Melbourne Business School and SAS collaborate to grow analytics talent pool

Partnership addresses Australian and worldwide shortage of graduates with advanced data analytics skills related to the needs of industry

Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne and SAS have entered into a major collaboration to support world class research related to advanced analytics for business, and to establish a Master of Business Analytics degree program. The University of Melbourne consistently ranks among the leading universities in the world, with international rankings of world universities placing it as number one in Australia. Melbourne Business School is Australia’s premier provider of business education, while SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services.

The three-year collaboration was announced by Dean of Melbourne Business School, Professor Zeger Degraeve, and SAS Australia and New Zealand Managing Director, David Bowie. They said that along with research, the primary objective was to boost the number of qualified analytics professionals entering the job market with both advanced technical skills and a strong business understanding and focus via the new degree program.

While organisations in all sectors increasingly look to analytics for insights to improved decision making, there are currently far too few qualified practitioners to meet the demand.

This problem is not confined to Australia. The McKinsey Global Institute projects that by 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.

Noting that the new collaboration sees SAS named as the leading founding partner of the Melbourne Business School’s ‘Centre for Business Analytics’, Professor Ujwal Kayande – who led the partnership agreement with SAS – thanked the company for its generous support.

He explained, “In early 2014, we started thinking about how we could effectively address the big changes that are now occurring in the business world, and particularly changes related to organisations needing to become more data-informed – more evidence-based in their decision making. This led to our aim of establishing Melbourne Business School as a global thought leader in analytics for business and since SAS is the dominant player in this area, we started the conversation with them that led to our collaboration”.

Other supporters of the Centre include Woolworths, AT Kearney, SEEK, Brightstar, Suncorp, and Telstra. Support takes the form of membership of an Industry Advisory Board, funding for scholarships, assistance with data sets, and/or other in-kind support, including workplace secondment. Emma Gray, the Chief Data and Loyalty Officer at Woolworths and an Advisory Board member, said, “Woolworths is passionate to further the science of developing better insights for better business decisions through advanced data analytics”. SAS will provide significant funding for the research and SAS’ Chief Analytics Officer in Australia, Evan Stubbs, is also on the Advisory Board.

The Master of Business Analytics program was launched by Melbourne Business School late last year. The program, which started in January this year, is a full-time, intensive one year program, which will take students through a wide variety of analytics methodologies as well as the business contexts in which they are set. Students will learn how to investigate, and what questions need to be asked. Importantly, students will also develop significant professional and personal development skills, intended to produce graduates who can deliver both data-based insight and business impact.

The students comprise both recent university graduates and those already in the workforce. Seven scholarships have been awarded, including scholarships sponsored by AT Kearney, Woolworths, and Carlton & United Breweries.

All candidates admitted in the program were interviewed to ensure their background experience will allow them to fit with the objective of, “Entering a job market that is hungry for skilled analytics professionals”. Program content will include a five-week assignment in the commercial workplace, applying analytics to real world business issues.

On completion of the one year program, graduating students will receive a Masters in Business Analytics degree from the University of Melbourne along with a ‘SAS Certificate in Business Analytics’. This globally recognised SAS certification identifies professionals who are both skilled data analysts and have a fully rounded business focus on analytics for problem solving and decision making.

Reflecting on the process that led to this collaboration, SAS’ David Bowie said, “We are delighted and proud to be associated in this way with one of the world’s leading business schools. Every day, the marketplace tells us how difficult it is to find analysts to help unlock the value of data assets. And the problem is not only one of numbers. Too few job applicants have both good analytical skills and an understanding of how business actually works. This collaboration bridges the gap and will greatly aid the growth of a much needed talent pool.”


About the Melbourne Business School

Melbourne Business School (MBS) is the University of Melbourne’s graduate school in business and economics. Founded in 1963, MBS is a leading provider of management education in the Asia Pacific region.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative analytics, business intelligence and data management software and services, SAS helps customers at more than 83,000 sites make better decisions faster. Since 1976, SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®.

Editorial contacts:

  • SAS Australia and New Zealand

    Amar Vohra
    Director, Corporate Communications
    Tel: +61 2 9428 0592

  • Melbourne Business School

    Ujwal Kayande PhD
    Director, Centre for Business Analytics
    Tel: + 61 3 9349 8123

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