data analytics

MIT launches new Master of Analytics degree

The yearlong program begins in the fall of 2017 with an inaugural class of 30 students

MIT Sloan School of Management has announced the launch of a new specialized Master of Business Analytics (M.B.An.) program designed to prepare students for careers in business analytics.

The school, together with the MIT Operations Research Center (ORC), introduces the M.B.An. in response to intense demand by current students and employers for a rigorous degree program focused on applying the tools of modern data science to solve problems in business and society. MIT now offers an analytics degree at the undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. levels.

“In the Era of Big Data, the demand for skilled practitioners who understand how to mine and analyze the vast amount of digital data that’s being created is a well-known challenge,” says David Schmittlein, Dean of MIT Sloan. “In recognition of this need for innovation and excellence in analytics, our mission is to build a world class Masters program in data science that leverages the intellectual resources of MIT, is based on cutting-edge research, and, as a result, attracts the very best applicants.”

A wide range of industries, including marketing, finance, health care, logistics, insurance, ecommerce, manufacturing, and government services already use analytics in their business processes and more will continue to do so in the next decade. According to a report from McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the U.S. will experience a shortage of 190,000 data scientists and 1.5 million managers and analysts capable of harvesting actionable insights from big data by 2018. A case in point: Job postings related to analytics at MIT Sloan’s Career Development Office have increased 78 percent over the past three years.

“The new degree is a timely addition to our portfolio of programs and builds on MIT Sloan’s excellence in management, finance, and business analytics,” says Jake Cohen, senior associate dean for Sloan undergraduate and master’s programs. “The depth of the program creates a compelling value proposition—both for prospective students and for the companies and organizations that hire them.”

The success of any degree program is driven by its “intellectual content and the career opportunities it creates” for its participants, says Dimitris Bertsimas, the Boeing Leaders for Global Operations Professor of Management and the Co-Director of the ORC. “The professional opportunities for our graduates will be extensive. Companies from I.B.M. to Dell to Amazon to Google are collectively investing billions of dollars in data collection to build models that help them make better, more informed decisions. This is a transformational moment in business and management science.”

The inaugural class of 30 students is slated to enter MIT Sloan in fall 2017. By 2020, the class will reach steady state of sixty students.

The full-time, 12-month-long program is divided into three semesters: fall, spring, and a summer capstone.
During the 10-week capstone, students work in small teams onsite at a U.S. or international company on a real data science problem. Each group completes a written report and gives a final oral presentation to the company and Sloan/ORC faculty.

“The capstone reflects the school’s commitment to action learning,” says John Hauser, the Kirin Professor of Marketing at the school. “It gives students an opportunity to get out in the field—with a lot of faculty mentoring and support—and apply the very deep technical knowledge they’ve learned in the classroom to solve a real world challenge. We want them to dive into data: to handle it, to organize it, and to interpret what it means.”

Interested students should have strong mathematical, computer science, and statistical backgrounds. The program is tailored for recent college graduates who plan to pursue a career in the data science industry, as well as those seeking a career change, especially engineers, mathematicians, physicists, computer programmers, and other high-tech professionals.

To be considered for the program, candidates must submit a personal statement and optional essay, a transcript, resume, recent GMAT or GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation. Tuition for the program is $75,000.

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Laura Ascione

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