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Yale School of Management and IBM Collaborate to Prepare Students with Analytics Skills for the Next Generation of Jobs


NEW HAVEN, Conn. & ARMONK, N.Y. - The Yale School of Management Center for Customer Insights and IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced they are collaborating on an academic initiative that will provide analytics and training resources to MBA students, helping them develop the skills needed as they prepare to become future business leaders.

Social networks and mobile devices have reinvented the way in which people interact with company brands as massive amounts of data are being generated daily on media channels like Facebook and Twitter, consumer blogs and company websites. With so much data resting within these sources, it is essential for the upcoming generation of business leaders to possess strong analytics skills to better harness and measure brand and customer opinion, so they can capitalize on new opportunities.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a 24 percent increase in demand for professionals with management analysis skills over the next 8 years. Helping to fuel this increase is the rising use of business analytics by companies in their efforts to learn more about their customers, including buying habits and preferences.

As part of today’s news, the Yale School of Management and its Center for Customer Insights in collaboration with IBM is addressing the need for students to build strong analytics skills with a first-of-its-kind “Customer Insight” project-focused class. Students benefit from the class by learning more about the advances in analytics and the corresponding new job opportunities that use analytics to help tackle complex business and societal challenges ranging from predicting and better understanding customer buying trends to improving retail sales, helping brand managers gather vital feedback on the success of a marketing campaign to building an efficient healthcare system.

The class gives students the opportunity to apply analytics skills to real business scenarios. For example, through social analytics capabilities if a business is not providing the level of customer service required during peak season or peak hours, they can now look at reports from the social data collected that will support the hiring of extra workforce to better serve their customers, and to avoid any negative comments associated with their brand.

“Business analytics is going mainstream, and the explosion of data from the social networks is a sign that the tides are shifting. 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 job opportunities,” said Ravi Dhar, Professor and Director of the Center for Customer Insights, Yale School of Management. “With this collaboration with IBM, we are giving students the opportunity to tackle real-world projects, the idea is to focus on learning by doing, and with this type of real training under their belts, students can be productive a lot sooner in their new job roles.”

This collaboration is helping the business leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow develop valuable analytic and critical thinking skills while drawing on their personal experience with social media. By combining the students’ understanding of social media with business context, the project aims to meet the growing industry demand for analytics savvy employees. This will enable students to learn managerial decision making and how predictive analytics technology can improve the effectiveness of key business functions such as marketing campaigns and leveraging customer opinion on the web.

“Analytics skills are no longer just a requirement for the IT professional,” said Rob Ashe, general manager, business analytics, 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. The Yale School of Management and its dedicated Center for Customer Insights is pioneering the way by exploring new ideas that bring business and technical skills together that will be a significant engine of growth for our economy.”

Now, as a member of the IBM Academic Initiative, the Yale School of Management Center for Customer Insights will also receive no-charge access to IBM technology, course materials, training and curriculum development. Yale School of Management faculty and students will also have the opportunity to collaborate with IBM and gain hands-on expertise from IBM researchers and developers on innovative projects. This collaboration is part of IBM’s work with thousands of universities around the world to develop and encourage future generations of business leaders and entrepreneurs, bringing innovative technology, access to experts and Watson technology to students around the world.

IBM continues to innovate and expand its business analytics portfolio, and today is also unveiling a new social media analytics software, IBM Cognos Consumer Insight which is focused on addressing the needs of today’s empowered consumers.

In the last 5 years, IBM has made 25 acquisitions in analytics, investing more than $14 billion. IBM has also dedicated more than 8,000 business consultants worldwide, and more than 200 IBM mathematicians focused exclusively on analytics. IBM is projecting $16 billion in business analytics and optimization revenue by 2015.

The Center for Customer Insights at the Yale School of Management is dedicated to helping leaders in business and society develop superior insights into customer buying patterns and preferences.


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