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Elena Gortcheva, Program Director, MS in Data Analytics at the University of Maryland Global Campus, joins us today to discuss their Online Masters in Business Analytics program.

The University of Maryland Global Campus, known as the University of Maryland University College until July 1, 2019, is a public university focused on online education and headquartered in Adelphi, Maryland.

1. Can you tell us about the business analytics program offered at the University of Maryland Global Campus? *

UMGC is one of the pioneering institutions in online education and has always emphasized serving the academic needs of working professionals. We offer several ways to learn analytics, all of them online. The first option is the Master of Science in Data Analytics (MSDA). The program is designed to meet the rising need for highly skilled professionals who can transform the growing amount of institutional data into valuable assets. The curricula are crafted, reviewed, and updated by a team of advisors and industry experts to ensure that student learning aligns with the trends and technologies in the workplace today. Students gain expertise in the widely demanded area of data science and learn how to manage and manipulate data, create data visualizations, build predictive models using different machine learning techniques, applying AI and Natural Language Processing techniques to get insights from free text, images and videos data, and make strategic data-driven recommendations to influence business outcomes.

We also offer a post-baccalaureate certificate in Business Analytics (BA). This program is for students who already hold a baccalaureate degree to come back to the university and get additional knowledge in the area of business analytics. Students earn 12-credits that can be applied toward the MS in Data Analytics. The courses for the certificate are part of the MSDA.

The third option is the undergraduate program, offered as a BS Information Systems Management. Across the required major courses, students will learn analytics as a career trajectory of this program.

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

GRE/GMAT scores are not required. We have found that GRE/GMAT scores are not good predictors of success for our student population. What matters is the motivation and drive of our working professionals, looking to advance in their career. Most international applicants are required to provide official TOEFL or IELTS scores.

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

The MSDA Program is 36 credits, students can take 6 credits per term and typically complete it in two years.

4. What do you think makes the University of Maryland Global Campus business analytics program stand out from other programs offered by similar schools in your region? *

We offer skill-based curricula, designed on what emerged as the workforce needs of the industry. Additionally, we focus on application, ability to do as employers are looking for employees with hands-on experience, who are prepared to meet the challenges for today and tomorrow.

MSDA is a multidisciplinary program involving both technical and managerial skills. This program is unique in preparing students with business, data analytics and computational competencies. The graduate will dominate the business operations of an organization and the information technology requirements necessary to ensure its viability, competencies. The program culminates with capstone projects addressing real-life problems from industry sponsors, including NASA, American Institutes of Research, United States Agency of International Development, Department of Defense and others.

Our program is cost-effective. There are no additional fees for textbooks and software. Free access to all advanced data science software is made available in the cloud.
All faculty have terminal degrees and strong industry credentials in the field. Most of them are practitioners, with ample expertise in the field of data science and analytics, who bring their current relevant expertise to the classroom.

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

Accreditation is an important way to show that a university complies with rigorous standards of quality. Getting a degree from an accredited school assures students they are receiving a high-quality education that is recognized around the world. Students also should consider the format (F2F or Online) and the structure of the curriculum that better fits their needs. At UMGC we have the highest-quality faculty, skill-based curricula designed with employers’ input, and linkage to excellent career opportunities.

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

At UMGC we study the job market and design programs to respond to industry demands. That was the case when we started the MSDA Program in 2013. At the time, Data Scientist was labeled by Harvard Business Review as the sexiest job of the 21st century More recently, IBM predicted demand for data scientists will soar 28% by 2020, and currently, demand is still exceeding supply. With the number of available data science roles increasing, organizations are clearly looking for professionals who have the right combination of computer science, modeling, mathematics, and business skills. And more is being asked of data scientists as companies look to implement artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies into key operations. The AI market is projected to reach $202 billion by 2026 with at least 133 million new jobs by 2022. The future is bright, and our program continues preparing graduates for one of the most in-demand careers.

7. Does the University of Maryland Global Campus offer job placement for students who graduate with a business analytics degree? *

UMGC provides dedicated career services to all MSDA students throughout the program. Our Career Service Center (CSC) has strong relationships with many local and national companies interested in hiring our graduates. CSC organizes Virtual and in Person Career Fairs, presenting dozens of companies to students and alumni every 2-3 months. CSC also works with students on preparing/reviewing resumes and interview coaching. MSDA maintains a network of alumni who are very enthusiastic to hire MSDA graduates. Our graduates work for a broad range of industries including all branches of government, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance, Automotive, Retail, and Consumer Goods, Research and Education, High Tech and Electronics, Media and Entertainment, and others.

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

UMGC offers the reputation and affordable tuition of a state university paired with the convenience of online study. UMGC offers more than 100 scholarships https://www.umgc.edu/costs-and-financial-aid/scholarships/index.cfm, including need-based and merit-based awards. Military service members and their spouses and dependents receive a 30% discount on regular tuition rates. Federal employees also are eligible for discounted tuition rates.

9. Do you have any advice for students enrolling in a business analytics program at your University of Maryland Global Campus? *

You have chosen the demanding career of a data professional. This career is part of a rapidly changing industry, so be prepared to be a lifelong learner. Other initiatives students can take include attending industry events, joining associations, and networking with others in the field. However, an important factor is to have a passion for the field.

10. What do you enjoy most about your position at the University of Maryland Global Campus? *

Preparing motivated working professionals to advance in their careers is the most enjoyable part of my job. I’m a strong proponent of the active use of emerging technology and innovation in education and am inspired when students make that connection between technology and the problem to be solved. I get thrilled when my students express gratitude in being able to apply what they studied in the program to solve challenging problems in their jobs.


For more information on the business analytics programs offered at the University of Maryland Global Campus, visit them online.

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That concludes our interview!

Henry Steele
Henry Steele
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.

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