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UT College of Business Pioneers MBA/MS in Business Analytics Dual Degree

CEI Lightbulb logoThe University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration has introduced a two-year, integrated, dual-degree master's program for students who want to earn both an MBA and a master's degree in business analytics.

"UT was the first business school in the country to offer a master's degree in business analytics and is now the first school to offer this dual-degree program," said Amy Cathey, executive director of UT Knoxville's full-time MBA program.

Business analytics is a growth strategy—organizations are therefore searching for employees who have strong analytical and business skills.

"That combination seems to be rare among today's graduates, yet is in incredibly high demand," said Ken Gilbert, head of UT's Department of Statistics, Operations and Management Science, home of the college's business analytics program. "Graduates who understand business analytics and have strong business and leadership skills have excellent job opportunities."

The objective of the dual-degree program is to develop graduates who can successfully bridge the sizable gap that exists between the practical aspects of business and the analytical capabilities enabled by information systems. Business analytics is attractive to quantitatively oriented students who want to develop skills in solving business problems. An ideal candidate for the program has strong analytical skills, enjoys problem solving, and is technologically capable. 

"The key to growing a business is through building customer loyalty, and the best way to understand customers is by analyzing their behaviors," said Dennis Goodman, dunnhumbyUSA analysis director and a UT statistics alumnus.

The MBA curriculum in the program prepares graduates for business by teaching the functional (finance, marketing, operations), integrative (supply chain, international), and organizational (communication, leadership) elements of today’s organizations. 

The business analytics curriculum prepares students to identify opportunities for revenue growth through the analysis of data and business processes. It also helps students develop the teamwork and communications skills they need to be successful. In solving business problems, students gain experience applying the tools of data mining, statistical analysis, business process optimization, and business intelligence. These tools are applied to a range of problems; such as, predicting the profitability of customers, measuring the impact of media promotions, choosing the optimal mix of products, or understanding the relevant cost in outsourcing decisions.

"We are committed to having the nation's most relevant curriculum and to be the best in preparing students to meet the needs of business," said Gilbert.

UT currently offers three innovative ways to earn a graduate-level business analytics degree. Students can earn a master's degree in business analytics degree; dual master's degrees in business analytics and business administration (MBA); and, for MBA students not wanting to earn the master's in business analytics but who are interested in the subject matter, an MBA with a concentration in business analytics.

"We know of no other school in the nation providing this scope of business analytics offerings," said Jan Williams, dean of UT's College of Business Administration. "Strengthening our graduates' proficiency in business analytics is one of the college's four strategic initiatives."

At most universities, statistics is housed in the college of arts and sciences; UT Knoxville is one of the few schools to recognize the power of statistics in business applications and houses statistics in the College of Business Administration. The 2009 Rothkopf rankings support this finding, placing UT's Department of Statistics, Operations, and Management Science among the top 20 programs worldwide in the field.

For more information about the dual degree program, please visit

The full-time MBA program also offers dual-degree programs with law, engineering, sport management, agricultural and resource economics and the UT Health Sciences Center College of Pharmacy. For more information about the MBA program, please visit:


August 17, 2011

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