Most Business Schools Integrate Data Science Courses Into Curriculum, Meeting Market Demand, But Are Cool to Coding, So Far

Kaplan Test Prep Survey:

As global brands increase their hiring of graduates with in-demand tech skills, Kaplan Test Prep’s most recent business school admissions officers survey finds that MBA programs across the United States are integrating data science, big data and coding courses into their curriculum*. Of the 209 business schools who participated in Kaplan’s annual survey, 72 percent say they offer courses in either data science or big data; 13 percent say they don’t currently offer it, but are considering offering it; and 15 percent don’t currently offer it and have no plans to offer it. The survey also found that 28 percent of business schools currently offer courses in software development or coding; 9 percent say they don’t currently offer it, but are considering offering it; and 63 percent don’t currently offer it and have no plans to offer it, indicating that many business schools don’t currently see coding as a necessary skill for workforce-bound MBAs.

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, the organization that writes the GMAT® test, 72 percent of the companies they surveyed in 2016 said they planned to hire recent business school graduates to fill data analytics positions. This is roughly the same percentage who planned to hire graduates for positions in marketing and finance, which are historically more traditional MBA areas. The report also says that employers are looking to hire workers who have strong skill sets in SQL and R, two programs frequently used in data science.

Bain & Company, a consulting company long at the top of many MBA graduates’ employer wish lists, is among the businesses that see the importance of their employees holding a strong data skill set. “We have been aggressive in hiring in that space. We are building a team of champions with specific technology expertise,” Elizabeth Spaulding, a partner at Bain & Company and head of the firm’s global digital practice, recently said in a article.

“What companies are saying is that many of their current employees, who graduated a decade ago or more, don’t necessarily have these skills, and they’re looking to a new generation of business school graduates who do. Our survey finds that many business schools are rising to the challenge to meet this demand,” says Brian Carlidge, executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “Employees who both understand a company’s business goals and understand the data to help them reach those goals will be highly desirable to recruit and hire in the technology-driven workforce.”

*The survey was conducted between August 2016 and October 2016 of admissions officers at 209 business schools in the United States. Among the 209 business schools are 17 of the top 50, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.



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