SAS Article #4 – Doublespeak – Can You Do Science AND Business?

23 April 2018 | by Asset Resourcing

You’re either a scientist or you’re in the corporate world, right? Wrong.

The two are converging together and data analysis graduates who can stand up in the corporate world are becoming incredibly sought-after. And the money, oh, the money…

Take the case of Maria Jimenez. She is a Colombian graduate who believed that in order to get a foothold in the ultra-competitive corporate world, she would need an MBA. Not so, as she found out.

Her first job was in the IT department at Tecnoquimicas, a Bogotá-based pharmaceuticals company. After a while, she noticed that the managers of her department were making strategic business decisions based on the data from medical outcomes and staggeringly, out of a department of over 100 people, she was the only one with an undergrad business degree.

The. Only. One.

She realised very quickly that ‘what they needed was someone with a business head who could also speak the language of software engineers’. She further discovered that people like that were as rare as rocking horse poo, she ditched her plans for an MBA and she enrolled on a data science course.

Two years ago they were few and far between. As at April 2018, a Google search for ‘data science degree UK’ returned courses at LSE and the universities of Warwick, Nottingham, Manchester, Brunel and Birkbeck. That was just on the first page.

So, why are so many of Britain’s most illustrious universities offering undergraduate (and post-graduate) degrees in data science? One postulation is that it’s being driven by big business. Data science (statistical analysis, big data, call it what you want) is becoming a component part of how big corporates operate and there is a genuine fear, across the board, of being left behind.

The Statistical Analysis on Statistical Analysis….

The bulk of the most recent statistics come, unsurprisingly, from the US but they are almost directly comparable to those from the UK. It’s worth noting that over the last three or four years, applications for traditional, two-year MBA courses at US universities have gradually declined, whereas applications for Masters degrees in data science are what is described as a ‘growth market’.

  • 74% of US-based big data courses reported an increase in demand in 2017 *
  • This compares to just 32% of full-time MBA programmes *

* Source: Graduate Management Admission Council, Application Trends Survey Report 2017

In an overview of US business school courses  that reported applications growth, there was a….

  • 43% increase in full-time, one-year MBA courses
  • 47% increase in online MBA courses
  • 49% increase in Executive MBA courses
  • 38% increase in Masters in Management courses
  • 30% increase in Masters in Finance courses
  • 74% increase in Masters in Data Analytics courses

* Source: Graduate Management Admission Council, Application Trends Survey Report 2017

In yet another survey, this time conducted by UK-based education consultancy CarringtonCrisp for their annual global survey of prospective business school students, it turns out that big data courses rose to second from 13th in terms of popularity for men (behind finance) and from 13th to eighth for women behind, amongst others, management, accounting, HR and psychology.

According to CarringtonCrisp’s co-founder Andrew Crisp, ‘demand for big data courses is driven by an increase in lucrative job opportunities advertised for people with such qualifications’.

He continues, ‘the training business which provides a lot of skills development in the field often highlight in its emails the shortage of skilled data scientists in London. I suspect demand is simply a function of students seeing employers seeking to recruit people with these skills.’

Show Me the Money

Back to the US and from a 2015 report by PwC and the Business Higher Education Forum covering just under 48,500 advertised data science roles suggested that the average salary was a few dollars under $95,000 (or about £68,000). Interestingly, at least two-thirds of said roles required a Masters degree.

Full Circle…

At the start of the article we mentioned the marriage of science and business and nowhere is it better demonstrated or explained than by Roy Lee, the Programme Director for the Masters in the Science of Business Analytics at New York University’s Stern Business School.

‘We have a strict limit of 70 students because if the numbers were higher, the more ‘techie’ students would feel less able to share insights with their business-minded classmates, which is crucial for breaking down barriers. The idea is to get the two sides to share their different perspectives. Students are learning from each other about where and how to apply their skills.’

Let’s leave the last word to Sarah Laouiti, a full-time student on the Business Analytics Masters degree course at Imperial College Business School in London – ‘I will definitely feel better prepared for the future world of work with a big data degree on my CV. I don’t know what jobs will survive in the future but I’m sure that those that do will involve using data.’

To talk more about our daily requests for capable, experienced candidates in the data science and SAS sectors, call Chris Morris on 01582 742 682 or email chris.morris@assetresourcing.com today.


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