Smarter Education Forum Focuses on Growing Demand for Analytics Skills
On April 28, the Yale School of Management Center for Customer Insights (CCI) and IBM hosted the Smarter Education Forum. The event brought together students, leaders from IBM, academics, venture capitalists, and industry analysts to discuss the importance of social analytics in business strategy, the growing demand for analytics skills in the job market, and how Yale MBA students are gaining these skills.
Social analytics technology can help companies make sense of the vast amount of information being generated by consumers through new media and social networks like Facebook and Twitter. By mining and translating this unstructured data, companies can learn about their customers' buying habits and preferences, and use that knowledge to make better business decisions.
"Analytics skills are no longer just a requirement for the IT professional," said Rob Ashe, general manager of business analytics at IBM. "The business world continues to become more complex and information is at the center of all its challenges. Analytics has quickly become one of the most important skills required to prepare our business leaders of tomorrow."
Last semester, IBM and CCI partnered on a project-focused "Customer Insights" course that gave students the opportunity to use IBM's analytics tools to help one of IBM's clients. Making use of the technology as well as psychology and economic principles, the students helped the client understand how its customers engaged in an online community and developed recommendations for product improvements and new ways the company could reach its customers.
"It's important for us to energize the classroom and that calls for integrating the latest technology into our curriculum in order to prepare students for high-value jobs opportunities," said Ravi Dhar, George Rogers Clark Professor of Management and Marketing and director of the Center for Customer Insights.
The event was also an opportunity to announce a new collaboration: CCI is now a member of the IBM Academic Initiative, a program that gives the center, and Yale SOM faculty and students, free access to IBM software, discounted hardware, course materials, and training and curriculum development.