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Big Data in B-Schools

Big data isn’t a new concept. Yet, business schools have sometimes been slow to adapt their curricula to educate b-school students properly in it.

At least, that’s what Jennifer Gaskin, a contributor at data tech news outlet Dataconomy, says. Gaskin says an understanding of big data is crucial for b-school graduates to succeed in a big data world.

“A business school graduate without an understanding of Big Data and data science is like a buggy-whip maker watching Model-T Fords roll out of the factory and watching their livelihood go with them,” Gaskin writes.

The Evolution of Big Data

The term “big data” was coined 15 years ago.

While big data has been around for a while, companies are still evolving to keep up with its potential. According to the software company SAS, big data has influenced how organizations make decisions and how fast.

“Whereas a few years ago a business would have gathered information, run analytics and unearthed information that could be used for future decisions, today that business can identify insights for immediate decisions. The ability to work faster – and stay agile – gives organizations a competitive edge they didn’t have before.”

And Gaskin agrees. She argues that big data is fundamental to how businesses operate and even exist.

“Big Data isn’t so much an aspect of the business; rather it is the very foundation upon which businesses understand themselves, the marketplace, their competitors, government and regulators and, most crucially, their customers and potential customers,” Gaskin writes.

The Need For B-Schools To Teach Big Data

While many b-schools do an outstanding job of teaching its students in finance, operations, marketing and other traditional fields, Gaskin argues that many schools have been slow to incorporate big data into the mix.

Gaskin points out how the curriculum at a prestigious b-school, like Harvard Business School, can offer a competitive and thorough curriculum, but lack enough courses in big data.

“Among required courses for the two-year program, none deal solely with Big Data or Data Science,” Gaskin writes. “One required course deals partially with information technology, which itself is only tangentially related to Data Science and Big Data in that it helps facilitate initiatives in those areas.”

The solution, Gaskin argues, isn’t to replace current b-school curricula, but incorporate thorough teachings of big data.

“We’re not suggesting schools replace leadership training with classes on how to build a website,” Gaskin writes. “But because technology, Data Science, Big Data and related concepts are so fundamental to how business operates today, schools that can incorporate these into all areas of their educational offerings will be the ones that prepare students the best for the challenges they’ll face today — and the ones we haven’t even imagined.”

Sources: Dataconomy, SAS






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