Business Analytics Course

Course Description

This course is intended for the graduate student who is interested in developing a portfolio of skills in business analytics. Class discussions will be based on case situations and on articles from business and technical publications. The class will include substantial hands-on work in data collection, analysis, and interpretation.

Course Learning Objectives

The course learning objectives include:

  1. Data collection: using tools to collect and organize data (e.g., Google Analytics)
  2. Data analysis: identify patterns in the data via visualization, statistical analysis, and data mining
  3. Strategy and decisions: develop alternative strategies based on the data
  4. Implementation: develop a plan of action to implement the business decisions

Technical Skill Development

Students will gain advanced hands-on experience with a number of analytical tools including advanced Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, Google Analytics, R Programming and Tableau data visualization. Specific Excel topics covered include data manipulation, regression, financial modeling, dashboards and sensitivity analysis.

I have designed this program for a very diverse population. If you have a degree in computer science our coursework will reinforce what you are doing. If you come in with a softer background you can pursue a curriculum that focuses on more business concepts such as finance or accounting. We look for students who we are confident they will be able to handle the coursework.

– Don Harter, Associate Dean of Masters Programs

Video Transcript

Welcome to Business Analytics. My name is Don Harter, and I’m the professor for this class. I’m a nontraditional academic professor. I grew up in Ohio, got my bachelor’s degree in math, my master’s degree in statistics, and went off to industry and work for a research think-tank for 18 years doing research in a variety of topics. Over the next 18 years, I moved up through the corporation. I eventually became senior vice president and general manager for midwestern operations, doing work in statistics, mathematics, technology, and strategy. While I was a vice president for the company, I went back and earned my MBA part time. So I’m a lot like you; I went to school part time while I was working full time. After 18 years I felt a need to try to help managers progress in their career more than I could do in a corporation itself, so I decided to go back to the university and get my PhD so I could actually teach people how to do things better. I returned to Carnegie Mellon University, earned a master’s and a PhD in information systems and specialized in artificial intelligence at the time. After graduation, I went to the University of Michigan and became an assistant professor. In 2003, I joined Syracuse University, became an associate professor and now associate dean, at this time, of all the master’s programs in the Syracuse University Whitman School of Management. During my time in academia, I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve earned four teaching awards, two at Syracuse and two at Carnegie Mellon.

Let me tell you a little bit about the structure of this course. I’ve designed the course to provide you an understanding and the hands-on skills necessary to perform business analytics yourself and to actually leverage your talent within a corporation. I want you to be able to walk away with the tools necessary to perform your job better. You’re going to learn more than just the skills; you’re going to learn how to apply them in your corporate environment. Specifically, I’m going to teach you how to visualize data, how to model data, how to optimize solutions, so you can actually apply those to your business environment. Each week, you’re going to get a very concise overview of the topics for that week, and then we’re going to use hands-on exercises to get you the real live skills necessary to solve problems in your corporations. These hands-on lessons are designed to operate at your own pace. You can move faster or slower throughout each week depending on how well you know the material and how much time it takes you to learn them.

I’m excited about this course, because analytics is a very hot topic right now. I’m also excited, because it brings to bear my mathematics degree, my statistics degree, my MBA, and my information systems background all at once into one course. And I’m excited because it gives you the opportunity to see how all these fields come together and can better help your own corporation. So, how can you be successful in this course: pay attention, and definitely don’t fall behind. There’s a lot of hands-on activity work, and it’s important you keep up to date as we go through the course. When you hit something that’s not very clear, ask questions—some of the concepts will be fuzzy and new to you—and participate on a regular basis. Be an active part of this course. At the end of this course, you’ll have a powerful set of tools that you can leverage in the marketplace. I look forward to seeing you every week in class.