Leads the education, research and practice of business analytics
The Center for Business Analytics (CBA) leads the development of analytical capabilities of Villanova School of Business undergraduate and graduate students. The CBA is organized around the 3 pillars of Curriculum, Research and Practice, which provide focus on the development, execution and tracking of the CBA’s strategic objectives.
The curriculum goals and activities of the CBA provide support to increase and improve the analytics-oriented components of VSB undergraduate and graduate courses, and to produce students competent in current analytics practice and application. Curricular initiatives include the required sophomore Business Analytics course, the 3-course undergraduate analytics minor, and a mix of MBA and undergraduate analytics electives.
Highlights for the 2013-2014 academic year include:
- The Business Analytics course is required of all VSB sophomores, with over 425 students taking the course. The course started in the 2012-2013 year.
- The Business Analytics Minor continued to grow, with a total enrollment of 231 (57 seniors, 96 juniors and 78 sophomores). Five undergraduate analytics electives are offered.
- At the MBA level a concentration in Business Analytics was approved and requires completing 7.5 credits (5 half-semester classes). Six MBA analytics courses are offered.
- An MS in Analytics (MSA) was developed and approved and will be launched during the Fall 2014 semester. The purpose of the MSA is to educate working professionals in the theory and practice of business analytics so that they can become competent analytics professionals. This 33-credit online program consists of foundation (9 credits), core (18 credits) and practicum and capstone (6 credits) courses and can be completed in five semesters or 18 months.
The research goals and activities of the CBA focus on emerging analytics practitioner issues.
Major research highlights during fiscal year 2014 include:
- Research into the factors that influence investment in analytics software and services. The CBA, the IBM Institute for Business Value, and IBM Big Data Industry Marketing completed a research project to develop a predictive model of an organization's decision to invest in analytics. The findings were presented at the IBM Information on Demand Conference in October 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a paper is currently being prepared for publication.
- Cloud Analytics Research: The CBA and CBA Advisory Council firm SAP continued a research project to analyze the extent to which analytics tasks can be performed on different computing devices (laptop and tablet) using software on the cloud. The project scope was refined during the year, and pilot testing is planned during the summer of 2014.
- The Relationship between Supply Chain Metrics and Firm Performance: Using data obtained from SAP, this project seeks to analyze how different clusters of supply chain metrics impact firm performance. The data set has been cleaned and finalized, and analysis is underway.
The practice goals and activities of the CBA are grounded in collaborative interaction with the business community. Throughout the year, the CBA hosts analytics thought leaders and practitioners who share their insights with students, faculty and professionals. The CBA’s Business Analytics Roundtable series brings Villanova faculty and professionals together to share case studies and emerging trends in analytics. The CBA provides VSB students opportunities to develop hands-on analytics experience through paid consulting projects and internships. The CBA supports the newly formed undergraduate Business Analytics Society through sponsorship of case competition teams and hosting networking events for professionals and students to discuss careers in analytics.
Highlights for the 2012-2013 academic year:
- The CBA hosted Tom Davenport, author of Competing on Analytics and Analytics at Work and Alicia Rankin, head of research and customer insights for the NFL, as speakers in the popular “Analytics Thought Leader Lecture” series. Their lectures to students, faculty and business guests were preceded by lunch and in-depth discussions with the CBA Advisory Council and faculty associates.
- The Center for Business Analytics started developing a consulting practice that utilizes analytics to drive business improvement. The consulting project teams are staffed by analytics students who are mentored and managed by experienced professionals and faculty. In the initial consulting project, the CBA was engaged by PECO to analyze customer call data to develop recommendations to improve the forecasting process for PECO’s customer care call centers.
- The CBA was engaged by the Project Management Institute (PMI) for a data mining consulting project to determine the factors that drive membership renewals after the first and second years of membership.
- The CBA sponsored a process improvement workshop facilitated by Valeocon Management Consulting for members of the Business Analytics Society.
- The CBA sponsored a team of MBA students who participated in the Sports Analytics Case Competition at the 2013 MIT Sports Analytics Conference. Based on the success of this initiative, the CBA will sponsor undergraduate and graduate case competition teams at future conferences.