The Value of a Business Analytics Degree

Dr. Gordon Swartz is the Dean of GGU’s Edward S. Ageno School of Business


“Big Data” is a catch-all term to describe all manner of information and decision-making challenges faced by business, government, and nonprofit organizations. The development of modern computing and communications systems has driven a decades-long information explosion culminating in an age where billions of people carry a personal ‘supercomputer’ with them wherever they go – their mobile phone. We have instant access to countless information sources and can connect to and share information with billions of others in many ways — text, voice, video, or social media. Big Data is one way of simplifying – or oversimplifying – the fact that the volume of data, the variety of data, and the velocity of data is growing exponentially.

Some of our world’s billions of data streams contain incredibly valuable insights – or signals – that we can use to improve our organization’s performance, better serve our customers or stakeholders, and compete effectively in today’s data-driven marketplaces. To make astute business decisions, we must continuously enhance our analytics capabilities. Any business can benefit from a Business Analytics professional.

Business analytics capabilities are so fundamental, so critical to effective business decision making, that forward-thinking organizations are making significant investments in people and technologies to remain competitive. We’re now seeing a tremendous demand for analysts, managers, and leaders with business analytics capabilities.

Who benefits from a business analytics expertise? Any analyst, manager, or leader in an organization that currently relies or will rely on insights from Big Data – In other words, just about everyone. Big data touches nearly every discipline including IT, Security, Human Resources, Operations and Logistics, and Marketing, to name a few. So, while these examples might add some tangibility, they miss the vast potential for the broad, strategic impact of Business Analytics.

Business analytics capabilities are so fundamental, so critical to effective business decision making, that forward-thinking organizations are making significant investments in people and technologies to remain competitive. We’re now seeing a tremendous demand for analysts, managers, and leaders with business analytics savvy.

A widely cited McKinsey white paper forecasted that by 2018 there will be a shortage of 1.5 million managers and analysts with analytics skills, as well as a shortage of 140 to 190 thousand employees with “deep analytical skills.” Specifically, data scientists are the highest paid among business analytics professionals who can write their own salary ticket.

To help meet the growing demand for Big Data skills, Golden Gate University recently launched a Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program to give business managers and leaders the capabilities to incorporate leading-edge business analytics ideas and tools into their strategic planning. These skills also allow managers to design and implement Big Data and analytics initiatives that drive business value and help those firms build a competitive advantage. The MSBA is not an academic-focused program, but one that ensures that business managers and leaders have the Big Data and business analytics capabilities to lead their organizations effectively and to get the greatest benefit from their data.


About Dr. Gordon Swartz

gordon-swartzDr. Gordon Swartz holds a Doctor of Business Administration degree from Harvard University, a High Technology MBA from Northeastern University and bachelor degrees in nuclear engineering and political science from MIT. His articles and case studies have been published in distinguished academic journals, including the Journal of Service Research, Sloan Management Review, Marketing Management and the Harvard Business Review. As vice president of MarketBridge, Inc., he led major marketing, sales strategy and transformation efforts for Fortune Global 500 companies.


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