Saint Joseph's University

Professor Perspective: Business Intelligence & Analytics

Happy New Year!

 

One of the presents I got this holiday season was an activity tracker. You know, one of those bands which tracks how many steps you have taken, how well you slept, your heartbeat, etc. I was not too keen on getting one because it is very easy for my schedule to not permit me the time to go and be as active as I would like. Or to not have the energy when I have the time. But then, something curious started to happen: I began to compete against myself to “beat my numbers.” Take more steps, go to bed earlier, lower my heartbeat.

 

As a professor in the Decision & System Sciences (DSS) Department of the Haub School of Business, this is right up my alley!  The DSS Department is responsible for the Business Intelligence & Analytics (BI&A) major and minor, which teaches students what data is and how to turn it into information, all with the goal of making more intelligent decisions. Easy to say, but what does it actually mean to our students?

 

Students majoring in BI&A learn to be discriminating consumers of information, to analyze data to meet business objectives and to organize and communicate results clearly, with the goals of their audience in mind. Who could these students work for? Any company which collects data about anything and would like to know what insights it can extract from it. That is practically… anyone!

 

BI&A students are sought after by companies in industries ranging from consulting to pharmaceuticals, from food distribution to sports and entertainment, from human resource management to accounting, and from marketing to finance. Starting salaries are consistently among the top three of any major in the university, and business students who double major (any major with BI&A) consistently receive higher salary offers. It is commonplace for our better students to have a top-level summer internship after their Junior year, and to start their Senior year with a full-time job offer in hand. Often, with a signing bonus. Nearly 100% of our graduating majors secure a full-time job before or very soon after graduation!

 

DSS department faculty work with industry experts to constantly review and update our curriculum, to train our students in the skills with the largest demand, and to maintain and grow the network of professional contacts who come back time and time again to our campus looking for talent. Recruiters love our graduates for the functional skills they develop while at Saint Joseph’s University. One of the most frequent compliments we hear about our graduates is that they “know how to think.”

 

The Jesuit education model also helps us make sure ethical business practices are part of the training students receive, and the liberal arts courses they take provide invaluable training and formation to help them be better rounded, more interesting people, with and for others.

 

Our small class sizes allow our faculty to get to know our students. I am friends with students who graduated 15 years ago when I first came to campus!

 

Now, according to the Doppler radar data, that rain is many hours away, and the temperatures are not too low. If you’ll excuse me, my mountain bike misses me, and I have a personal best to set today.

— Dr. Mendoza, Assistant Professor of Decision & System Sciences Department