In an era when Big Data is getting, well, much bigger, demand is soaring for professionals who can make sense of all that information while applying insights to increasingly complex business problems. The Graduate Management Admission Council reports that 62% of corporate recruiters plan to hire MSBA graduates in 2021, up from 47% in 2020.
Business schools are responding by offering new programs to teach students not only how to dissect the data but to extract meaning and propose solutions from it. Imperial College of London is the latest B-school to jump into the fray.
Earlier this month, Imperial announced a new bachelor’s degree allowing students to study economics and finance with a focus on data science. The degree, billed as the first undergraduate degree of its kind in the United Kingdom, also offers a new approach to leadership to prepare the next generation of economists, policy experts, and business leaders, the school says. The college’s new BSc in Economics, Finance and Data Science will enroll its first cohort in October 2023.
HOPPING ON THE ANALYTICS BANDWAGON
Over the last few years, business analytics has been among the hottest trends in business education with several schools jumping on the bandwagon including Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. This fall, the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon will launch its first full-time Master’s of Science in Business Analytics for new college graduates who want to supercharge their data science skills and kickstart their careers. And, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, long known as a finance powerhouse, reported that data analytics has become one of its most popular majors in both undergraduate and graduate programs, and has built data science into the core curriculums.
Imperial College of London created its new undergraduate degree in response to employer demand.
“We live in the age of big data and this has revolutionized the workplace and transformed our way of understanding the world’s complexities,” says Pedro Rosa Dias, academic director of the degree.
“In developing this program, the feedback from employers has been clear: we need a new generation of graduates in economics and finance who are able to use data science to guide businesses, public bodies and international organizations in today’s digital economy.”
BIG DATA AND CODING SKILLS EMBEDDED INTO CURRICULUM
In its announcement, Imperial says the new degree reimagines the traditional study of economics and finance by incorporating data science, analytics, and coding skills directly into the curriculum.
“Students will develop the skills needed to succeed in a range of roles in industries such as technology, finance, consulting and the public sector, including central banks, regulatory bodies, think-tanks and international organizations,” the school says. “The program embeds societal impact, diversity and sustainability in its design.”
Students who graduate with the degree will do so having a deep, multidisciplinary understanding of how do use data to inform their decision making, says Emma McCoy, vice provost for education and student experience.
“Education will be the most powerful instigator of our global economic recovery from the pandemic and in addressing global disruption, and the university students of today will be the thought leaders of the future,” McCoy says.
“In launching this degree, Imperial is supporting that next generation to influence the debates that will shape our society for many years to come.”
The program was developed by Imperial’s academics at the forefront of each discipline with input from industry and public policy leaders.
FLEXIBILITY BUILT IN
The degree is designed to take just three years. Students will learn to analyze issues such as climate change, global inequality, financial market dynamics, and drivers of technological innovation through the study of economics and finance. Through data science, students will learn how to use statistics, econometrics, and real-world data to explore the causes of such issues and to propose solutions, according the course website.
Besides the three core competencies–economics, finance, and data science–students will also be required to take required skills courses to prepare them for a career in business. This includes effective communication, emotional intelligence, and other skills employers have identified as essential.
Flexibility has been built into the curriculum. Students are immersed in all core subjects during the first two years with the chance to further specialize in the third year. Electives across all three disciplines will be offered alongside career guidance and mentorship.
Applicants are required to possess strong skills in mathematics, show good analytical and language skills and hold an interest in addressing global issues. Learn more about the new degree at the Imperial College Business School website.