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Columbia Business School dean says this skill set is necessary for MBA success

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To sydney lakeJune 8, 2022 at 8:20 PM

Students on the laneway in front of Columbia University Earl Hall, as seen in September 2020.

Not everyone can be a business analyst, but they should know how to work with data. This is the message Columbia Business School is sending to current and future students and alumni about its emphasis on business analytics as part of his full-time MBA program. luck 6th place nationwide.

A growing number of MBA graduates are taking on roles that require skill sets beyond traditional business degrees. Danwan, a professor at his School of Columbia Business, calls these jobs “comprehensive and cross-cutting.” These include the increasingly popular product management, analytical marketing, and strategy roles that require MBA graduates to work with business analysts and engineers.

“Getting students accustomed to understanding the dynamics and business models that truly defy traditional MBA training is extremely important,” says Wang. luck. And while MBA graduates don’t have to be full masters in coding and data engineering, it’s not uncommon for students to be asked coding questions during interviews, adds Daniel Guetta, another CBS professor.

“As businesses evolve, we’ve seen MBA graduates evolve, too.” “The expectation is not to be able to code. It is important to be able to communicate.”

To get ahead of the demand curve for these new skill sets, Columbia Business School began integrating business analytics into its core curriculum nearly a decade ago. CBS students now have the opportunity to take more advanced classes in subject areas such as Analytics in Action. In this class, MBA students are paired with engineering students to complete an external consulting project for a local company. Another of his CBS professors, Daniel Ames, also teaches his Immersive Teamwork. In this course, students can role-play as analysts and engineers to teach the MBA better team functions.

These courses aren’t “just for students who want to learn technology,” said CBS professor Omar Besbes. luck“This is for any student looking to have a successful business career.”

luck We asked Costis Maglaras, dean of the business school, to find out more about why business analytics has become a pillar of his MBA program.

The interview below has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Integrate business analytics into your MBA program

Why was it important for CBS to add business analytics to its core curriculum?

Curriculum evolves organically over time. For us, business analytics was a very intentional change and a very big one. We started introducing algorithmic decision-making and machine learning and ideas from there basically 10 years ago.

About seven years ago we were more cautious to roll out more courses in that era. That’s when we introduced these Python classes. This is when we introduced Analytics in Action, the sequel to Business Analytics. This is a project course in which engineering students and MBA students participate together. It’s time to grow the technical strategy course.

Some of these courses have grown since that time and then scaled up to keep up with student interest.There are currently 500 students taking Python. This is 500 out of 800. why is that important? Well, being a programmer is not important for an MBA graduate. That’s not what our students are trying to do. Maybe they will code a little. Maybe they are a little more data savvy. But they all probably need to work with the people who write the code.

What can an MBA student gain from a business analytics course?

They work with data scientists. It doesn’t matter if you go to a tech company or not. If you go to a consulting firm and you’re currently doing a project in consulting, be it BCG, Bain, or whatever your favorite strategy consulting firm is, most likely there are some business people (MBA type, call them) on the team. Bishou) is there. they have data scientists. They have designers. We have user experience experts. Such teams make up 40-50-60% of the projects done at these companies.

Same goes for going to the bank. If you do technology, obviously the same thing. If you go to retail (most of which are online now), it’s the same thing. As such, the vast majority of students must be technology literate upon graduation. I believe they should collaborate, collaborate, manage and lead cross-functional teams regardless of their career path. It’s very important to have a little understanding of the people you work with, the tools, and how they can help you.

Another thing you’ll learn in this class, or one like it, is algorithmic thinking. Today, at one level, we work in a software-based, data-driven, algorithmic economy. How these components interact, how a series of decisions are made, and how it actually changes product design, changes pricing, and changes customer satisfaction. , understand what changes the way people interact with you. I think it’s very important. It’s a valuable skill.

Students eventually really take these courses. Some are about learning tools. Some of them are about learning how the tools are transforming different functions and different areas (wealth management, accounting, digital marketing, or visual product management). They are best prepared for what comes next.

The Difference Between an MBA and a Master’s Degree in Business Analytics

Why Comparing an MBA to a Master’s Degree in Business Analysis?

You’re asking the right person, since I designed an MS in business analytics that I’m doing in collaboration with the engineering department. About half a dozen years ago, I was the one who designed that joint degree.

I honestly think they are different. I think an MSBA, or a degree in its form, is the best way to prepare students to become data scientists and analysts. Often these same individuals follow his career path in strategy and management rather than in that field.

But an MBA degree prepares you for a great career in managing and leading teams. The business world of today and tomorrow is digital, so we need to prepare our students and help our graduates succeed in the digital future of business. That includes actually learning about analytics, how to perform analytics, and understanding how software is now like a corporate operating system.

There is also a synergistic effect. There is a course that brings these two populations together. Analytics in Action, a project course co-led by my colleague Daniel Guetta, puts teams of students in pairs of an MBA student and his MSBA student. These teams travel and work on company projects. I think it’s totally synergistic. In fact, the ability to put this small program aside is very successful, which is interesting. Because there is an opportunity to bring these two groups together in a very organic way.

Columbia University is committed to retraining alumni

Can graduates also access these courses?

The skill set required to succeed in business is evolving rapidly thanks to technology. If he graduated from this school in the 90’s or 2000’s and wanted to be a marketing professional, today he would be trained in a completely different way than if he graduated in a week.

As a result, all graduates have the opportunity to provide what I call lifelong learning. And made it a strategic priority. In fact, we launched our lifelong learning platform, Alumni Edge, a week before he entered lockdown in 2020. This was one of the first things he did as dean. The idea there is that we are in the business of building incredible careers for our students and best preparing them to succeed in their current and future businesses. We have taken many of these courses and are in a great position to offer them to our graduates as well.

I think we can all benefit from a reorganization and retraining of our tools. With the content and curriculum available, why not do it? It’s something we will continue to do. I think that is correct. Technology has changed business significantly in the last 10-20 years, and this trend will continue for some time. We strive to be at the forefront of that.