5 Things to Know About How the Bloch School is Infusing Data Science Throughout its Studies

A conversation with Associate Dean Brian S. Anderson
Exterior of Bloch Executive Hall

From medicine to politics to business, data has become an essential power source. The University of Missouri-Kansas City Henry W. Bloch School of Management has infused data science throughout its curricula to empower the next generation of business leaders to understand and effectively wield data to deliver results.

Brian S. Anderson, associate dean of the Bloch School, has led the effort to make data science a foundational element of the school’s undergraduate and graduate curricula.

1. Content fine-tuned to student needs

At the undergraduate level, data analysis is infused into the overall curriculum, fine-tuned to specific emphasis areas such as accounting, finance and marketing. 

For graduate students, the Bloch School is offering a Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics. Unlike stand-along certificate programs, this certificate is designed to provide an extra credential paired with a Bloch MBA or other Bloch graduate degree earned simultaneously.

2. Making Better Managers

Students explore the entire analytics lifecycle and develop business storytelling skills to effectively present data findings to key stakeholders. They get hands-on experience using cutting-edge analytical software such as Tableau, R, Python and SAS. Multiple software platforms are used interchangeably in a “platform-agnostic” approach.

“We’re not merely teaching people tech skills. Our goal is to produce better managers, so the content is taught in an engaged, immersive environment,” Anderson said. “We are teaching people data visualization – how to tell data-driven stories – irrespective of the tool used to analyze the data.

3. Local and regional relevance

A fundamental element of the Bloch approach to data science is deep engagement with the school’s many community partners – the Kansas City-area businesses and organizations that will be the future employers of Bloch graduates.

“We want to make sure that our curriculum is responsive and relevant to the Kansas City community,” Anderson said.

4. Data literacy matters

“We share Chancellor (Mauli) Agrawal’s view of data science, that its influence has become pervasive across the enterprise in numerous fields,” Anderson said.

While statisticians and other data scientists do the actual number-crunching, Anderson said business leaders need to know what questions to ask the scientists, how to interpret the answers and how to put the insights to work effectively.

“Business executives need to be data literate, and that also includes understanding the limitations of data. You can’t demand that data analysis provide you with information it isn’t capable of producing.”

5. Differentiation in the job market

The Bloch approach to data literacy gives Bloch graduates an advantage in a competitive job market.

“We see this as a way for our graduates to achieve differentiation as individuals with an ability to contribute immediately, and a high ceiling for growth.”

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