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New degree program in College of Business points to careers near home | Schools

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New degree program in College of Business points to careers near home
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New degree program in College of Business points to careers near home

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (July 23, 2013)--What do firms such as ABF Freight System, Acxiom, Bank of America, Ducommun LaBarge Technologies, Entergy, IC Bus and Sherwin Williams have in common?

They all hire employees with the skills that are being taught in the newest undergraduate degree program in the Arkansas Tech University College of Business.

Arkansas Tech launched its Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in business data analytics during the 2012-13 school year. It is the first baccalaureate degree program in Arkansas that approaches data analytics from a business perspective.

According to Dr. Stephen Jones, associate dean of the Arkansas Tech College of Business, graduates from the business data analytics program will be prepared to analyze data in a way that allows firms to determine strategy and solve problems.

“For example, a data analyst working in the health care sector will be expected to perform data analysis with respect to patient outcomes, customer and insurance payment patterns, drug interactions, infection rates, geographic health care service densities and other types of health care data,” said Jones. “Similarly, a data analyst working in customer relationship management will be expected to perform data analysis with respect to customer buying patterns, identifying the best and worst customers, identifying different customer types, detecting fraud and identifying opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling.”

Sarah Casey, a junior from Deer, is among the first Arkansas Tech students to study in the business data analytics program.

“I always knew I wanted to work in a challenging field,” said Casey. “The business data analytics program at Tech gives me an opportunity to challenge myself and opens the door to numerous career opportunities. The strength of the BDA program is that business data is a growing field. As technology continues to advance, there will be more job opportunities with this major. I enjoy talking to potential employers and receiving positive feedback about my major choice. There are definitely companies interested in students with this major.”

And many of those companies are located right here in Arkansas, a fact that appeals to many Arkansas Tech students who want to remain inside the state after graduation.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that employment in the closely related management analyst field is expected to grow 24 percent by the year 2018. The average salary for management analysts in Arkansas is $60,000 per year.

“This is a great collaboration between our faculty and our industry partners,” said Dr. Ed Bashaw, dean of the Arkansas Tech College of Business. “The faculty led the effort by conceiving of this program. We worked, and will continue to work, with our industry partners to fine-tune the program and to secure helpful resources. We see this as a classic win-win situation. Our industry partners will have more highly qualified candidates from which to choose. Our business data analytics students will benefit from the increased high-paying job opportunities that will await them upon graduation.”

Frank Hellmer of Russellville is a senior at Arkansas Tech. He has a double major in accounting and business data analytics, a combination that he believes will enhance his employability after graduation.

“Reading the stories of people being without jobs for extended periods of time during the recession has made job security a top priority for me,” said Hellmer. “I do like how BDA points toward a specific career path. For myself, I like to have a sense of direction of where I am headed instead of having a broad selection, analyzing all of those selections and then hoping that the career path I choose ends up being stable and profitable for me.”

For more information about the Arkansas Tech Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in business data analytics, call (479) 968-0490 or visit www.atu.edu/business.

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