IBM Partners with UConn, Other Institutions to Prepare Students for Big Data Jobs


4.4 million jobs will be created worldwide to support big data by 2015, according to a Gartner press release on key issues facing the IT industry.

To prepare students for big data careers, the UConn School of Business offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs in business analytics that focus on data management, analytics, and using emerging technologies to better manage financial risk and other business needs.

Consistent with its commitment to experiential learning, the School has partnered with IBM to deliver a practical approach to skill-building in these degree programs. Projects with IBM have given students the opportunity to work hands-on with company employees to solve real business challenges.

Last year, a course offered by Marketing Professor Girish Punj at the Stamford Learning Accelerator in the School of Business was the first of its kind in visual analytics. By collaborating with the IBM Center for Innovation in Visual Analytics (CIVA), students had an opportunity to interact with IBM researchers and executives while working on various projects.

“This was a very hands-on class that focused on visualizing and analyzing big data—which is everywhere, no matter what industry you’re in,” said Jennifer Bui ’14 MBA, ALM analyst at People’s United Bank.

Incorporating the company’s software in the classroom also provides students with valuable skills.

Professor Jan Stallaert, who teaches courses in the MS in Business Analytics and Project Management (MSBAPM) program at UConn and other graduate classes in Operations and Information Management (OPIM), has used IBM Predictive Analytics Tools as part of the curriculum.

“The IBM SPSS Modeler provides a range of advanced algorithms and techniques to unlock insights from data, which can then be used to guide business decisions,” says Stallaert. “SPSS Modeler’s innovative way of building models by creating so-called streams greatly reduces time and effort by making data manipulation and data cleansing an easy process.”

The skills and software are also valuable outside of IT disciplines. In a data analytics course taught by Punj, students are expected to learn the SPSS Modeler software package and become proficient in using it to analyze data for the purpose of extracting marketing intelligence.

The School of Business continues to explore ways IBM may complement courses this upcoming academic year, including marketing analytics and undergraduate business analytics.

According to a recent announcement, IBM is working hand-in-hand with nearly 30 other universities and business schools such as the UConn School of Business to gear up for the upcoming fall 2014 semester. The company is helping expand and launch new curricula, providing students with business knowledge and IT skills for data intensive careers.

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