Key Learnings from Wharton’s Business Analytics Specialization
Providing insight into key learnings and outcomes based on my experience
What is Business Analytics?
Business analytics is at the intersection of business and technology. The process in which companies turn raw data into actionable business insights and make an impact. This enables companies to make better, more informed decisions. Companies are collecting and analyzing large volumes of data to drive competitive advantage and be more profitable. Data is no longer a trend, it’s the fuel that drives modern businesses.
“In the 21st Century, it’s not what you know that matters — it’s how you use what you know that will determine your success in business and in life.”
– Geoffrey Garrett, Former Dean of The Wharton School
Why did I choose Wharton Online’s Coursera Specialization?
First, let me clarify that I’m not getting paid to write this review and this isn’t a sponsored post by Wharton or Coursera. I’m writing this article to share my learnings from the specialization and provide my honest review for those who are considering enrolling in it.
I chose Wharton Online’s Specialization on Coursera because of Wharton’s world-renowned reputation in education. Coursera is an easy-to-use platform that can be accessed on my laptop or phone. The combination of elite education and online accessibility made going through the modules a good experience. The only critique I have is the lack of interaction throughout the modules, which can lead to loss of attention or distractions.
This specialization covers a broad range of topics through each course. The courses in this specialization are (corresponding departments):
- Customer Analytics (Marketing)
- Operations Analytics (Operations)
- People Analytics (HR)
- Accounting Analytics (Accounting & Finance)
- Business Analytics Capstone
I wanted to get a good understanding of how business analytics concepts are applied across different areas of business. I enjoyed the customer and accounting the most. The customer analytics course provided insight into how marketing uses various metrics to align their strategy to the customer’s wants and needs. Accounting analytics explores accounting ratios and valuation multiples and how to forecast using these metrics. It went a step beyond the accounting courses I took in my undergrad. The capstone is a project-based course that’s essentially a case study on how to apply the concepts learned in all the courses to a real-world business challenge. The goal was to develop a strategy and figure out the key performance indicators most appropriate to measure success.
Types of Analytics
There are three types of analytics covered in the customer analytics course:
- Descriptive: Collect and analyze data to understand patterns and synthesize insights
- Predictive: Use historical data points to predict future outcomes
- Prescriptive: Provide a recommendation on actions needed to achieve a goal
This course provides a good surface-level understanding of the different types of analytics and how/when they are used in a real-world context. The frameworks learned can be useful for those looking to develop a structured approach to problem-solving.
I gained a solid understanding of how different disciplines collect, analyze, and use data to make decisions. In my current role, I applied the lessons learned to work better with different departments when leading cross-functional projects. Understanding different data points and metrics used by different departments helped me better create KPI’s to measure performance at a departmental level.
So why learn about business analytics? In most organizations, management will value individuals who can work well with different types of data over those who don’t have that skill set. This is why I encourage everyone to gain a basic understanding of data literacy. Business analytics skills are in high demand and can be a lucrative career with an average annual salary of $94,390, according to Springboard. I think these courses are great and recommend it to anyone seeking to learn the basics of business analytics and how it’s applied across different areas. However, if you are seeking a more in-depth or specialized education then there are plenty of other courses you could explore. There is also the option of pursuing a Master of Business Analytics (MSBA). Whichever direction you choose, you will not regret learning about business analytics.
About the Author: Brandon is passionate about personal finance, self-improvement, and giving career advice. Be sure to follow him on Twitter.