VSB Online MSA Analytic Tools

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Nathan Coates: Getting a master’s of science in analytics opens a bunch of doors. What’s happening in business as a whole is that analytics is being applied across every business function. So, the key to doing well, I think, is having analytics literacy, which you certainly learn here as part of the MSA program. Tools that we use range from simple add ons to Excel to industrial grade applications optimization software like CPLEX, which is a simulation software, Arena. We use analytics software Arm, which is an open source program as well as proprietary software like Jump.

Also, my favorite course here is simulation. Simulation really helps you to be able to model a program. So, after this course and after learning the simulation tool, I feel really confident that any business problem that comes up that requires a change to an existing business process, let’s say, I can model it, collect data on the simulations that run, watch it unfold, see how it works, and then analyze the data and be able to go to a decision maker and say I think we should institute this change and here’s the numbers to back it up.

So, I’m working on the practicum right now. The practicum is the capstone of the course and this is where you apply everything you’ve learned, all the tools and techniques that you’ve learned to work with a Fortune 500 company with an actual problem that they have. And so not only do you interact with the company, you’re working with the professors and fellow students to help them solve a real world problem. And the great part is, the company wants to hear from you. You are the expert at this point. So, it’s very exciting.