Know Your Concentration: Business Analytics

Interested in a Concentration in Business Analytics? Learn more from Associate Professor David Novak below!

David Novak, started at UVM in 2005 and has taught:

    • BSAD 141 – Info, Technology & Bus Systems
    • BSAD 146 – Business Data Communications
    • BSAD 030 – Decision Analysis
    • BSAD 040 – Information Technology & Mgmt

Can you give a brief overview of what it means to have a Business Analytics Concentration?

While most organizations consider the data generated by their employees, customers, and partners to be one of, if not the most, valuable assets they have, they can only realize this value if they are able to use these data to make better business decisions. Organizations around the world are pushing academia to train and produce more graduates who can work with and interpret data, model various processes and procedures, and conduct statistical analyses to solve the real-world problems they face every day. The Business Analytics (BA) concentration is based on three knowledge or skill areas that are co-dependent: 1) quantitative analysis and modeling, 2) information systems and technology, and 3) statistics. Pursuing a concentration in BA means that you will take courses in each of these areas to develop a better understanding and working knowledge of all three areas.

What are some important things for students interested in Business Analytics to know?

Algebra and calculus: (not at the level of a math major, but BA is quantitative). You have to understand basic mathematical relationships and not be scared of numbers.

Programming: (not at the level of being a “programmer”, but understanding data structures and data logic). You cannot work with data effectively if you cannot write some basic code in my opinion. The language is not that important. Logic structures are not that different. Once you understand the logic, you can pick up the syntax associated with different languages as needed.

Statistics: this is broad, but if you are going to provide meaningful insights related to data, you need to have a solid understanding of statistics (again, this is very broad). I would encourage BA concentration students to pursue a minor in statistics.

Relational database and SQL: essential for storing, retrieving, and manipulating various data

Excel: Microsoft’s Excel is the most widely deployed spreadsheet software and offers a great platform to learn how to structure and use data to make decisions.

What types of careers could students with a Business Analytics Concentration pursue?

It does not make sense to me to put down positions such as data scientist, business analyst, etc. There is huge demand for graduates who have analytics skills. Every year there is more and more data, and every year our use of, and reliance on, technology grows. What types of organizations do NOT need graduates with analytics skills? Those that won’t be in business for too much longer…

By Amanda Simpfenderfer
Amanda Simpfenderfer Amanda Simpfenderfer