The University of Rochester’s Simon Business School today (Jan. 22) joined the online education revolution by launching its first degree program delivered over the internet: a 14-month-long master’s in business analytics for mid-career professionals. The $53,500 program will welcome its first cohort of between 30 and 50 students in August of this year.
Students who enter the online program also will have three weekend residencies at the start, the middle and the end of the curriculum when they will present the findings of a capstone consulting project. Though Simon has been using online elements in its Executive MBA offering, the Online Masters of Science in Business Analytics for Managers represents the school’s first entry into the online degree market. Some 14 different professors will teach the program. Over the 14 months, students would take two online courses at a time for each seven-week term. Each course will have a weekly two-hour class live online.
The school has chosen its first online degree program in one of the hottest fields of business education. Business analytics has become the fastest growing master’s programs in business and a field that has become increasingly popular with students and their potential employers. “Businesses today need managers who can harness the power of analytics to make data-informed decisions, manage risks and increase efficiencies,” explains Simon Dean Sevin Yeltekin. “This program will teach managers how best to evaluate investments in analytics, determine which tools and data are most critical, and leverage the results to support company goals and add value to their organization.”
WILL MAKE SUPPORT OF CAREER GOALS A MAJOR PRIORITY IN PROGRAM
Simon already has a portfolio of full-time master’s programs in business analytics, marketing analytics, finance and accountancy. For this online program, Simon is targeting fully employed, mid-career professionals. “We are looking at both aspiring analytics people who want to understand how to connect it better to the business and also for people who have more experience, three plus years,” says Mitch Lovett, senior associate dean of education and innovation. “They have to have some business context in mind already.”
Simon is getting into the market after extensive benchmarking of other programs. “Many programs are oriented toward pre-experience,” adds Lovett. “We are focused on managers and people with some experience. The emphasis is on what a manager needs to leverage data and analytics. There are lots of pre-experience analytics programs out there but this space isn’t as well tread. We also are thinking about not just tools but the analytics design: how you connect the tools to decisions in context. We also built into the program the leadership and communication pieces that are important” to help managers apply what they learn in a work environment.”
Even though the program would require a commitment of between 10 to 20 hours per week, allowing students to maintain their full-time positions, the school says that supporting career goals is a top priority. Students will receive career coaching support from the Simon’s Benet Career Management Center to ensure they are positioned for advancement and prepared for and receive exposure to recruiters.
A ‘HIGH TOUCH’ VERSION OF AN ONLINE LEARNING EXPERIENCE
The program, says Lovett, has been in development “for a while. We are leveraging the lessons we learned from the online experiments we did during the pandemic. For companies, the hard parts are not the data anymore. Companies have all this data. The hard part is what do you do with it. And helping people translate it so they can do something with it.”
The school wanted to do a more “high touch” version of online learning which is why the program is designed with three residencies. “We’ll have a long weekend on campus at the beginning to kick things off and orient students to the program,” says Lovett. “We’ll have another in the middle of the program, in the spring, and that is done to connect pieces of the curriculum with the leadership and organizational components. And then we’ll end when we bring the group back together for a closing activity for the projects with presentations to the clients.” Those projects can either be assigned or a student might decide to work on a challenge for their current employer, adds Lovett.
Applications are being accepted now and the first 14-month class will begin August 2022. The school has set a round one application deadline of Feb. 15, with decisions by March 30th. For applicants to its earliest deadline, Simon will consider candidates for scholarship support. The round two deadline is April 15, with decisions due May 30th, while the third and final deadline is June 15th, with decisions released on July 30th.
For more information, visit www.simon.rochester.edu/programs/online-msba