Data Analytics Skill Set

The Trend Line is Very Positive for Data Analytic Skill Sets

Business analytics addresses an increasing demand in organizations of all types to understand data related to their operations. Investments in information systems throughout the enterprise over the last 10-15 years are generating tremendous amounts of data, and companies will spend at least the next 10 years developing processes that generate insight from those data. In addition to data generated internally, many companies are exploring the effects of external data, primarily present in social media, web search, manufacturing, and supply chain. The ability to manage data to support business projects are the key to success in many disciplines. Business analytics will provide a comprehensive skill set for supply chain professionals and future supply chain graduates to analyze, visualize and report data. Written below is information that outlines the importance of business analytics skills to employers.

Business Analytics Job Trend
Data analytics plays an important role in the second decade of the 21st century in corporate America. Tools supporting business analytics are exploding. Software designed to obtain data from multiple sources and transform them into actionable intelligence is a $50 billion business growing at 14 to 18 percent per year. According to, the growth of analytics jobs since 2005 has been approximately 370%. The growth of business analytics jobs specifically is at an even higher rate (approximately 600%). The higher demand of analytics skills in business provides solid support for employers to demand this from future supply chain graduates.

Industry Response
Recently, the American Management Association (AMA) surveyed approximately 800 business executives in more than 50 industries and 40 countries. The executives surveyed were overwhelmingly favorable toward the need for business analytics skills with 58.3% of respondents evaluating business analytics vital to their organization today and 81.5% in 5 years. According to the Vice President of AMA, Robert G. Smith, business analytics skills are needed because “competitive and performance pressures are driving the need for better analytics.” See the full summary of the AMA survey.

Academic Offerings
Academic institutions are responding to the business analytics demand trend. In a recent study, more than 390 courses containing analytics content were taught in higher education. The scope of analysis responsibilities in industrial practice is also rising with more functional business specialists building analytical models for business teams. With data-driven decisions more common across the industrial spectrum, and analytical models and methods embedded in increasingly sophisticated software, people with diverse backgrounds and expertise are analyzing data. Microsoft has been one of the most prominent software companies promoting “business intelligence for everyone.” A few observations of national trends:

  • In early 2012, 21 or 4.80% of universities had business analytics programs, concentrations, tracks and/or minors out of 438 universities listed by USA today. By 2014, business analytics programs number in the hundreds.
  • MIT and University of Pennsylvania, among the top 10 business schools in the US as ranked by USA Today have business analytics programs.
  • The Walton Business School of the University of Arkansas and the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University have published learning objectives for its business analytics majors and minors. At Western Michigan University, over 75% of their supply chain majors are picking up the business analytics minor per employer interest. These students are commanding a premium in the job marketplace as a result with starting salaries in the $55,000-$64,000 range.

Below is a partial list of universities offering concentrations in business analytics.

Universities Offering Business Analytics Concentrations

American University
Arizona State University
Bentley College
Carnegie Mellon University
Central Michigan University
Chapman University
City University of New York
Clark University
Colorado State University
Columbia University
Creighton University
DePaul University
Drexel University
Duke University
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Emory University
Florida Atlantic University
Fordham University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Harvard University
Illinois Institute of Technology
Indiana University
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Louisiana State University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Michigan State University
National University
New York University
North Carolina State University
Oakland University
Oregon State University
Pace University
Providence College
Purdue University
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rutgers University
Simmons College
State University of Illinois
Stevens Institute of Technology
Syracuse University
Texas A&M University-College Station
University of Arkansas-Little Rock
University of California, Irvine
University of California, San Diego
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of California, Santa Cruz
University of Chicago
University of Cincinnati
University of Connecticut
University of Denver
University of Florida
University of Georgia
University of Hawaii at Manoa
University of Memphis
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
University of Pennsylvania
University of Rochester
University of San Francisco
University of South Carolina – Aiken
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
University of Texas at Austin
University of Virginia, Charlottesville
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Western Michigan University

Employers expect and require these business analytics skill sets from their supply chain management professionals. However, supply chain management university programs are in the early stages of developing these skills for students and their future employers. We hope the above supply chain skills sets research aids your internal recruiting and training efforts.