University of Minnesota Business Analytics Interview

De Liu PortraitDe Liu, Associate Professor & 3M Fellow in Business Analytics from the University of Minnesota, joins us today to discuss their Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program.

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The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, is a public research university in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Twin Cities campus comprises locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul approximately 3 miles apart, and the St. Paul location is in neighboring Falcon Heights.

1. Can you tell us about the business analytics program offered at the University of Minnesota? *

The Carlson School Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program is one of the leading MSBA programs in the world. It teaches students how to extract insights from data in order to create real value for today’s businesses. Students will graduate with data science skills, business acumen, and professional skills to be leaders in an increasingly data-driven world.

2. Is the GMAT & GRE required for acceptance into the program? Do international students have the same requirement? *

Yes, the GMAT or GRE General Test is required for admission to the MS in Business Analytics program and should be less than five years old at the time of application.

3. How long does a typical business analytics program take at the University of Minnesota? What is the maximum and minimum time of completion? *

One Year. Students start the program in the beginning of June and graduate in May of the following year.

4. What do you think makes the University of Minnesota business analytics program stand out from other programs offered by similar schools in your region? *

The program is known for its rigorous, forward-looking curriculum and world-class faculty. We believe that next-generation business analytics professionals need a robust combination of technical expertise, business acumen, and professional skills. Building on our vision of the “house of analytics,” the program not only imparts strong technical expertise (exploratory, predictive, causal, and prescriptive analytics) and foundation knowledge (data engineering, programming, and statistics) to our students, it also helps students develop strong business acumen and professional skills in the areas of critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, ethics, and teamwork by immersing them in real-world experiential learning projects throughout the program.

5. How important would you say accreditation is when choosing a business analytics program? *

Accreditation ensures the program meets the education standard but it does differentiate between the also-runs and the very best. I think students should go for the accredited business analytics programs, but they also need to look for other signs of excellence (e.g. curriculum, faculty, and placement) when choosing a business analytics program.

6. What are the advantages of earning a business analytics degree in general and where are you seeing employer demand with this degree? *

Data is the oil of the 21st century. Machine intelligence combined with the explosion of data transforms nearly every industry and organization, giving rise to unprecedented demand for data science professionals who can work with data to deliver value and insights. The advantage of a business analytics degree lies in its high demand and wide applicability to numerous industries (finance, retail, technology, manufacturing, etc).

7. Does the University of Minnesota offer job placement for students who graduate with a business analytics degree? *

Our Graduate Business Career Center helps MSBA students with all aspects of their career development. Please find details about the career services resources on our website (

8. What type of financial aid packages are available for students in business analytics? Are there any fellowships, grants, and scholarships available? *

Our program offers a limited number of academic merit-based scholarships. The Master of Science in Business Analytics program will automatically consider applicants for all scholarships for which they are eligible. No special application is required for these scholarships.

9. Do you have any advice for students enrolling in a business analytics program at your University of Minnesota? *

While the program trains students to use a wide range of tools (techniques, models, and algorithms), it is important for enrolled students to develop a value focus instead of a tool focus. Moreover, business analytics is a wide field; identifying and leveraging one’s strengths and interests are important for developing a rewarding and successful career in analytics.

10. What do you enjoy most about your position at the University of Minnesota? *

It is exciting to be an academic director of a degree program in such great demand. It is also a huge bonus and pleasure to work with a group of highly competent and professional faculty, staff, and students.

For more information on the business analytics programs offered at the University of Minnesota, visit them online.

Thank you for sharing and participating in this piece.

That concludes our interview!

Author: De Liu

Dr. De Liu is a Xian Dong Eric Jing Professor of Information and Decision Sciences at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. His research interests include mechanism design issues in digital auctions, gamification, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, and social commerce. He currently serves as an associate editor for Information Systems Research and Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce and the academic director for MS in Business Analytics (MSBA) program at the Carlson School.