Server and computer equipment in Aquinas Hall (AQU) is shown March 24, 2005.

Meeting the Demand for Data (Analytics)

It’s a data-driven world. With technological advancements in mobile computing, businesses now have access to massive data sets originating from multiple sources and are using that information to more deeply understand customers and processes to gain actionable insights. Companies are investing heavily to mobilize units where technical and managerial talent work side-by-side to drive enterprise-wide business intelligence.

And it’s no secret that there is a shortage of talent—globally and right here in Minnesota—to keep up with the growing need for business intelligence delivered through data science. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown a 50 percent increase in analyst related jobs in the Twin Cities over the past four years. In addition, a report generated by the University of St Thomas’ Office of Institutional Research predicts that over 7,000 new jobs will be created in business analytics in the seven county metro area over the next three years.

In a December 2014 Minnesota Business article, Dan Atkins, co-founder of MinneAnalytics provides insights into Minnesota’s potential to be a leader in this area:

For those interested in big data, Minnesota is a good place to be. From thriving meetup groups to in-depth graduate programs, and from global companies to one-person startups, this state has a clear advantage in the big-data space. “Combine a culture that fosters creativity with a dedication to community engagement, and then toss in a great education system, and you have the perfect formula for a great analytics community.”

To meet this growing demand, the University of St. Thomas is leveraging its expertise in software engineering and business to deliver a Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics this fall. The certificate is a collaboration between the University’s Opus College of Business and the School of Engineering’s Graduate Programs in Software, equipping students with both technical understanding and strategic decision-making skills.

Learn more about the part-time, four-course, two-semester graduate certificate program

Within organizations, the divide that has traditionally existed between people with technical know-how (i.e. those who build the system that collects and interprets the data) and the individuals with managerial knowledge (i.e. those who interpret what it means and why it matters) is collapsing. At St. Thomas we have a strategic focus on principled leadership, integration across the value chain, entrepreneurial thinking and disruptive innovation. This new certificate is just one example of how we are adapting and evolving our programs to meet the needs of business in Minnesota.

Carleen Kerttula is the director of program innovation in the Opus College of Business.