BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business invites students to apply to a new master’s degree program created to meet the growing need for expertise in big data.

The one-year program is a master of science in business administration with a concentration in business analytics.

“We are accepting applications now for the program, which will start second summer session this year,” said Linda Oldham, executive director of the college’s Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics.

Oldham will conduct an hour-long information session on Jan. 27, at 6 p.m., 1003 Pamplin Hall. To register, e-mail

The program is designed to give students the necessary business knowledge, technical expertise, and professional skills to be effective business analytics practitioners, she said. 

Students from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds are encouraged to apply, but applicants must have a background in statistics and basic programming skills. Admission will also be based on leadership and communication skills, motivation, quantitative aptitude, and computing experience. 

“Skills in analytics and business intelligence are a chief information officer’s top hiring priority,” Oldham said. “The need for such skills has increased across every industry sector.”

The issue is not just a short supply of analytics professionals, however, she said.

“Companies need engineers and scientists who understand market forces and the financial implications of decisions that are based on business intelligence analytical data.

They also need business majors who understand programming, statistics, cutting-edge data software, and the technical aspects of business analytics for effective decision-making.”

The new degree’s curriculum was developed to address such needs, Oldham said. “Our graduates will be able to use their analytical skills to determine which business opportunities have the highest potential for commercial success, develop a business strategy, and make savvy business decisions to execute the plan.” 

Students will work on a corporate-sponsored project in multidisciplinary teams similar to those found in most companies, she said.

For additional information, email Oldham.

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