UT Business Department Gets a New Name, Driven by Change in Business Environment

July 26, 2014

The Department of Statistics, Operations, and Management Science in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration has a new name.

The Department of Business Analytics and Statistics

Why the change?  “We wanted a department name that better reflects the programs we teach, the kind of research we conduct, and, most importantly, what our students can do,” said Chuck Noon, department head.

Over the last decade, companies have invested billions of dollars on information systems that collect massive amounts of data.  Companies will wage competitive wars based on their ability to convert this data into useable information, such as a strategic direction and enhanced customer experiences. 

The Institute for Operations Research and Management Science defines analytics as “the scientific process of transforming data into insight for making better decisions.” For UT, it is a unifying term because it encompasses all dimensions of the department and reflects UT’s commitment to teach and conduct research with a bias towards business applications grounded in the real world. 

UT students learn how to use data and mathematical models to improve business decision-making. They also graduate with the business acumen to understand which questions are important and the soft skills, such as teamwork and communications skills, to function effectively in a business organization.

“We are developing students who are technically skilled yet business savvy who can help organizations turn data into direction,” continued Noon.

According to Gartner Research, data analytics is expected to create 4.4 million jobs worldwide by 2015, but the availability of skilled workers will fill only one-third of those projected openings. A May 2011 McKinsey Global Institute Study, “Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition, and Productivity,” estimated that the United States will face a shortage of 1.5 million managers and analysts who can analyze big data and make decisions based on their findings.

“It’s all about making data-driven decisions to propel a company forward,” said Noon.