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Businesses might not fully understand data analytics but they increasingly realize it’s important. (The Associated Press)
Businesses might not fully understand data analytics but they increasingly realize it’s important. (The Associated Press)

BUSINESS SCHOOL NEWS

B-schools dive into Big Data Add to ...

The Globe’s biweekly business-school news roundup.

As the economy transforms itself, business schools develop new offerings to meet demand from employers and students.

Such is the case with business analytics and operations management, two fast-growing fields in an Internet-driven economy.

In April, the John Molson Executive Centre at Concordia University in Montreal plans to offer a new three-week-long certificate program for middle managers on data analytics, the mining of statistics for corporate advantage.

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The $4,000 program, a mix of online and in-class studies, will be led by Jean-Paul Isson, vice-president of business intelligence for Monster Worldwide, one of the world’s largest job search websites.

“People are just beginning to understand it [data analytics],” says Julie Ricard, director of the Executive Centre. “They don’t necessarily understand how it applies to their business and even less how to apply it themselves.”

In a 2013 survey of companies in North America and Britain by Deloitte, 96 per cent of respondents stated that analytics will become more important to their firms in the next three years. But they cited a shortage of talent as a barrier to capitalizing on the potential of analytics.

Meanwhile, the Goodman School of Business at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., will offer business analytics and operations management (including logistics and supply chain management) as two new areas of concentration in its two-year MBA program.

Employer and student interest in analytics has surged, Goodman dean Don Cyr says. “I have never seen a field come up so quickly,” he says. “We get a lot of job postings and requests, with salaries of between $70,000 and $90,000 for entry level positions.”

Doug Wilkinson, a senior practice partner with Deloitte and a member of Goodman’s advisory board, says demand is driven, in part, by “the hunger of senior executives to get good, powerful insights into the data to help them execute their strategies.”

For example, a resource company can analyze data on past accidents to improve safety while a consumer products company can look at customer buying habits to develop loyalty programs. “We are finding each industry is finding its own way to use analytics,” says Mr. Wilkinson.

As with analytics, Prof. Cyr says his school added operations management as a concentration given growing employer demand for graduates with sophisticated knowledge of shipping goods in a global trade environment heavily influenced by China and India.

Accolade for former Rotman dean

Poets and Quants, a well-regarded website on graduate business education, has named the former head of the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto as 2013 dean of the year.

Roger Martin, who stepped down last year after a successful 15-year run at Rotman, is the first dean no longer in the job to receive the publication’s honour.

“In the 15 years that Martin led Rotman, he utterly transformed the institution from a small irrelevant Canadian B-school to a legitimate global player,” writes Poets and Quants publisher John Byrne, citing a 300-per-cent boost in enrolment, a fourfold increase in faculty and a quadrupling of the endowment.

Tiff Macklem, former deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, takes up the reins at Rotman on July 1 for a five-year term.

Student winners

As the season for case competitions gets under way, student winners earn bragging rights for their school.

The Jeux de Commerce Games, the biggest student competition in Eastern Canada, tests the academic, sports and social skills of participants. At the Games held this month at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Concordia’s John Molson School of Business took top honours for the third time since 2007.

Also this month, a 40-member team of students from McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business defeated competitors from 22 other universities in the 26th annual MBA Games, staged by the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. As overall winner of the three-day event, DeGroote in Hamilton will play host to the Games in 2015.

In Vancouver, a three-person team of undergraduate commerce students from McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management defeated 250 teams from across North America in the National Investment Banking Competition.

Meanwhile, the 36th annual Inter-Collegiate Business Competition, held this year at Queen’s School of Business in Kingston, featured undergraduate teams from five countries. The Canadian winners by topic were: Queen’s (business policy), University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business (accounting and finance), John Molson (human resources), Desautels (debating), Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business (marketing) and Sobey School of Business at St. Mary’s University (management information systems).

Follow Jennifer Lewington and Business School News by subscribing to an RSS feed here.

Contact Jennifer at jlewington@bell.net.

 
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