UA to offer business analytics program

The Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas is providing an online certificate program in business analytics this fall.

“Right now, one of the biggest things going on in our world is this big data explosion,” said Eli Jones, dean of the Walton College. “Getting the tools – the knowledge – of how to find patterns in big data, that is going to accelerate one’s career. There are people who are looking for people who can make decisions based on big data. There are huge opportunities in this area, and the Walton College is taking a leadership role in addressing that key need.”

The business analytics certificate program provides an online experience focused on learning concepts and techniques in data management, analytics and data mining, according to the UA press release.

Students work with large-scale, real-world data sets from active companies, including Sam’s Club, Tyson Foods Inc., Dillard’s Inc. and Acxiom Corp.

Understanding data patterns and trends helps businesses make better operational and strategic decisions and increases the speed with which these decisions are made. Companies are seeking employees with a skill set that includes at least a foundational understanding of business analytics.

“You cannot find people that already have experience with analytics and big data,” said Avery Nash, expert product executive for Little Rock-based Acxiom. “If you have gone through the business analytics certification at Walton College, we know that you at least know what we are talking about, and you have an interest in it, and you’ve shown some aptitude for it.”

Gary Cooper, senior vice president and chief information officer for Tyson Foods in Springdale, said companies such as his are looking for employees who have the necessary business foundation and an ability to analyze data when discussing a company's return on investment. People who earn this additional certification will become more valuable in the workforce, he said.

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This certificate program – accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – is designed for people who have earned a bachelor’s degree and seek additional skills in business analytics. All coursework is delivered online. The program can be completed in nine to 12 months, and those who complete it may be eligible to receive a certificate endorsed by the SAS Institute. Credit hours in this program may also be applied to the Master of Information Systems degree program offered by the Walton College.

The application deadline for the graduate certificate in business analytics program is July 1, but late applications may be considered on a space-available basis. Email gsb@walton.uark.edu or visit this website for more info.

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