Business Analytics for Managers: Using Data for Better Decision Making
Data are everywhere and the volume of new data is growing at an exponential rate. On almost a daily basis, news headlines are touting innovative applications of “Big Data”, while HR departments rush to fill newly created “data scientist” positions.
In this context and amidst this hype, businesses of all kinds have real opportunities to use data to develop knowledge and drive better decision making. Contrary to common beliefs, however, a data-driven business environment does not always require PhDs in statistics and computer science. What it does always require is decision makers who are analytically minded. Proficiency with data and analytics must extend beyond a single resource, individual, or even department within an organization. Business managers today must become comfortable with the scientific process of transforming data into insights for making business decisions.
“Business Analytics for Managers: Using Data for Better Decision Making” is a new two-day Babson Executive Education open enrollment program that provides an introduction to the iterative exploration of data that can be used to gain insights and optimize business processes. The program explores the data analytics lifecycle and introduces predictive analytics techniques in the context of real-world applications from diverse business areas such as marketing, financial forecasting, and operations. The program also explores topics of strategic relevance to business leaders such as analytics in the organization, analytics vendor selection, and change management.
“Business Analytics for Managers: Using Data for Better Decision Making” is designed to empower participants to identify areas of applications in which business analytics can be particularly successful in their own organizations. Through this unique offering, managers gain hands-on experience in working with data and an appreciation for the opportunities and challenges that data present.
During the program, participants gain exposure to different approaches used in business analytics including:
- Data management, data analysis and modeling: Techniques for generating ideas, experimenting with solutions, and evaluating alternatives
- Association: Recognizing patterns and drawing connections across questions, problems or ideas from seemingly unrelated fields in business contexts
- Experimentation and experiential learning: The process of setting up small experiments to gather data and learn
This program takes the unique perspective of framing business problems as analytics problems. Participants learn about recent trends and terminology in data-intensive business applications. The curriculum is practical and intensive. It integrates pre-work and hands-on projects throughout the learning experience.
Program topics areas include:
In addition to a high-level introduction to the topic of business analytics and stimulating discussions with Babson faculty and industry practitioners, participants complete an Excel exercise with data sets, try out advanced tools for data visualization, and learn about R, the most popular open source software package for data analysis used by data scientists around the world. A high-level overview is provided of widely used predictive analytics techniques such as decision tree learning methods in the context of learning how to identify which problems can be framed as analytics problems and assessing the resources necessary to successfully implement an analytics solution.
- Accomplishing business goals using analytics
- Understanding customers
- Improving business processes
- Identifying resources necessary for successful implementation of analytics projects
- Factors affecting vendor selection
- Adoption and change management for analytics initiatives
- Opportunities and challenges of Big Data
“Business Analytics for Managers: Using Data for Better Decision Making” is designed for midlevel managers and entrepreneurs whose work roles involve working with data or those who could benefit from data-driven decision making. While previous knowledge of data analysis is not necessary, participants should have some knowledge of Microsoft Excel prior to taking the program. Marketing directors, business analysts, and finance and operations leaders across a range of industries can all benefit from the new skills and approaches gained through this program. The program also is highly relevant for senior managers who seek a more strategic viewpoint on analytics.
About the Faculty
The program faculty team is comprised of world-renowned academics and experts in the field of business analytics.
Dessislava (“Dessi”) A. Pachamanova is an associate professor at Babson College and the faculty director of the Business Analytics program. Her research and consulting span multiple fields, including financial modeling, operations research, predictive analytics, and simulation. She has authored and co-authored numerous journal publications and book chapters, as well as two books in computational finance and risk management. Pachamanova co-designed Babson’s MBA and undergraduate business analytics curricula. She holds an A.B. from Princeton University and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Professor Tom Davenport holds the President's Chair in the Information Technology Management Division at Babson College. He has has directed research centers at Accenture, Ernst & Young, McKinsey & Company, and CSC Index. Davenport wrote, co-authored or edited 12 books, including the first books on business process re-engineering, knowledge management, the business use of enterprise systems. He has written hundreds of articles and columns for such publications as Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, California Management Review, Financial Times, Information Week, CIO and many others. In 2003, he was named one of the top 25 consultants in the world by Consulting magazine; in 2005 he was rated the third most influential business and technology analyst in the world (after Peter Drucker and Tom Friedman) and in 2007 he was the highest-ranking business academic in Ziff-Davis' listing of the 100 most influential people in the IT industry.
Professor Balay Iyer holds the William D. Bygrave Senior Term Chair and is a Professor of Information Technology Management at Babson College. His research interests include exploring the role of IT architectures in delivering business capabilities, designing knowledge management systems using concepts from systems design, hypertext design and workflow management, querying complex dynamic systems, and designing model management systems. Iyer has published papers in the Journal of Management Information Systems, California Management Review, Communications of the ACM, Communications of AIS, Decision Support Systems, Annals of Operations Research, Journal of the Operational Research Society and in several proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference of Systems Sciences.