Mining data is the gold rush of the new decade.
The opportunity is ripe for finance professionals looking to advance their careers. Take the case of senior credit manager Brian Hape who chose to hop on the data train by pursuing an online Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Data Analytics from the University of Southern Indiana.
Hape enrolled in the data analytics MBA program 25 years after earning a bachelor's degree in accounting.
"With the industry I'm in, which is finance, and my job track, which I have a pretty good idea of what that's going to be in the future, I felt like it was a good time to go back and refresh some skills and learn some of the new information that's out there — especially when I saw the data analytics opportunity. That is used very heavily in our industry," Hape said.
What Is Data Analytics?
Simply stated, businesses use data analytics to identify trends and answer questions. Therefore, data analytics plays a key role in business decision-making. There are four main types of data analytics:
- Descriptive analytics answers questions about successes or failures of past performance.
- Diagnostic analytics gives insight into why things happened by digging deeper into the findings from descriptive analytics.
- Predictive analytics looks at what may happen in the future.
- Prescriptive analytics provides guidance on what action to take based on insights from predictive analytics.
Use Varies According to Industry
The good thing about data is that all businesses have it. How they capture, analyze and use it varies among industries and services.
For instance, financial service companies use data to improve customer retention and acquisition by understanding customer transactions and activities.
PwC lists advantages of using data analytics for companies providing financial services. For instance, banks can:
- Lower risk costs and spot fraud more quickly
- Provide faster, more accurate responses to regulatory requests
- Develop new business models and new sources of income
- Improve customer experience and satisfaction
ICAS outlines how some well-known companies are using data analytics. Online retail giant Amazon uses customer data not only to improve the shopping experience for customers, but also to provide better customer service. Capital One times offerings to clients based on customer demographics and spending habits, increasing marketing conversion rates. Netflix uses data analytics on customer viewing habits to tailor its offerings and to source new content predicted to perform well.
Data analytics offers early- and mid-career professionals a way to fast-track career advancement. The growing demand for data analytics professionals in recent years coupled with projected needs over the next decade indicate strong job prospects and careers with staying power. A data analytics MBA provides finance professionals like Hape with a way to add not only a sought-after graduate degree but also in-demand data expertise.
"I went through the financial crisis … and I found myself looking for a job," Hape said. "Part of the reason why I went back to school was to have that knowledge and have that MBA. You never know what's going to happen. The degree gives you some flexibility and something you can really lean on when you're out looking."
Learn more about USI's online MBA program with a concentration in Data Analytics.
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