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Tackling Data Overload

New analytics degree program to train students to succeed in data-rich business world

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November 28, 2011 | by Megan Fellman

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The demand for workers skilled in data analytics is skyrocketing. In response, Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science has developed a new degree program, the Master of Science in Analytics, to teach young professionals the skills they need to succeed in the field.

The full-time, on-campus program is accepting applications now for fall 2012.

“It is clear that we have to be prepared to deal with an amazing degree of complexity and change,” said Julio M. Ottino, dean of the McCormick School. “There are two ways to deal with that change: through analysis and rationality on one side and intuition on the other. Analytics provides a new tool set to bridge the gap between the two.”

Graduates of the comprehensive 15-month program may go on to become lead analysts for Fortune 500 firms, statistical modeling analysts, communications and media analysts, consultants, systems engineers or entrepreneurs.


“We conceived this program after recognizing there aren’t enough trained individuals in the rapidly growing field of data analytics,” said Diego Klabjan, director of the Master of Science in Analytics program and associate professor of industrial engineering and management sciences. “McCormick is on the cutting edge in analytics, and we look forward to starting the program next year.”



Full-time, tenured faculty and prominent industry leaders will teach the courses. Unlike many other programs, the Northwestern program covers all three areas of data analysis: predictive (forecasting), descriptive (business intelligence and data mining) and prescriptive (optimization and simulation). 

Students in the highly selective program will study mathematics, statistics and advanced computational and data analysis. Each student will complete a summer internship, choosing from a variety of industries; the program will culminate with a capstone project provided by an industry partner.

The Master of Science in Analytics program is designed for recent graduates or new professionals whose studies are in a related field (engineering, science, statistics or business) and who want to jump-start their careers from a position of strength, with wider job opportunities and higher earning potential.

It is on these outcomes that the program is focused. “A measure of the program’s success will be in the quality of jobs our graduates obtain,” Klabjan said.

Applications for students starting in fall 2012 are due Feb. 29. Seven half-tuition fellowships are available.