Marketing Analytics, one of many courses available in Business Analytics, taught by Dr. Jim Hoover at the University of Florida

If you commit to taking time out of your career to enter a full-time MBA program, you might as well consider a program that is continually evolving according to employer demands. The University of Florida (UF) MBA curriculum already offers over 100 elective courses across six customizable concentrations: Finance, Human Capital, Marketing, Strategy, Supply Chain, and Real Estate.

You would think that the UF MBA had everything covered, but low and behold, in Spring 2020, the UF MBA program rolled out a new concentration. In collaboration with the Master of Science in Information Systems and Operations Management (ISOM) program, the UF MBA welcomes its latest concentration, Business Analytics.

Interested graduate students can learn how to become a crucial translator of functional business needs into analytics processes and analyses. The concentration focuses on combining functional business knowledge and related data with analytical skills to meet the growing needs of teams supporting businesses.

If you want to up your data analytic skills even further, the Warrington College of Business also offers a one-year master’s degree in Information Systems and Operations Management with a Business Analytics concentration. The 36-credit hour program expands on the five classes taken with MBAs in the Business Analytics concentration by diving deeper into a wider scope of technologies.

Dr. Jim Hoover is a clinical professor -and a double Gator alumnus- in the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida, and he assisted in the construction of this concentration and the degree itself. While running several businesses, including an information technology and management consulting account for Accenture, Dr. Hoover noticed during his on-campus recruitment that he couldn’t find students prepared with the analytic skills needed.

“Florida – my favorite school – needed to have a program that built the [analytical] skillset across the board. This program combines the technical courses related to analytics with functional courses related to business functions, including a practicum for real-world application.”
Dr. Jim Hoover

Class of 2021 will be the first class eligible to graduate with a business analytics concentration. Students take five courses in lockstep of each other to complete the concentration.

Amanda, a first-year in the UF MBA, is currently taking one of the first classes offered, ISM 6128- Advanced System Design and Development 1, an introductory course to the basics of systems analysis and design.

“Pursuing a Business Analytics concentration within my MBA is important to me because as technologies evolve, it will be important for all leaders to have a basic understanding of the technologies available.”

Daren McCurdy, a fellow Gator MBA and classmate of Amanda, echoed this sentiment.

“Data analysis is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after abilities by employers. Being able to utilize programs to synthesize data into its important parts is a huge competitive advantage in a technologically driven world.”

Even students who are not eligible to receive the concentration are finding benefits to the elective courses available through the coursework. Michael Healy, an industrial and systems engineer in the one-year full time, explained how information learned was applicable even in a case interview with a multinational corporation.

“As digital intelligence changes the faces of business, understanding and applying data is pertinent to any long-term business success.”

The ultimate goal -for both the master’s program and the business concentration- is for every student to be able to be inserted into an analytics project or be the businessperson/decision-maker that understands the data given to ensure a good return on investment.

Too bad I graduate in Spring 2020, but good for the Gator Nation!

Chelsea NesbethMBA Candidate, Class of 2020
Chelsea is a student in the one-year, full-time MBA program at the University of Florida. She serves as the President of the Black Business Student Association and Communications Co-Chair from 2019 to 2020.