Delving Deeper into the World of Business Analytics

By Jennifer Wright

Nilam Shete worked in business analytics for five years before deciding to pursue a master’s degree at Bentley University.

She came to Bentley with a background in Computer Science with an undergraduate degree from the University of Mumbai. Upon graduation, she worked at Sutherland Global Services and Syntel Inc. as an analytics manager and analyst programmer, respectively.

The Master’s in Business Analytics program was the logical next step for Nilam, who realized she needed the graduate degree to continue advancing her career. Her repertoire of skills at that point was already extensive, with working knowledge of SAS, Python, SPSS, Hadoop, Map-Reduce, Hive, and more.

Despite this impressive résumé, she wanted a deeper understanding of the concepts she dealt with every day.

“A master’s degree in analytics would help me learn and understand advanced concepts in [statistics, analytics, data management],” she says, “which would hone my technical and communication skills and thereby provide me a global exposure in the field of analytics.”

Pursuing a Career in Business Analytics

Nilam first exposure to the world of business intelligence and analytics was at Syntel, where she worked to create “web-based tools for Sentiment Analysis, Credit Scoring and Outlier Detection using R and Java.”

That first job immediately sparked her interest in analytics. “[The industry] provides me an opportunity to find something important — information — from a large pile of garbage — data,” she explains.

However, Nilam recognizes that finding the most important information is also one of the biggest challenges in her field. Analysts must determine the most relevant and useful data to solve business problems and then communicate their findings to clients in layman’s terms — not an easy feat with the immense amount of data now available and the complexity of statistical models.

Taking an Interdisciplinary Approach to Business Analytics at Bentley

Nilam came to Bentley to help her better navigate these challenges. The university stood out during her initial research due to its recognition in the business world, specialization in analytics, and professors.

“The Data Analytics Research Team [an interdisciplinary group of faculty at Bentley] fascinated me a lot as the projects they were currently working on, such as living standards, marketing analytics, global studies, health-care analytics, and social networks, aligned with my interests and my professional experience.”

Taking that same interdisciplinary approach in coursework is important to Nilam.

As part of the master’s program, she takes six core classes, which she says provides a “firm grounding for analytics work.” However, she also has the opportunity to explore analytics through different lenses by taking four elective courses.

These electives are grouped together in six “clusters”: Data Science, Economics, Finance, Information Management, Management, and Marketing. Nilam has taken electives from several clusters, including Web-Based Application Development (from the Data Science cluster) and Investment (from the Finance cluster).

Her studies also led her to an internship this past summer at Deloitte as an Advisory Analytics intern. With this work experience and her dedication to exploring all aspects of analytics, she looks forward to her future in the ever-growing field of analytics.

“Almost all companies are now aware that data-driven decision making is critical if they want to succeed, hence building analytics teams for that task,” says Nilam. “The demand for analytics skill is going up steadily but there is a huge deficit on the supply side.”

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