Marshall announces new master’s program

The Marshall School of Business announced on Tuesday that it will launch a new Master of Science degree focused on the study of business analytics.

New addition · The Master of Science in business analytics is the third degree launched by the Marshall School of Business this year. - Jessica Zhou | Daily Trojan

New addition · The Master of Science in business analytics is the third degree launched by the Marshall School of Business this year. – Jessica Zhou | Daily Trojan

Business analytics has risen in popularity over the last decade due to a number of factors, ranging from the unfiltered data streaming from social media sites to the increase in digital storage of information. Its newfound popularity is leading to a heighted awareness on the subject from a managerial perspective.

“Companies have to make decisions every day in areas such as human resources, procurement capital expenditures and real estate,” said Yehuda Bassok, chair of the Marshall department of data sciences and operations. “These are difficult decisions because we don’t know what’s yet to come and there is always uncertainty about the future.”

Many universities in the United States, such as USC, are developing master’s programs to discuss these issues that business leaders face in order to have a better understanding of the often complex and misunderstood topic.

Bassok noted, however, that USC’s analytical program stands apart from those in the rest of the country.

“We are quite unique in that we will emphasize the business application of analytics,” Bassok said. “This is unlike engineering schools that offer this type of program because they are more technical and will speak in greater detail to databases and how to structure databases, whereas USC will teach its students these topics, but more with a view of how a business should use them and what is the interest of the business community in these databases.”

This is the third new master’s program unveiled by Marshall this year alone. In the last two months, they also announced a Master of Science in social entrepreneurship and a Master of Science in entrepreneurship and innovation.

The program in business analytics will require 27 units and will begin accepting applications immediately for the upcoming fall semester. Marshall is targeting working professionals with bachelor’s or advanced degrees, along with graduating seniors from four-year baccalaureate programs. Both full-time and part-time study options will be available to those enrolled, and GMAT or GRE scores are required for all applications.

Foundation classes include  GSBA 524: “Applied Managerial Statistics,” DSO 510: “Business Analytics,” DSO 530: “Applied Modern Statistical Learning Methods,” DSO 545: “Statistical Computing and Data Visualization,” DSO 570: “The Analytics Edge: Data, Models, and Effective Decisions, DSO 573:  “Data Analytics Driven Dynamic Strategy & Executive” and INF 551: “Foundations of Data Management.”

“In an environment increasingly powered by big data, a thorough understanding of, and fluency in, business analytics is vital to success,” said Marshall Dean James Ellis. “This new degree will empower students with in-depth training that translates to significant positive impact.”

The goal for the incoming class size is around 30 to 35 students, with long-term expectations of nearly 50 to 55 students from a wide array of backgrounds such as media, financial services and engineering.

Dr. Basook said the field of business analytics is on the rise, and those who enter Marshall’s program will be well-prepared.

“Graduates of our program will be able to present findings in a simple way that business people can understand, and understand fast,” he said. “We believe there is a huge demand for people with this degree.”