History of Analytics at SIU
The development of the Analytics program demonstrates how academic institutions can respond to the changing needs of a marketplace overtaken by new technologies and Big Data. Alumni and advisors – including those on the Pontikes Board – highlighted the potential of creating Analytics programs with the college, stressing that many “real world” organizations suffered from a disconnect between company executives and the data science and programming experts. Faculty heard this feedback and in 2017 began creating new programs that incorporated these technologies into business applications. Spearheaded by Professor Jim Nelson and under Dean Terry Clark, the College developed these programs from scratch, creating entirely new undergraduate and graduate courses instead of merely re-bundling existing courses.
These new courses were first introduced into the M.B.A. program, creating an Analytics concentration within the M.B.A. With the creation of other courses, the M.S. in Business Analytics followed, launching in Summer 2020. Instead of complementing a traditional degree as with the M.B.A., the M.S. in Business Analytics brought Analytics front and center. The B.S. in Business Analytics then kicked off in fall 2020, providing undergraduates with greater exposure to the technologies they will increasingly use in their careers. This includes technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning that will transform business analytics in the future. A new Analytics minor takes off in fall 2022, attracting those who still want an Analytics background but keeping their focus in some other program.
We are not done building upon these programs, especially the undergraduate Business Analytics program. Given that Analytics touches so many organizations, staying on top of developments in the business world will continue to make our Analytics program meaningful and relevant for future students for years to come.