Is data analytics the new ‘plastics’?

by Grace


In “The Graduate”, recent college graduate Ben receives advice from an old family friend.

Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you -just one word.
: : : Ben: Yes sir.
: : : Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
: : : Ben: Yes I am.
: : : Mr. McGuire: ‘Plastics.’
: : : Ben: Exactly how do you mean?
: : : Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?
: : : Ben: Yes I will.
: : : Mr. McGuire: Shh! Enough said. That’s a deal.

Is data analytics the new plastics?  If so, even traditionally math-phobic marketing students may be forced to confront mathematics and statistics courses.

Faced with an increasing stream of data from the Web and other electronic sources, many companies are seeking managers who can make sense of the numbers through the growing practice of data analytics, also known as business intelligence. Finding qualified candidates has proven difficult, but business schools hope to fill the talent gap.

This fall several schools, including Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, are unveiling analytics electives, certificates and degree programs; other courses and programs were launched in the previous school year….

Data analytics was once considered the purview of math, science and information-technology specialists. Now barraged with data from the Web and other sources, companies want employees who can both sift through the information and help solve business problems or strategize. For example, luxury fashion company Elie Tahari Ltd. uses analytics to examine historical buying patterns and predict future clothing purchases. Northeastern pizza chain Papa Gino’s Inc. uses analytics to examine the use of its loyalty program and has succeeded in boosting the average customer’s online order size….

Fordham this fall will introduce a required analytics course—Marketing Analytics —for M.B.A. students on its marketing track. “Historically, students go into marketing because, they ‘don’t do numbers,'”said Dawn Lerman, director of the business school’s Center for Positive Marketing. But these days, with so much data available surrounding consumer behavior, “you can’t hide from math and statistics and be a good marketer.”


Three more words:  21st Century Skills

ADDED:

As the use of analytics grows quickly, companies will need employees who understand the data. A May study from McKinsey & Co. found that by 2018, the U.S. will face a shortage of 1.5 million managers who can use data to shape business decisions.

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