Many business schools are adding specialized master’s degrees in business analytics. However, Harvard Business School is taking a different approach. Rather than developing a specialized degree program, Harvard will offer a certificate of business analytics starting in March 2018. The cost of obtaining the certificate will be $50,000.
HBS is collaborating with the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Department of Statistics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to produce the program. It is also uniting with an outside vendor, 2U, Inc., the online educational provider that is used by UNC Kenan-Flagler to deliver its remote MBA program.
The analytics certificate will take nine months to complete, with most of the coursework being online. It will require 8-10 hours a week to finish, with two two-day immersions on campus. HBS and its collaborators are creating seven new courses in the curriculum, each with three hours of live instruction by faculty, with most of the studying self-paced online by students. The structure of the program will likely look like this:
• No more than two courses at a time in each of the three terms
• Four courses on business analytics and three on analytical foundations
• 90-minute live sessions that will probably occur first thing in the mornings or early evenings
• On-campus immersions that will take place between the first and second terms and at the end of the third term for cohort building and advanced topics
• Learning primarily through case studies
Karim Lakhani, co-founder of the Harvard Business School Digital Initiative, has been working on the analytics project for nearly a year. He says that the program is designed for post-MBA or technical managers who have analytical roles in their organizations or who are expected to get them. According to Lakhani, HBS designed this program so that working professionals and executives would be able to use these materials in a way that exposes them to the best ideas, pedagogics, and faculty without having to take time off from work.
“The uniqueness of this program is that this will really blend the tech and science side with the business side,” Lakhani says. “We see the future of business now as being technology-centric and the best managers, executives, and entrepreneurs will understand both the science and tech side and the business side.”
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