A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that specialized single-year master’s programs in data-driven business analytic’s are all the rage. No fewer than five top graduate business programs have released stand-alone programs in the past couple of years. These programs signal a shift in focus for post-graduate business schooling. Students are no longer gravitating toward general “business” degrees. They are looking for education that combines both business skills and a modern understanding of data science.
While some education traditionalists remain skeptical, the students, flocking to these programs by the score, are convinced they are on the right track. They see big data science following a protocol much like personal computing and mobile working have in previous decades.
It may sound like the Dark Ages, but there was once a time when a working understanding of Microsoft Office was not considered mandatory for corporate office work. Today, it’s one step beyond a given. Most professionals could not function in any capacity without being able to navigate Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint.
A decade ago, smartphones were just entering the modern workplace. Now, busy business pros can access WiFi on commuter flights using their tablets for anything they needed desktops for just a few years ago. In today’s workplace, a solid understanding of, and familiarity with mobile apps is becoming as common as Office software.
Big data is the next logical step. While not a direct business operating system, big data is being embraced by businesses large and small, across a wide spectrum of industries. Professionals, even those not in the data science field, need to be familiar with the terms, benefits, and processes involved in big data or they risk being left behind. Much like folks you may remember who “never learned” what are now considered last generation business tools.
David A. Steinberg is CEO of Zeta Global