‘NEW QUESTIONS OF PRIVACY AND RESPONSIBILITY IN THIS FIELD’
Applicants to Mendoza’s MBA/MSBA program will have to take either the GMAT or GRE to be accepted to the program, and provide proof of an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, two letters of recommendation, an essay, and a slide presentation, says Kristin McAndrew, director of graduate business programs admissions. “We are seeking students who have both strong quantitative and communication skills,” McAndrew says. “And as with all of our programs, we are seeking the students who are seeking us — an engaged community built around Notre Dame’s vision for service and Mendoza’s deeply held mission that business should be as a force for good.”
The program is not intended to significantly boost enrollment at Mendoza. What it will do, McAndrew says, is draw students with an affinity for statistical and other quantitative techniques while also “broadening the suite of options available to our students, and providing recruiters with candidates who offer deep knowledge in a range of areas.”
In short, she says, the program will “teach business analytics through a Notre Dame lens.”
“There are new questions of privacy and responsibility in this field, and many industries are still grappling with them,” McAndrew says. “With Notre Dame’s long-standing focus on ethics, our students will graduate uniquely prepared to become agents of change in the way business is done.”
ANALYTICS CAPABILITIES: A ‘PATH TO THE TOP’?
Three new faculty have already been hired for the new program, Easley says: Sriram Somanchi, an expert in machine learning from Carnegie Mellon, joined Mendoza last year; this year the school added Scott Nestler (University of Maryland) and Tim Carone (University of Arizona). “We are likely to continue building out the faculty as we launch this and other related programs,” Easley says.
“Building out” means putting a unique twist — or two — on the new program. While most dual-degree programs combine existing stand-alone MBA and MSBA programs, “ours at Mendoza is somewhat unique in that it really grew out of the MBA program. We started with an MBA analytics concentration, and later launched a stand-alone MSBA for working professionals in the Chicago market. But we do not have a stand-alone residential MSBA program on the Notre Dame campus,” he says. “Instead we offer the dual-degree option for our two-year MBA students who want to go beyond what we offer with our analytics concentration.
“Our focus is on the business end of the spectrum. Data science can involve very technical skills, but that’s not our target. Our students are interested in applying analytics to business problems; they want to understand and develop the questions, and seek answers in the data, and learn to present those answers through data visualization.
“An MBA candidate from almost any work background may realize that building up their analytics capabilities could play a key part in advancing their careers. This is arguably true for almost any path to the top these days, and it could be the right option for anyone with both a strong interest in analytics and a reasonable facility with analytic approaches.”