“Our partners in the corporate world tell us they are desperate to find managers who are highly proficient in business administration and team leading—but who also understand algorithms and are able to speak with data analysis and artificial intelligence experts at their level. It’s not uncommon for analytical projects to fail due to a lack of communication during their initial and operational phases and when implementing the results,” reports Professor Arne Strauss, the Academic Director of the new Master in Business Analytics at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. “With this new master’s program, we want to meet this exact demand. There are simply far too few academic programs out there like this. It’s for that reason that McKinsey & Company now trains around 1,000 people a year for this role at their own, internal academy.”
It has been clear for some time, at the very least since the advent of ChatGPT, that technology such as generative AI will radically change the job market. In the 2023 edition of its “Future of Jobs Report,” the World Economic Forum predicts that green and/or disruptive technology will create 69 million new jobs worldwide—and render 83 million jobs redundant. The Harvard Business Review has also confirmed in an article that economic experts with a profound knowledge of data analytics and AI are in demand. In the article, the authors refer to this new role as “analytics translator,” a position that requires an education in converting business goals into models and algorithms (and vice versa) to find the best paths forward for a company’s corporate strategy.
“As one of the top business schools in Germany and Europe, we see our core competence in educating students to become responsible top managers and entrepreneurs, professionals who have strong leadership and communication skills,” explains Professor Strauss. In addition to that, the new Master in Business Analytics program will equip students with expertise in operational and mathematical models for prognosis, optimization, or visualization. Large language models, such as ChatGPT and other generative AI–based approaches will be integrated into the teaching plans. This is both to fully explore the potential of these models in a business setting and to make students aware of the weaknesses of such AI programs and the risks that come along with using them. Finally, WHU’s cooperations with external companies and specialized institutes will round out the curriculum.
“The new Master in Business Analytics will focus less on a detailed mathematical understanding of the respective methods,” Professor Strauss further explains. “Rather, it will concentrate on successfully combining corporate concerns with the most suitable analytical approach, managing any analytical projects, and implementing the results into the company’s business.”
The program will offer participants the option to focus on one specific area over another. Students can opt to enhance their experience by choosing for one of several “pathways” in addition to their general course work. They may specialize in entrepreneurial analytics, marketing analytics, or supply chain analytics. The curriculum for supply chain analytics, in particular, will incorporate topics relevant to sustainability, such as carbon analytics.
“Our corporate connections are what make WHU so attractive to students,” said Strauss. “By closely dialoging with our contacts, particularly those on the program’s Advisory Board, we can quickly adapt the study plan to meet any changing needs, thereby making it possible to react to any future developments. Our students will have a close connection to companies that could become their employers in the future and can also rely on the support of our highly active Career Center and alumni when planning their careers.”
More information on the WHU Master in Business Analytics, the application period for the 2024 Winter Semester (enrollment starts September 15, 2023), and financing options and scholarships can be found on the program’s officialprogram website.