Responding to a projected shortage of analytical experts, the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business will launch a degree program focused on managing and analyzing big data.
Classes begin in fall 2013 for the M.S. in Business for Marketing Analytics. The curriculum will equip its graduates to harness and process massive amounts of data to help design products, predict the effects of marketing campaigns, and better understand customers.
“The recent presidential campaign illustrates this field’s surging importance,” said Smith marketing professor Wendy Moe, who is directing the new program. “A large team of analysts feeding an enormous volume of public data into many strategies was vital to President Obama’s re-election.”
A recent McKinsey report identifies “big data” as the “next frontier of innovation.” However, a shortfall of specialists in this field could reach 190,000 by 2018 for U.S. employers, the study warns. This trend has prompted Merkle to partner with Smith by providing scholarships for the new 30-credit, nine-month program.
Collaborating with Merkle and other potential corporate partners, Smith faculty will guide students through lessons in the classroom to real business problems. Students will access the same data that companies are using to create competitive advantage.
"Today’s top companies are leveraging the power of business intelligence in new and exciting ways," said Moe. “Our program will provide a hands-on knowledge of the quantitative models needed to analyze the massive stores of customer and marketing data inundating companies today.”
Prospective marketing analytics specialists should have a strong background in quantitative disciplines such as mathematics, physics and engineering and be ready to adapt those skills to business and marketing, Moe added.