The evolving analytics sector, and why the Villanova MSA may be right for you

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Villanova’s Master of Science in Analytics is one of the most renowned business degrees in the country today. As one of the two online programs offered by the Villanova School of Business that was ranked as the #4 online graduate business program in the nation by U.S News & World Report, Villanova’s online MSA can propel you toward a successful and profitable career in a range of industries.

Analytics skills are becoming vital to a wider range of organizations each year, and there is currently a significant talent gap that is preventing those entities from finding the right candidates. Well-rounded, informed and trained professionals will have plenty of opportunities to work in the fields that interest them, and this training begins with a master’s degree program.

Before deciding if Villanova’s MSA is the right program for you, it will be helpful to have a general idea of the current state of analytics in the private and public sectors. This is one of the fastest-growing areas of the global economy because of its value in the context of exponentially rising data volumes.

Big data

The best place to begin in the analytics discussion is big data, which is arguably the most exciting and widely-discussed component of all. Gartner estimated that, globally, organizations would spend about $17 billion on business intelligence (BI) and analytics technology in 2016, representing a 5.2 percent increase from the year prior. Not surprisingly, the bulk of the investment is going toward platforms and software.

“The shift to the modern BI and analytics platform has now reached a tipping point,” Gartner Management Vice President Ian Bertram explained. “Organizations must transition to easy-to-use, fast and agile modern BI platforms to create business value from deeper insights into diverse data sources.”

Many organizations are embracing the types of processes and personnel that are necessary to drive a big-data and advanced-analytics strategy, with the understanding that the software is only one facet within a much more complex mechanism.

“To get the full benefit of modern BI and analytics platforms, leaders must rethink most aspects of their current IT-centric, centralized analytics deployments, including technology, roles and responsibilities, organizational models, governance processes, and leadership,” Bertram added.

Big data and analytics are also top of mind for many executives. According to the annual 2016 Big Decisions Survey from PwC, 48 percent of the more than 2,000 decision-makers polled consider their companies highly data driven. Executives also want decision-making to happen at a quicker pace, and a number find predictive and prescriptive analytics powerful in their industries.

“Data can be an extremely underutilized tool, and a company’s capability to access the right data, at the right time, and then look at it through the right lens, can make or break a bottom line,” Dan DiFilippo, PwC’s Global and US Data and Analytics Leader, explained in a press release. “Leaders are stuck at a crossroads, with 28 percent of decision-makers polled stating that they’re just trying to survive in a state of disruption.”

Overall, the PwC survey emphasized the need for a holistic approach to big data. Collection is the foundation, but companies also need to assess how collection occurs, which questions need answers and which staff members can own and manage the analytics process.

What it takes to succeed

The American Management Association lists the following core skills that organizations need to fuel their analytics programs:

  • General technology knowledge for the latest and most quickly growing solutions, devices and more
  • Ability to conceptualize analysis following the aggregation of results
  • Strong interpretation skills to turn those valuable insights into actionable items that a company can employ
  • Big-data acumen that takes the advanced analytics knowledge to the next level right from the launch of a new project
  • Leadership skills within the organization to better manage and orchestrate analytics projects

For these reasons and many more, individuals interested in starting a rewarding career based upon analytics will need to choose a school that goes above and beyond simple technological talent development. The program must transcend hard facts and enable forward thinking, leadership and advanced data-interpretation skills.

Well-rounded, prepared graduates

Analytics technology and the pressures it places on organizations are evolving and intensifying rapidly. Strong training will provide aspiring analytics professionals with the tools to succeed in this fast-growing field. Villanova’s MSA program stands apart from other online programs because of the following:

  • An application process that looks at a much wider variety of factors than just grade point average, work experience and similar traditional application items. Ideal applicants are also collaborative and creative.
  • Custom-designed curriculum that focuses on the most current needs of business today
  • Leadership-oriented coursework to prepare graduates not only to succeed as data analysts, but also spearhead and manage projects
  • A combination of diverse coursework to produce the most well-rounded analytics professionals in the country, allowing them to help their employers transform in the coming years
  • Favoring of applicants that combine strong academic histories with creativity, passion and a desire to disrupt the common norms involved in the analytics arena

If you are interested in becoming one of the leading minds in the analytics arena, consider applying to a top-ranked program such as Villanova’s online Master of Science and Analytics.

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