The Business Intelligence & Analytics (BI&A) master’s degree program at Stevens has been named among the top 10 of its kind in the United States, according to The Financial Engineer.
The Stevens BI&A degree was among the first business intelligence degrees in the region to put a strong emphasis on Big Data, according to Professor Ted Stohr, program coordinator. As such, classes emphasize a heavy use of technology tools to help students mine mountains of data to develop actionable business strategy. Software boot camps emphasize skill development in Hadoop and MapReduce, SQL, R, and Python; the understanding of these models is put to test in a capstone course in which students apply these skills to a real-world problem posed by a company.
“We tried to create something that closely considered the demands being placed on businesses that realize the importance of using Big Data to make effective decisions,” said Professor Christopher Asakiewicz, BI&A program director. “We look to build not just the competency — what you need to know — around analytics, but the skills in order to do analytics effectively.”
That includes blending that cutting-edge technology with solid business training, including communication and presentation skills, financial decision making, and risk management.
Hao Han, a student in the BI&A program who wants to become a data scientist, has already benefited from his knowledge while working as an intern at AppCard.
“Stevens is absolutely the best choice,” he said. “The curriculum they provide is very comprehensive and the professors give you everything you need — boot camps on the weekends and introductions to industry people. The program is challenging, but rewarding — you learn math, you learn programming, you learn the tools, you learn business.”
The Financial Engineer’s most important ranking criteria are the average test scores of accepted students and the mean starting salaries and bonuses of graduates, along with employment rates of graduates. Stevens scores well in these areas because the BI&A program is strengthened by its close ties to industry — both in terms of curriculum development and its location, just across from Manhattan in Hoboken, NJ.
The location and practical emphasis attracted Jorge Madrazo to the Stevens campus for his degree in BI&A. At Morgan Stanley, he develops and manages anti-money-laundering applications. As the finance industry puts an even greater focus on fraud detection, he said, “there’s a greater need for having analytic support for behavior models. We have to have a rational, statistical basis of detecting potential fraud, and it all plays right into understanding analytics.”
Stevens professors understand that, he said.
“There’s a real practical emphasis at Stevens,” Madrazo said. “Professors introduce different tools into the classroom that you encounter regularly on the job.”
The Financial Engineer, a news and rankings website, reports on the finance industry and ranks MBA and other master’s degree programs. The complete listing of the schools on its top 10 list can be found here.
Students learning Hadoop in a software boot camp held in Stevens' state-of-the-art Hanlon Financial Systems Lab.