Governors State Offers Master's Degree in Business Analytics
“There's always going to be data but business analytics gives you the ability to draw insight from that data in order to give business leaders and decision makers information that they otherwise would not be able to derive quickly,’’ said Edward Hobson (BA, '11)
Speaking from his office in the Amazon Fulfillment Office, Senior Manager of Production Planning Analytics Edward Hobson knows what businesses need from Governors State University (GSU) graduates.
“If you enjoy data there’s probably nothing better than business analytics,” said Hobson, a 2011 GSU graduate whose Bachelor of Business Administration degree carried a specialization in Accounting and Finance.
The trend toward analyzing data to drive processes and efficiencies that ultimately boost the bottom line is what prompted Governors State to offer a new Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) beginning this fall.
“There's always going to be data but business analytics gives you the ability to draw insight from that data in order to give business leaders and decision makers information that they otherwise would not be able to derive quickly,’’ said Hobson.
To Governors Sate MSBA Coordinator Professor David Green, these skills are invaluable for one of the world’s fastest growing fields.
“Businesses generate large quantities of data but often fail to use the data in a meaningful and consistent way,” Green said. “Our MSBA program equips you with the skills to solve real-world problems and add value to organizations. Not only will you discover how to properly utilize the tools and methodologies of business analytics, but you will learn the benefits of effective teamwork and collaboration as well."
The MSBA program will begin this fall, offering coursework that involves hands-on experience with modern software tools such as Python, SQL, Excel, IBM, DB2, SAP Predictive Analytics, SAS Visual Analytics, Tableau, SAP ERP HANA, SAP Business Objects, and Teradata.
At Amazon, Hobson is already using the skills and software that will be taught in Business Analytics as the cornerstone of his work—and he requires it of all new hires.
“When I’m writing job descriptions I'm requiring an understanding of Python SQL, our data visualizations database,” he said. “Our approach to production planning is very precise. We utilize machine learning models to forecast out most of the assumptions that go into planning for all of our sites.”
Reflecting on his time at GSU, Hobson knows the trajectory of his career would have differed had the master’s degree in business analytics been available. “Quite honestly, my team would be much further ahead than we are today. I would have gotten where I currently am a lot faster and been ahead of the curve,” he said.
By virtue of its Will County location, the university benefits from an emerging supply chain logistics hub in the area. Companies such as Amazon, which opened a distribution center in Monee in 2017, are attracted to the area’s resources, including a transit corridor.
Governors State students are a natural choice as nearby businesses develop talent pipelines.
Hobson, now Chair of the Supply Chain Innovation Center and Business Incubator Advisory Board at (GSU), says he is grateful for the preparation he received and the guidance of the professors.
“What Governors State offers that's unique is many of the professors that I've encountered have academic, as well as a lot of industry knowledge. Graduating with the ability to be more empirical than theoretical with your educational background prepares you for the workforce significantly better,” he said.