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  • Manini Sethi

Is CBU's Business Analytics Diploma The Right Fit For You?

Business analytics is the iterative, methodical exploration of an organization’s data, with an emphasis on statistical analysis. In today's day and age data has the potential to make or break an organization, making data analytics a fast-emerging discipline with high market demand.

CBU's Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Business Analytics is a relatively new program but has seen a spike in enrollment and is an especially popular choice amongst international students. The program aims to "provide insight into actual businesses based on data and statistics that are used to drive business planning" and focuses on data and planning for business and management. You can find the pre-requisites and list of courses for the program *here* .

To help you better decide if this program is good fit for you, Caper Times interviewed Dr. Enayat Rajabi, Assistant Professor of Business Analytics at CBU and Tressy Thomas, a student enrolled in the final semester of this program.

Pictured: Dr. Enayat Rajabi

Dr. Rajabi, who has a Ph.D. in Knowledge Engineering, teaches Database Management, Data Visualization and Predictive Analytics to students enrolled in the Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Business Analytics at CBU. He was recently awarded by NSERC for his work on semantic web analytics which focuses on leveraging semantic web technologies to make open data more meaningful, knowledgeable, multidimensional and user friendly by connecting isolated data sets published in different open data portals.

Dr. Rajabi is also currently working on other projects, including projects on knowledge graphs and machine learning. In his current project, his team is working on using knowledge graphs in different machine learning methods to increase the accuracy and explainability of such models. In another project, his team uses machine learning methods to imput data into the data sets with high number of missing values. This makes the data sets more complete and allows businesses to infer crucial information from the data.

Dr. Rajabi told Caper Times that business analytics has a high market demand as an increasing number of companies need the support of data analytics to facilitate the decision making process. The program covers all necessary skills a data analyst should have, including data collection, data cleaning, data preparation, analyzing, visualization, and advanced analytics. Students who get this diploma often secure positions in organizations as data analyst, data scientists and data engineers.

It is important to note that this program is a Post Baccalaureate Diploma, which means that students must have a Bachelor’s degree. Many students who enroll in this program also have prior work experience. Tressy Thomas chose to pursue the Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Business Management at CBU as she was looking to transition into the analytics field. She has a background in electronics and communications engineering, along with experience in the IT Industry. "This program was a perfect fit for me as it was a great blend of business management and data analytics. This is what makes this program unique and different from most other courses in data analytics offered by other educational institutions which often focus purely on analytics"

When asked for what type of people would this program be a good fit for, Professor Rajabi told Caper Times that prior education in math/statistics is very important, especially for courses such as data mining and predictive analytics. Tressy adds to this by saying that from her experience she feels that this program is an excellent foundation course for students who do not have any prior experience in data analytics. While this course does not require any core programming skills, Tressy says that it definitely helps to have some background and prior knowledge in it, especially for students who want to do extra research work while studying. She also adds that this program has lots of opportunities for students who are willing to go the extra mile and work hard. The workload of the course itself isn't too heavy as it is not a Master’s equivalent course.

Professor Rajabi told Caper Times that the Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Business Analytics at CBU teaches students skills which are crucial in the data analytics field such as programming languages and tools like Python, Excel and R along with data visualization software such as Tableau. It also teaches students how to structure, model, and manage data using database management systems like MySQL.

As an exemplary student, Tressy was given the opportunity to work on research projects with Dr. Rajabi. In May 2020, she worked on a research on machine learning based techniques to handle missing values in datasets. The project was very successful, and they were able to review existing machine learning methods for data imputation and develop a better performing algorithm. One of the papers which Tressy worked on with Dr. Rajabi got accepted and published in DTA journal. This isn't Tressy's only research work which got recognized: another paper which Tressy co-authored on a new approach to deal with missing values got accepted in an International Conference (ICCS) which will be conducted in Poland in June this year. Tressy also worked on a project focusing on health care which focused on analyzing the clinical outcome and treatments using machine learning tools and software.

Pictured: Tressy Thomas, business analytics student at CBU

These projects helped Tressy learn a lot about the emerging field of data analytics and she is confident that it will continue to help her, especially while finding a job in the industry and she was able to get experience on hands on real world problems while completing her education. She also points out that she isn't the only student who had the opportunity to work on these research projects as some other students from her class were also actively involved in projects with Dr. Rajabi and other faculty members.

The 4th and final semester of the Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Business Analytics is an Internship/Capstone Project. Students must have at least an 80% aggregate to be eligible for an internship. While CBU does help students get a relevant internship, they are not responsible for ensuring that students who meet the criteria get an internship. Students who do the Capstone project can work under the supervision of a professor on a real-life problem. In addition to improving students’ data analytics skills, the capstone project also helps students gear up for the transition from school to work by helping them with their CV's, cover letters and interview skills.

Dr. Rajabi told Caper Times that he often advises students who are enrolled in this program/considering enrolling in this program to be actively involved in their education and assigned projects. He suggests that one way of improving analytical skills is to take online courses on data science, programming languages like Python, and data visualization software. Many students who have relevant skills can be hired by professors for paid research projects similar to the projects Tressy worked on.

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