CBA introduces new analytics major

By Theresa Evans

Students who are interested in working in a thriving, high-demand industry may want to consider majoring in business analytics, a new program in Rider’s College of Business Administration (CBA).

The program became available to students starting this spring, according to the CBA’s Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs Lan Ma Nygren. On Jan. 22, the first student declared the business analytics major.

“We are entering the analytics 3.0 era wherein data-driven decision-making is embedded in all industries, business functions and employee workflows. Almost all business professionals will need some proficiency in analytics to advance their careers,” said Nygren. “The offering of the business analytics major is a way to advance CBA’s mission of innovating our program offerings to better prepare our students for the fast-changing marketplace.”

Associate professor of information systems and supply chain management William Amadio emphasized the opportunities available to students who have analytical knowledge and skills.

“It is technology that brings data-driven decisions and data-driven functionality to all of the areas of business,” said Amadio. “I would imagine that there are a lot of job interviews going on now where people are being asked, ‘What do you know about analytics?’ and ‘What have you done?’”

Amadio expects that business analytics will be a popular second major along with other majors in the department.

“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for people to achieve a double major because of the nature of the subject,” said Amadio. “A lot of times people think about a major as being confined to a specific field. This major is going to go across all fields.”

Faculty worked with alumni who are in the field to design to program, Amadio said. They intend to “always be in touch with the practice of the profession in addition to the academic content.”

Cynthia Newman, Dean of CBA, said, “I am pleased that our faculty are invested in developing courses and programs of study that are responsive to current and anticipated industry needs in order to prepare CBA students for career success.Providing pathways for our students to the business professions has always been at the heart of the mission of the Rider College of Business Administration.”

According to Nygren, “The business analytics major at Rider is the first Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredited bachelor’s degree in business analytics offered by a private university in New Jersey.”

Nygren mentioned that the areas including New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. have “the highest number of job postings for analytics positions in the nation.”

Vijay Bhan, junior accounting major, said, “This major is going to have a positive effect on students. The importance of business analytics is growing day by day. Business analytics has a lot of of complex components such as big data, which is currently difficult for us to maintain efficiently. Besides the positive effects in the classroom, this field of analytics is upcoming and there is a growing need for people in this field. Whoever graduates from college with a degree in analytics will not have a problem getting a job.”

The program includes 24 credit hours in addition to the business core and general education requirements.

“The six required courses provide core data analytics skills that are ubiquitously applicable for all analytics professionals,” said Nygren. “The two elective courses provide various track options that allow students to customize their program of study based on their choice of career path and interest in a specific industry or a business-functional area, such as marketing, finance, healthcare, supply chain, programming and statistical modeling.”

Nygren highlighted the program’s “experiential learning,” which will be acquired through course projects in various courses. Students will get the opportunity to “apply their analytical skills to solve a real business problem and to communicate their findings to real-world clients.”

“Business students should be excited for this new major,” said Bhan. “Business analytics can be applied with any type of business major and it looks impressive on a résumé. Not just the knowledge of big data will benefit you, business analytics will give you the IT skills to stand out to employers.”

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