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Philip Maymin, Professor of Analytics and Director of the Master of Science in Business Analytics at Fairfield University, joins us today to discuss their analytics degree program. Fairfield University is a private university located in beautiful Fairfield, Connecticut which is now offering this program Online in the Fall of 2020.

1. Can you tell us about the business analytics program offered at Fairfield University?*

It is a ten-course STEM-certified program, with two additional preparatory courses: one in basic Python and one in basic probability and statistics. Each of those preparatory courses can either be taken online in the summer right before the start of the program, or passed out of with an online test. The final course is a capstone culminating in a research project supervised by one of our faculty members and further assessed by an external subject matter expert.

Starting Fall 2020, we will be offering both our award-winning on-campus courses as well as a new parallel online offering. The online curriculum is exactly the same and taught by the same professors but is more convenient for those who are working or travel often or are not within commuting distance. Mixing and matching between on campus and online is also possible.

The ten courses include three electives, which can be essentially any advanced graduate course offered at our top-ranked Fairfield University Dolan School of Business. For certain combinations of electives, you can earn an additional specialization. We currently have specializations in accounting, healthcare, marketing analytics, and artificial intelligence.

Upon completion of the program, you will have taken at least three courses in Python and also been exposed to R, Tableau, SQL, Wolfram Language, Excel, and various other tools. You will have learned time series forecasting, machine learning, business intelligence, databases, and more. We also offer advanced seminar topics courses on topics such as sports analytics, deep learning, big data, and heuristic search.

2. Is the GMAT & GRE required for acceptance into the program? Do international students have the same requirement?*

The GMAT and GRE requirement can be waived for those with work experience or sufficiently good undergraduate GPA’s. Students from non-English speaking countries are required to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report.

3. How long does a typical business analytics program take at Fairfield University? What is the maximum and minimum time of completion?*

Our full-time students complete the program in one year. Part-time students typically complete it in two years.

4. What do you think makes Fairfield University analytics program stand out from other programs offered by similar schools in your region?*

Our faculty. We may be the only business analytics program in the world where our full-time award-winning tenure and tenure-track research faculty not only teach all the core business analytics courses, but are also active in applied analytics and programming on a daily basis. This faculty advantage allows us to offer intensely hands-on courses. Students have extended their capstone research projects into competitive academic and practitioner conference presentations, including winning prestigious awards.

5. How important would you say accreditation is when choosing a business analytics program?*

As a student, the quality of the faculty and the breadth and depth of the curriculum are probably more important than any administrative label, but we are also of course accredited by the AACSB, which represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide. As they put it: “Less than 5 percent of the more than 16,000 schools worldwide granting business degrees have earned AACSB Accreditation. AACSB-accredited schools produce graduates who are highly skilled and more desirable to employers than other non-accredited schools. AACSB-accredited schools have the highest-quality faculty, deliver relevant and challenging curriculum, and provide educational and career opportunities that are not found at other business schools.”

6. What are the advantages of earning a business analytics degree in general and where are you seeing employer demand with this degree?*

In talking with top Fortune 500 firms both in the US and internationally, the biggest challenge executives and board members face is in the disconnect between those with domain and business knowledge and those with data science skills. It is not uncommon for a large firm to have hundreds of data scientists and analysts who are highly technically proficient but lack the business knowledge to know which avenues are worth considering and which do not make business sense. Finding qualified people who can speak both the technical and the business language, and engage comfortably in both roles, is their top priority. A business analytics degree is a signal that you are the right person for this increasingly highly demanded role.

7. Does the Fairfield University offer job placement for students who graduate with a business analytics degree?*

Yes. One hundred percent of our MSBA graduates are employed within six months of graduation, as Analysts, Senior Analysts, Project Managers, Program Coordinators, Allocation Managers, and more, at firms including the Big Four accounting firms and multinational manufacturing, software, technology, and telecommunications corporations.

8. What type of financial aid packages are available for students in business analytics? Are there any fellowships, grants, and scholarships available?*

There are some fellowships, grants, and scholarships available, as well as opportunities to be a graduate assistant in one of various departments. Please see our website for the most up-to-date information.

9. Do you have any advice for students enrolling in a business analytics program at Fairfield University?*

Be open-minded. The people you meet here, both the faculty and your fellow students, may be very helpful to you for years to come. Bring your passions and your energy, but also listen to what others are interested in. You may find some common projects.

Be skeptical. Analytics is perhaps the most dynamic field of study that has ever existed. It changes frequently and substantially. So it is particularly important that you question everything you learn and accept nothing at blind faith.

Be experimental. The best way to answer virtually any analytics question is with a well-designed, well-executed experiment. Sometimes that might mean coding up a simulation, or breaking down some data in a unique way, or just trying something that no one has ever tried before, just to see what happens.

10. What do you enjoy most about your position at Fairfield University?*

The students and faculty are a joy. Our campus is probably the most mindful campus I’ve ever been on. When people are here, they’re really here. Students and faculty play basketball together, go on trips together, and hang out together. It’s a unique environment of trust, community, support, and friendship.

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For more information on the business analytics programs offered at Fairfield University, visit them online.

Thank you for sharing and participating in this piece.

That concludes our interview!

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