To meet workforce and business demands for more graduates with skills in data management and business analytics, the UA Walton College of Business is launching an online certificate program this fall.

The online business analytics certificate program will focus on learning concepts and techniques in data management, analytics and data mining. Students will work with large-scale, real-world data sets from active companies, including Sam’s Club, Tyson Foods Inc., Dillard’s Inc. and Acxiom Corp.

“Right now, one of the biggest things going on in our world is this big data explosion,” said Eli Jones, dean of the Walton College. “Getting the tools – the knowledge – of how to find patterns in big data, that is going to accelerate one’s career. There are people who are looking for people who can make decisions based on big data. There are huge opportunities in this area, and the Walton College is taking a leadership role in addressing that key need.”

The application deadline for the graduate certificate in business analytics program is July 1, but late applications may be considered on a space-available basis.

“You cannot find people that already have experience with analytics and big data,” said Avery Nash, expert product executive for Little Rock-based Acxiom. “If you have gone through the business analytics certification at Walton College, we know that you at least know what we are talking about, and you have an interest in it, and you’ve shown some aptitude for it.”

Gary Cooper, senior vice president and chief information officer for Tyson Foods in Springdale, said companies such as Tyson are looking for employees who have the necessary business foundation and an ability to analyze data when discussing a company’s return on investment.

“At the intersection of all that, there is a tremendous opportunity for a student here to get some instruction, some schooling, some things that they can’t get anywhere else. That makes them highly marketable,” Cooper said.

This certificate program – accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – is designed for people who have earned a bachelor’s degree and seek additional skills in business analytics. All coursework is delivered online and the program can be completed in nine to 12 months.

Credit hours in the program may also be applied to the Master of Information Systems degree program offered by the Walton College.

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Talk Business Staff