Campus News

School of Business adds analytics graduate program to boost job search

Students in the new program emphasized its importance in finding a job.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

This semester, graduate students in the Wisconsin School of Business are able to enroll in a program completely dedicated to business analytics. 

Introduced in fall 2019, the degree hopes to optimize experiential learning through real-world computing projects and a variety of industry specific analytics courses — a skill many students feel they lack coming out of undergrad.

Rachel Hyland, a student in the Business Analytics Graduate Program, stressed a gap in her undergraduate education while job-hunting after earning her degree. 

“The main focus of the assessment for a job at McKinsey was on machine learning — a technology I had heard of but had never learned,” Hyland said. “Right now, I’m in a class on machine learning as a part of the program. This class along with the rest of my classes so far have made me feel much more prepared for the job search.”  

A number of companies, alumni and students have been invited to the “Business Analytics Industry Meet-Up” on Oct. 24, where the business school plans on asking companies to partner with them to give their students opportunities for real-world experience.

Kristin Branch, Director of the Business Analytics Graduate Program, urges students who are interested in the program to register and attend the event to learn more information, as well as network with professionals.

The purpose of the program is to help students learn necessary statistics and programming tools to turn data into business decisions and recommendations — which will ultimately prepare them for the 21st century style of business, according to Branch. 

As a former UW-Madison student, Branch raves about the doors this program will open for graduates not only in the business industry, but those in many science, technology, engineering and math-related careers as well.

“If this program had been available when I was a student here, it would have been awesome. But I’m not sure how applicable it would’ve been back then,” Branch said. “This skill is really current in today’s industry.” 

Twenty years ago, a course like this probably would not have been necessary — or even desirable. Yet in today’s climate, analytical skills have quickly become essential to many companies, according to Branch.

“When I was searching for potential careers during my senior year, I did not feel like I was qualified for many of the positions I was interested in,” Hyland said. “There were also several skills assessments I took as a part of my job search during which I was completely lost.” 

In addition to the new graduate program, UW-Madison implemented eight new analytics-based courses to their undergraduate curriculum in order to better prepare students pursuing a degree in the business school.

“Campus has seen an explosion of analytical majors, courses, and studies,” Branch said. “This is such a great opportunity for you Badgers to learn how to apply analytics to the business world.”

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