Back in September, I sat down with Erica Wagner, Portland State University School of Business’ associate dean of undergraduate programs, and Melissa Appleyard, associate dean of graduate programs, to learn about the then newly launched undergraduate concentration in Business Technology and Analytics and Master of Science in Applied Data Science for Business.
The goal is to train professionals with literacy in both data and business and create a new breed of Portland business leaders.
Today, Wagner and Appleyard report that both programs exceeded enrollment projections by 67% and 73%, respectively, for the 20-21 academic year and both are tracking ahead for 21-22. Additionally, the undergraduate concentration in Business Technology and Analytics has brought on a new faculty member from the prestigious London School of Economics.
Marta Stelmaszak Rosa joined the faculty as an assistant professor in Information Systems. I chatted with her about the program and her research. As a former LSE Fellow in Management, with a specific concentration in Information Systems, she dedicated her Ph.D. to “bridging the gap between big data science and organizational change.”
At PSU, she is bringing her research to the undergraduate curriculum with hopes to keep the initial enrollment momentum going.
“What we keep finding is that there is a lot of enthusiasm around big data and analytics. Companies want to collect a ton of data, and figure out what to do with it later,” said Stelmaszak Rosa. “More so, we have a significant number of well-trained analysts, but we don’t have a lot of expertise on how to apply our data findings on the business management side of things.”
Here research has found several areas where business and analytics must align.
“First, we need to train data science managers to understand both data and management. Second, analysts must have business knowledge to solve real-world problems with data,” she said. “Third, business people must develop a better understanding of the power of analytics and its numerous benefits to a company. Otherwise, organizations risk missing out on the advantages of data science and analytics.”
It was the real-world application that drew her to PSU.
“When I learned that PSU was thinking of starting these programs, I wanted to come on board immediately,” said Stelmaszak Rosa. “It’s so cutting-edge.”
Wagner, who also received her Ph.D. in Information Systems from LSE, is leading the undergraduate program.
This is part of a regular guest column written by the Technology Association of Oregon in the Portland Business Journal.