As demand for data-savvy business professionals escalates, the Villanova School of Business (VSB) has positioned itself at the right place at the right time. After being among the first business schools to offer analytics, VSB’s latest initiatives put analytics at the core of the curriculum to prepare students to understand data and use it wisely.
VSB’s entry into analytics wasn’t a matter of luck. Several years ago, VSB faculty sought input from industry leaders on how students could be better prepared for the corporate world and most called for a stronger emphasis on problem-solving with data.
Business Analytics provides students the understanding of business intelligence, business performance management and business tools such as statistical analysis and data mining.
An Early Adopter
VSB introduced a required analytics course in 2012—well ahead of other business schools.
“We needed a course that blended theory with practice, so we designed one from the ground up,” explains Daniel Wright, PhD, faculty director of the Center for Business Analytics. “When students saw how analytics applied in a business context, they wanted more.”
VSB responded by launching the Business Analytics minor in 2012 and within a year, it became the most popular minor within VSB. The online Master of Science in Analytics (MSA) followed in 2014 and has experienced a 354 percent increase in student enrollment since. Today, undergraduates can also pursue a Business Analytics co-major to go deeper on business intelligence and data mining and pursue an applied project using advanced analytics.
A Data Infusion
Still, employers wanted more. Last year, KPMG partnered with VSB to build a graduate-level program tailored to the particular data and analytic needs of KPMG’s audit practice. VSB applied what they learned from that experience to now puts more emphasis on transforming accounting data into actionable intelligence. Similar efforts are also underway with undergraduates.
Through the Center for Business Analytics, Dr. Wright works with business leaders to give students hands-on experience with data through real-life consulting projects and direct exposure to companies using analytics.
“Across all our programs, we’re focused on developing leaders who can not only understand data, but leverage it to derive insights that propel businesses forward,” explains Dr. Wright.
VSB Analytics Timeline
Center for Analytics Established
Business Analytics Minor
Required Analytics Course
Business Analytics Student Society
Master of Science in Analytics
MBA Specialization in Analytics
Business Analytics Co-Major
KPMG Master of Accounting with Analytics
MSA earns #1 ranking in US News and World Report’s Best Online Graduate Business Programs