Carlson Executive Education Blog

When you don’t know what you don’t know: Leading Business Analytics

Posted by Ravi Bapna on Oct 10, 2017, 12:29:56 PM
Ravi Bapna

Gedas Adomavicius, Carolyn I. Anderson Chair in Business Education and Professor, Department of Information and Decision Sciences

Ravi Bapna, Curtis L. Carlson Chair in Business Analytics and Information Systems, Program Director for MS-Business Analytics and Academic Director of the Carlson Analytics Lab


If you feel as if you’re being buried under a mountain of data, and if you often wonder if you’re realizing maximum value from all those bits and bytes, then you might be heartened to hear that–at least among the majority of your fellow businesspeople–you’re not alone. The corporate executives we teach and consult with tell us that while they’re hearing more and more about machine learning, artificial intelligence and analytics, they often feel overwhelmed and underprepared for handling the challenges of Big Data within their own organizations.

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If you graduated from college or graduate school even just five years ago, you probably didn’t study predictive modeling as part of your coursework. And now, here it is all, around you. You may struggle with how you can effectively partner with analytics teams in your organization. You might wonder if these teams are following the proper scientific method to conduct their studies. And you might sometimes sit in a data-focused meeting, hoping to ask the right questions and suspecting that you don’t even know what you don’t know.  

A world-class business analytics frameworks

Here at the Carlson School, we’ve been at the forefront of the analytics movement for some time now, and our teaching is based on a framework that provides the discipline and insight for substantive analytic inquiry. It begins with questions that are common within any organization, such as What happened? What will happen next? Did we reach our goal? What should we do next time?

Within those questions lies a wealth of real-world problems to be solved and genuine business value that can be created by using data to make decisions.

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If you’re ready to become the champion of a data-driven culture within your own organization, we’d love to see you in our Carlson classroom October 29th to 31st at our course on Leading Business Analytics, offered as part of the Carlson School of Management’s Executive Education Program. We’ll be co-teaching the course, calling on guest presenters for key topics and drawing upon real-world examples we’ve culled from the faculty-led, student-run Carlson Analytics Lab.

Case studies from the Lab

We’ll share how one of the largest shopping malls in the United States came to us with customer data than had been newly generated through the offer of free wi-fi. Our Lab analyzed that data for insights into foot-traffic patterns, location dwell times and the impact of events on visitor counts. In another case study, we’ll look at how a major regional medical center put machine learning into action and used Lab-generated predictive models to optimize nurse staffing decisions. That’s just two examples from many other real-world examples we’ll be bringing to the classroom.

This three-day course won’t teach you to be a data scientist. But it will give you the tools, insights and language you need to understand the current analytics landscape and prepare yourself for the future. Armed with what you gather from this course, you’ll have a foundation that will allow you to partner effectively with analytics teams and make better decisions as a result. It will be three days well-spent as an investment in your data-driven future. Hope to see you in October!

Enrollment open now

Feel free to contact me with any questions about the course at rbapna@umn.edu.