Closely following the announcement of major new initiatives in its Daytime MBA program, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business is announcing the launch of an online business analytics degree program. The program will offer cutting-edge data science education to working professionals who want to acquire business analytics skills to stay competitive in today’s data-intense business environment.
The new program is called the Master of Science in Quantitative Management: Business Analytics (MSQM: Business Analytics for short). MSQM: Business Analytics will prepare working professionals to go beyond the mere mechanics of data analysis, developing their ability to identify and apply insights to solving business problems.
The program is designed for people who want to assume managerial roles in analytics projects or to upgrade their skills as companies across industries continue to transition to data-driven decision making.
“There is no shortage of data available in business today,” Senior Associate Dean for Digital Education Preyas Desai said. “However, we have heard from many managers who tell us they are not always able to harness the insights they need to make sound data-driven decisions because they aren’t deeply trained in how to do so. MSQM: Business Analytics bridges that gap by teaching current and aspiring managers how to leverage technology in identifying, analyzing and applying insights to make informed decisions based on meaningful data.”
Starting with the launch of Global Executive MBA in the 1990s, Fuqua has been the leader in developing innovative learning models for working professionals. The MSQM: Business Analytics program continues the school’s commitment to providing more flexible learning models to this group of students.
“Accessibility is extremely important to us,” Dean Bill Boulding said. “We are thrilled to be able to offer such in-demand training to busy working professionals who might not be able to complete all coursework in person given work and family commitments.”
However, students will get to meet their cohort face-to-face to build relationships at the beginning of their experience. The program will start with a 2.5-day orientation on Duke’s campus and then move online. The online learning model will blend elements of self-paced coursework with live class sessions in which all students will participate at the same time.
The MSQM: Business Analytics program will be offered in two formats: a full-length format and an accelerated format. Students in the full-length format will take about 19 months to complete five terms of coursework. The accelerated format, meant for applicants with an MBA or a Master’s in Management (such as Fuqua’s MMS), can be completed in 12 months, but also allows flexibility for students who need to take the program over a longer time frame.
“We thought it was especially important to offer this in two different formats to serve two different needs,” Desai said. “Given the quick evolution of data analytics in business, all students in these programs will benefit from a deeper understanding of technology and data insights. However, many MBA and MIM graduates will already have the strong business fundamentals needed for this program, and will not need to repeat some of the core business coursework, so we wanted to have a tailored option for them.”
More details about the two formats are below.
In the full-length MSQM: Business Analytics program, students will start with a 2.5-day orientation on Duke’s campus and then complete five terms of coursework over a 19-month period. The curriculum integrates Fuqua’s renowned core business curriculum with a set of quantitative courses that teach students advanced analytics techniques and their applications in a business context. The curriculum will also feature an optional leadership intensive on Duke’s campus after two terms.
“Because of the prominence of analytics in organizations, people who are fluent in data insights and applying and communicating them can find themselves on pathways to senior leadership quickly,” Boulding said. “Therefore, it’s essential that they also hone their leadership skills.”
MSQM: Business Analytics will be a cohort-based program in which all students will move through the curriculum together. As with Fuqua’s other programs, team-based learning will be a major part of the student experience. Each course will have a mix of individual and team assignments. Students will complete team assignments in teams of three to five students, sharing their expertise with others on their team and in turn, benefiting from the strengths of other team members. The collaborative team environment also fosters bonding among students and makes the program a shared social experience in spite of it being a fully online program.
The Accelerated MSQM: Business Analytics program is intended for managers who already have an MBA or a master’s degree in management (such as Fuqua’s MMS). Given their prior training and background in business, the accelerated format would provide a shorter pathway for these students.
The Accelerated MSQM: Business Analytics curriculum will focus on analytics courses and allow students to complete all the requirements in three terms spread over 12 months.
“We very much believe in life-long learning,” Boulding said, “so it made a lot of sense for us to identify an option in which graduates who already have a business foundation and have taken core classes could easily sharpen their analytics skills.”
Students in this program will also start with a 2.5-day orientation on Duke’s campus and then will complete all the required coursework online. The online courses will use the same learning model that blends self-paced elements such as prerecorded video lectures, readings, and assignments with live online classes.
The Accelerated MSQM: Business Analytics program will also provide additional flexibility by allowing students to customize their workload. Although the program will offer three or four classes in each term, students will have the option of taking only one or two classes in a term if their work, personal, or family commitments leave less time for academic work during that period.
“We’ve heard very personal stories from students who want to pursue this type of education, but have a variety of commitments that require flexibility,” Desai said. “We designed this program with them in mind.”
Applications to the Accelerated MSQM: Business Analytics program will be restricted to graduates of accredited MBA and Master’s in Management programs who have gone through rigorous core business education comparable to Fuqua’s core business courses. However, simply graduating from such program will not guarantee admission to the Accelerated MSQM: Business Analytics program. Students must also meet the same admissions standards as the full-length MSQM: Business Analytics program.
Both formats of MSQM: Business Analytics will be offered for the first time for the classes entering in the fall of 2020.