Wayne State launching new data science and analytics master’s program this fall

The Wayne State University Board of Governors recently approved the establishment of a new, highly innovative master of science in data science and business analytics (MSDSBA) program, offered jointly by the College of Engineering and the Mike Ilitch School of Business. Admission will begin in January in anticipation of the program’s fall 2017 launch.

Analytics is a fast-growing STEM field with a high demand for individuals who possess the skills and expertise necessary to navigate the process of transforming data into insight for making sound business decisions.

“While a lot of programs have been created in recent years, most of them tend to focus on just technology or analytics or the business case,” said Ratna Babu Chinnam, one of the directors of the Big Data Group at Wayne State. The novel and interdisciplinary MSDSBA program is designed to give graduates a balanced core of computing, business, statistics and operations research skills to identify, analyze and solve analytics problems.

The program offers specialized training in order for students to integrate those skills in an interdisciplinary fashion, preparing graduates to succeed in various business, industry and government careers.

“There is a critical shortage of good talent in the Midwest, and the program hopes to produce a stream of high-quality graduates in the years to come,” said Chinnam.

 “The depth of the commitment that Wayne State has made in the area of big data and business analytics is very refreshing and quite impressive,” said Jim Anderson, CEO of Urban Science and a College of Engineering Hall of Fame inductee. “Students should be interested in the area because it is the future.”

Anderson and Urban Science are among the industry experts and companies who have participated in Wayne State’s Big Data and Business Analytics Symposium, held every March since 2014. Representatives from DTE Energy, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Chrysler, Henry Ford Health System, Quicken Loans, IBM and many other corporations have expressed a strong interest in Wayne State establishing a master’s program of this kind.

“While the symposia have started to address the need within the business community for better understanding the business case and effective design and deployment of big data systems, technologies and processes, this program seeks to address the talent gap,” said Chinnam.

The MSDSBA program is a collaboration of the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the College of Engineering, as well as several departments from the Mike Ilitch School of Business.

“The business school’s role is to provide a broad perspective to the role and importance of analytics to business,” said Mike Ilitch School of Business Associate Dean Toni Somers. “A primary focus is on pursuing ‘analytics that matter’— those that are associated with sustainable competitive advantage.”

The MSDSBA program requires students to complete a minimum of 30 credits, including 24 credits in coursework and a six-credit practicum final project with industry.

Applicants must meet requirements for admission to the Wayne State University Graduate School. Students must have earned a bachelor’s or its equivalent in engineering or business from an accredited college or university. Students from all STEM disciplines will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.

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