he said. “It’s going to position Bowling Green at the forefront of the field.”

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