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Data & Analytics

New MIT Data Analytics Master's Focuses on Business

Data smarts are at a premium. MIT Sloan, the institution's management school, runs a career development office that connects its students with the organizations that want to hire them. According to that office, job postings related to the subject of analytics have increased 78 percent over the past three years. The research arm of McKinsey & Company, an international consulting firm that hired 31 of last year's MBA graduates from Sloan, said that by 2018 the United States alone would experience a shortage of 190,000 data scientists and nearly eight times as many managers and analysts capable of doing data analysis.

So is it any wonder that MIT has decided to get into the business of educating people in the subject of data usage? The institution recently launched a new master's degree in business analytics, which will start its first cohort in fall 2016.

Sloan has teamed up with the institute's Operations Research Center. The center is an interdisciplinary endeavor with a master's degree program of its own, dedicated to preparing students for a career in operations research. The new program will help students learn how to apply data science to jobs in "business and society."

"Companies from IBM to Dell to Amazon to Google are collectively investing billions of dollars in data collection to build models that help them make better, more informed decisions. This is a transformational moment in business and management science," said Professor Dimitris Bertsimas, who co-directs the center, in the school's announcement of the program. "The professional opportunities for our graduates will be extensive.

The $75,000 program will kick off with 30 students, though that's expected to grow to 60 students by 2020. Students will go through three semesters — fall, spring and summer. A 10-week capstone project will put students into small teams onsite at an American or international company to work on a data science problem. Team results will be issued in a written report and oral presentation given to the company and faculty.

MIT expects to draw students who have a strong background in math, computer science and statistics.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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