The ability to transform data into information and insights that can elevate a business and influence decisions is at the core of the newest major being offered in California State University, Northridge’s David Nazarian College of Business and Economics.
Beginning in fall 2021, students in the Nazarian College’s Department of Systems and Operations Management can earn a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with an option in business analytics, or minor in the subject.
“We are in the middle of a new industrial revolution — one that involves data and information,” said department chair Seung Paik, who has worked with the department faculty to create the new undergraduate major and minor in business analytics. “From mobile phones to social media to retail websites, more and more data is being created and stored every day. All this data allows us the opportunity to make better-informed decisions, whether in the private or public sector, if we can analyze the data and convert that to information for high-quality decision making. But to make the right decisions, business, governmental agencies and nonprofits need skilled professionals who know which data to look at and how to interpret it.”
Nazarian College Dean Chandra Subramaniam played a key role in shepherding the creation of the new program.
“Business analytics is one of the fastest-growing industries with a huge need for a specialized workforce that is not being filled,” said Subramaniam. “A big part of our mission is to prepare our students for the future and by creating the program in business analytics, we are doing just that.”
Amir Gharehgozli, assistant professor of systems and operations management, and Paik said the new program will provide a strong foundation in business analytics that addresses the opportunities and challenges opened up by massive amounts of data, methodological developments and the explosion in computer power and storage capacity. They said the program is designed to ensure that students build and develop the ability to apply their knowledge and skills to business problems for data-driven decision-making.
Paik and Gharehgozli added that CSUN’s new major in business analytics is among the very few offered in the California State University system.
Gharehgozli noted that nearly everything in our lives — from smart refrigerators and televisions to orders on Amazon — is collecting data. At the same time, he said, the computers collecting that data are becoming more and more powerful.
“We need people who understand what is happening and are equipped with the methodologies required to analyze that data, and not just for business,” Gharehgozli said. “Being able to analyze data is a need in all aspects of our lives, from business to public policy, health care, education and even sports.”
Paik and Gharehgozli said businesses are actually finding a shortage of job candidates with skills in business analytics.
“This is a very fast-growing field and continues to grow further,” Paik said. “As our ability to collect data and information continues to grow, we are going to need more and more people who have the methodology to understand and interpret that data to make informed decisions that can impact all aspects of our lives.”
For more information about the new program in business analytics, visit its website, https://www.csun.edu/som/business-analytics.