Macquarie Uni partners with IT vendors for new analytics degree

 

Turning PowerPoint fans into data experts.

Macquarie University is hoping to bridge the gap between business and IT with its new undergraduate degree in business analytics, and will partner with analytics software vendors to deliver the content.

The three-year degree, to be offered next year, covers quantitative analysis, business information systems, database programming and business principles.

Macquarie University Associate Professor Hume Winzar said the degree had arisen from two years of consultation with both senior IT managers and the business executives that dealt with them.

“We see most of our graduates going into business departments or small business where they need an analyst who knows how to talk to the accountant and the marketers and the IT people,” Winzar said.

The undergraduate degree comes on the back of a short course in business analytics offered by the Macquarie Graduate School of Management together with business analytics software vendor SAS, and also a postgraduate degree in data science that will be offered by the university next year.

Winzar said while the business analytics degree would be offered out of the university’s business and economics faculty, the IT faculty saw it as a potential feeder course into postgraduate data science.

Winzar said Macquarie was still finalising which software partners it would work with, in what had become a highly competitive field.

“We’re still talking with those people about which tools we’re going to offer in the program.”

He said software providers were keen to nuture potential future customers, but also understood that university research could help them further refine their product. Likewise, the university wanted to ensure its offering remained current.

“Each of our degree units is likely to have to undergo a significant change every two years in order to accommodate changes in technology and the way we understand things,” he said.

Up until recently, business graduates had been missing out on crucial business analytics skills, Winzar said, with software tools now able to help them tackle the daunting task of turning data into valuable information.

Winzar said students had not previously been keen to study statistics subjects but making sense of data was a different prospect.

“For reasons I’ve never been able to comprehend, the ability to make pretty PowerPoint presentations became really trendy…and that hid data.

“Now there’s a realisation that companies are literally sitting on lots and lots of information and don’t know what to do with it.”

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