The Right Place for Business Analytics

The Right Place for Business Analytics

George Karaphillis

Cape Breton University is a public, co-ed, primarily undergraduate university founded in1974. It is located in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada. It is the only post-secondary degree-granting institute within the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and Cape Breton Island. The university serves more than 5,500 full-time and part-time students from local, regional, and national locations. CBU is also the academic home of over 2,000 international students representing more than 50 countries.

CBU has ranked 19th in MacLean’s Primarily Undergraduate university rankings since 2018.  The university ranked 6th overall in their 2021 student satisfaction survey; a high placement in the most important ranking.

The institution offers diverse programs to cater to the needs of the present and future. It provides a total of 78 programs for its students. Of them, four programs have been added recently,  which include a program in business analytics,  and these popular programs have been gaining momentum.

The Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Business Analytics is valuable in the real world, as businesses are looking towards data and analytics for improved business planning and decision making. This program can equip the students to deal with actual business decisions by using data and statistics.


Motive Behind Setting Up the Institution

Cape Breton University (CBU) was established in response to the community’s demand for a strong institution of higher learning in the region. The Shannon School of Business of Cape Breton University values this legacy and retains its strong connection to the community and industry. It has been attracting a large number of local and international students every year. The Business Analytics Post-Baccalaureate Diploma program is an example of niche programming that builds on the strengths of the institution to meet the specific needs of the industry. The mission behind establishing this university is to attend to the needs of the community in pursuing higher education.


Creating a Holistic Environment

The main campus of Cape Breton University is in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. Cape Breton Island continues to be lauded as one of the most beautiful islands in the world and offers the perfect setting for university studies. The Shannon School of Business has its own building on the main campus of CBU and it has been offering post-secondary programs for over 40 years, with thousands of graduates earning either a general degree or a major or concentration in a specialized area of Business.

The Shannon School of Business currently offers Bachelor and Master Degrees, and Post-Baccalaureate Diploma programs in Business Management, Supply Chain Management, Health Care Management, and Business Analytics.


A Breakdown of the Course Curriculum

The Diploma in Business Analytics is a focused university program in the high-demand field of Business Analytics. This is a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma program that is aimed at university graduates who have already obtained a bachelor’s degree. The course provides an opportunity to students who have strong mathematical skills, and who are willing to pursue studies in business analytics. As the discipline pursued at an undergraduate level may not be sufficient to face the competitive world, this diploma program can complement and add value to any degree.

The program provides a strong foundation in statistics, databases, and marketing research. In the first year, students are introduced to statistical analysis, quantitative methods, and database approaches. In the second year, the curriculum focuses on data mining techniques, data visualization, and predictive modeling. The final semester provides the opportunity to work with an organization to apply their newly acquired analytics skills in a specific project.

The courses are delivered through interactive classrooms and labs, with fewer students to facilitate the student-to-instructor method of learning. The lectures are delivered by highly qualified professors who hold doctorate degrees along with strong industry experience.  Business Analytics and applied diploma programs are fine examples of programs of Cape Breton University that are designed to deliver transferable skills to the industry.


Preparing Students to be Future Ready

The post-baccalaureate diploma program in Business Analytics is one of the very few such programs delivered by a Canadian public university.  It focuses on strong fundamentals and on transferable skills. This program includes a variety of specialized courses that are not easily found in one single program.

Cape Breton University is committed to hiring faculty with strong skills and providing them with the tools and resources needed to deliver a world-class program. CBU’s Business Analytics program employs highly qualified professors to build a strong foundation in critical concepts through applied approaches to the subject matter.  It is determined to train students with a variety of tools to analyze data and make business decisions. The curriculum includes database concepts, statistical analysis, and applied research methods.


The Practical Exposure of the Course

Every course of CBU programs includes practical exercises, assignments, and projects.

In the last semester, students have an opportunity to do a 12-week internship placement with a business, community organization, or government agency, or complete a capstone project.  Through this training, students get an opportunity to apply their skills to an analytics project.


The Leader’s Thoughts on the Changing Industry Landscape

George Karaphillis is the Dean of the Shannon School of Business, Cape Breton University, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada. George reflected on his life and said, “My undergraduate studies were in Science and Engineering and my graduate studies were in Business.  I believe that science, innovation, and responsible management, with the community in mind, are what advances society. I have a strong appreciation of the importance of facts and information.  I believe that analytics provides intelligence and insights that can enable managers and leaders to make better decisions”.

A couple of years ago the institution decided to build on resources and to establish specialized diploma programs that can help university graduates attain skills that are in strong demand by the industry. The Business Analytics diploma program was the university’s highest priority; it is a fine example of its specialized programs that are in demand by students and industry.

The emergence of large data sets and the sophisticated methods used by businesses to analyze big data have created many career positions in the economy and this is what motivated CBU to develop the post-baccalaureate diploma program in Business Analytics. The institution believes that four trends are fueling data growth and job demand:  cloud computing, a shift in emphasis from transaction processing to in
teraction processing, the growth of mobile data, and the significant improvements in quantitative modeling software.

According to George, organizations that are able to make sense of collected and stored data tend to use these insights to differentiate their offerings and meet their customers’ needs and wants. Business Analytics has become an integral part of modern business management; it has provided critical strategic advantages for various companies and public agencies.


Universities Contributions Towards Analytics and Data Science

The popularity and functionality of advanced big data methodologies have opened several opportunities for jobs. Business Analytics is more than analyzing data; it is about making better decisions to create value and impact. CBU’s program has been strongly emphasizing this concept. This way the university is able to prepare students to provide their value to business firms.


Overcoming Roadblocks in the Field of Analytics

Cape Breton University believes that analytics is a mainstream business function and it should not be reserved for programmers, coders, and data scientists only. The major challenge was to clear the confusion of the role of analytics in business and the difference between data science and analytics. Since analytics is a broad discipline, CBU’s Business Analytics diploma takes a truly broad approach towards the subject. It incorporates the use of database mining and statistical analysis in analyzing data and gaining insights towards making better business decisions. This is how CBU has overcome its biggest challenge.


The Thriving Future of Analytics Education

The growth of business analytics education in the future will most probably outpace the growth that IT education experienced in the 80s and 90s. The widespread use of web, mobile devices by businesses, institutions, and consumers have been generating immense mountains of data. The world is awash with digital data, but it certainly is not awash with professionals who are skilled to analyze and make sense of the data.

Cape Breton University believes that there is a large-scale need in an area of strategic importance. The shortage of business data analysts is a significant limitation to the growth of the economy.  CBU realised the rising role of business analytics specialists in the future across various industries.