Business analytics continues to have a growing impact in the corporate world and beyond. To celebrate this impact, November 1 is designated Global Business Analysis Day. In the Department of Business Analytics and Statistics (BAS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business, every day is dedicated to creating and disseminating business analytics-related knowledge and applications, contributing to positive change in organizations and society. In recognition of this year’s Global Business Analysis Day, Mike Galbreth, BAS department head, explains how Haslam’s BAS department makes a difference in the discipline and beyond.
How is business analytics being employed in various industries?
Galbreth: Business analytics continues to be a crucial competency for nearly all organizations. New analytical tools and new data sources are constantly emerging, and there is more demand than ever for business leaders who understand how to apply the latest tools, understand the results and translate those results into business insights.
As an example, Amazon just launched Amazon DataZone, a platform where scientists, engineers, data analysts and others can collaboratively apply analytical tools to big data. Our department has a deep partnership with Amazon, and many of our students find employment there after graduation. Our faculty also are directly contributing to Amazon’s innovations in business analytics. Last year, Amazon named Michel Ballings, one of our associate professors, an Amazon Visiting Academic, and he is working with them on a number of cutting-edge projects. Amazon also recently endowed the Amazon Distinguished Professor of Business Analytics position in the Haslam College of Business, which is currently held by Tingliang Huang.
How is the BAS department meeting the demand for new, well-prepared business analysts?
Galbreth: In our undergraduate and graduate programs and extracurricular activities, we focus on graduating students that combine deep technical understanding with the ability to translate analytical insights into real-world business decisions. Hiring companies have told us that our emphasis on analytical communication — being an effective “analytics translator” — differentiates our students and sets them up for a more rapid rise into leadership. Our program is predicated on the idea that technical skills alone are not a differentiator. It is the application of those skills to real problems, and the ability to communicate the insights effectively, that truly provide value for organizations.
Case in point, Stephanie Yeap (HCB, ’16, MSBA, ’18) was recently spotlighted on the Haslam News & Media website. She works at Eastman in the role I just mentioned, as an analytics translator. Stephanie is just one of many alumni whose career success exemplifies what we hope all of our graduates achieve.
How does the department measure up with other programs?
Galbreth: Haslam’s undergraduate business analytics program continues to be recognized as one of the top programs in the country. The latest U.S. News ranking has us tied for the highest-ranked business analytics program in the SEC, and we are one of the top five programs in the entire southeastern U.S. (ahead of excellent schools like Emory and UNC-Chapel Hill). These rankings are imperfect measures, but this is an affirmation of our focus on teaching excellence, technical rigor, analytics communication skills and close connections with industry.
On the research side, our department continues to gain prominence for its thought leadership across multiple domains. To give just one example, Haslam is one of the top 20 North American universities for 2020-2023 publications in the three most prestigious, peer-reviewed journals for operations management research: Production & Operations Management, Journal of Operations Management and Manufacturing & Service Operations Management.
What does the future look like for business analytics at the Haslam College of Business?
Galbreth: The future is bright for business analytics at Haslam! More companies than ever before want to engage with our department. Our undergraduate program continues to grow, and we are working towards offering a part-time master’s program to complement our award-winning, full-time 10-month MSBA. We continue to offer elite opportunities for our most talented undergraduates, such as our Melton Scholars research program, and the JTV Center for Applied Business Analytics has positioned us as a leader in teaching students the communication skills needed to turn analytical insights into actions that benefit the organization. There is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm around our programs these days.
Scott McNutt, business writer/publicist, email@example.com