University of Wollongong expands analytics education


Monday, 15 August, 2022

University of Wollongong expands analytics education

The Sydney Business School at the University of Wollongong (UoW) has extended its collaboration with analytics experts SAS, as demand grows for skilful business analytics professionals.

The Sydney Business School, UoW first introduced a Master of Business Analytics degree in collaboration with SAS in 2019 and has since extended options to offer four courses in total including: Graduate Certificate, Masters Degree and subject majors for Master of Business Administration and Master of Professional Accounting degrees.

The university caters to domestic and international students and offers newly available remote study opportunities in the UAE. Demand increased exponentially at the height of the pandemic, with the courses attracting new students and mature-age professionals seeking to reskill.

Professor Colin Picker, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law at UoW sees analytics as an essential skill in business.

“I view our analytics degrees as among the most important in the faculty. I am particularly energised by these courses as I see increasing demand and interest for upskilling in this emerging sector, as businesses seek to be as nimble and innovative as possible through fast, informed decision-making,” Picker said.

In exposing analytics students to SAS as part of the course, educators aim to give them a competitive advantage in today’s data-rich business environment.

“Young students are attracted to the growth prospects, and our degrees in collaboration with SAS are driving partnerships with many large corporate organisations — spanning major airlines, energy companies and health — as they seek to fulfil growing lists of data scientist and analyst roles.

“What’s most interesting, however, is we’re working with some corporates on bespoke training courses for groups of their existing employees, as they seek to upskill their teams in deciphering data into insights, and leveraging these to drive informed, smart outcomes,” Picker said.

According Dr Joshua Fan, Academic Director for Business Analytics postgraduate programs of the Sydney Business School at UoW, demand for these skills is on the rise.

“Demand for our analytics courses skyrocketed during the pandemic, increasing by 150%. A rapid rise in uptake was not only triggered by students and professionals seeking career skills that would help drive long-term job security and stability, but also support via the Government Sponsored Scheme which allowed a greater spectrum of people to consider studying and upskilling. With international borders now opening, we expect enrolments to grow in 2022.

“Interestingly, 70% of our current students across the analytics degrees are re-skilling, as they consider career changes, aligning with the recent Great Resignation movement in 2021. We’re pleased that these students are highly motivated with strong completion rates of approximately 88% in the past two years, indicating they are truly enjoying and engaged in their courses.

“Our courses greatly benefit from the collaboration and support of SAS, enabling students to gain critically in-demand industry skills and knowledge to be able to re-enter or pivot their position in the workforce,” Fan said.

Cathy Bale completed her Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics at the Sydney Business School, UoW in 2020. Commenting on her experience and the use of SAS technology, she said:

“In my current role I am required to analyse data to understand where we are at, predict where we are going and develop options to move forward. When faced with a project involving large, complex datasets I wanted to know more, so the decision to undertake further study was quickly made.

“The Graduate Certificate has enabled me to improve my analytics skills, think more broadly and more deeply about business problems and extract further value from data. I then enrolled in the Master of Business Analytics at the UoW to further my knowledge.

“I first came across SAS as part of the graduate certificate program. The ease of finding powerful insights through SAS Viya was astounding. As a full-time worker with a family, studying at night was the norm so to have easy access to support from SAS was wonderful,” Bale said.

There are now more than 45 higher education institutions across Australia and New Zealand that have embedded SAS modules in their degree courses for would-be data scientists and other students of advanced business analytics.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/peshkova

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