UA to prepare business students for data science careers with new bachelor’s degree


In today’s highly technical world, businesses are continually challenged with questions that are best answered by applying data science to unending streams of facts and figures. The University of Akron will prepare business students to address these challenges with a new degree program — a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Data Analytics — which launches in fall 2019.

According to a recent article in MIT Sloan Management Review, 59% of managers reported they are using analytics to gain a competitive advantage, yet only 20% of their firms are considered analytic innovators, and 34% stated they are “analytically challenged.” UA developed the interdisciplinary degree in consultation with members of the business community, including the Economics Department Advisory Board, the College of Business Administration Advancement Council and other academic departments.

“There is an immense demand for this degree, as the combination of skills is important for analysts in the finance and insurance industries, two of the largest employers in Northeast Ohio,” said Dr. Michael Nelson, professor and chair of the Department of Economics. “This degree is an especially relevant option for quantitatively oriented students considering business or engineering, two strong areas of study at The University of Akron.” 

The new program is designed to produce graduates who understand the data science practices of acquiring, managing and cleaning data; performing the analysis; reporting results; and communicating them to other professionals in the field. The strong business and economics acumen from a business degree will not only help these graduates properly frame the data analysis questions but will also position them to participate in solutions at the highest levels of business.

While enrolled, students will gain experience applying economic theory in a wide variety of settings bolstered by data analytic coursework. Each course will feature hands-on analysis of real data to ensure students can enter the field with both individual and team-based experiences, making them highly sought-after candidates.  

Students in the program will also earn a SAS certificate in Economic Data Analytics. SAS, the global leader in analytics, currently partners with the Department in its Global Academic Program and was the first in Ohio to offer the certificate. Students also become fluent on other analytics software such as Excel, R and Tableau.

“Though most business leaders recognize the need for analytics, few know how to put them into practice in their own companies,” said Nelson. “UA is excited to offer this type of cutting-edge degree right here in Northeast Ohio.”

In addition to the bachelor’s degree in business data analytics, UA currently offers a business analytics concentration within its Master of Business Administration program for students of the new BBA in Business Data Analytics to continue their training, and this year hosted its inaugural Business Analytics Innovation Summit. For more information on these programs, please visit BBA in Business Data Analytics online.

Media contact: Cristine Boyd, 330-972-6476 or cboyd