The need for employees who can really understand data-driven factors led to SUNY Oswego’s new minor in business analytics.

“Anyone can really take it, especially with data analytics being so popular and just the whole idea of Big Data,” said Kristin Sotak, the program’s coordinator and an assistant professor of management in the School of Business. “Big Data is really everywhere, so being able to apply that to all the different disciplines is a plus.”

Currently, there are between 15 and 20 students registered, which Sotak said come from the School of Business, encompassing majors such as finance, marketing or business administration, as well as from the mathematics department and even a student majoring in zoology.

“It’s really open to anyone,” Sotak said. “It’s quantitative, so anywhere that you might go you have access to a lot of data that you need to make sense of. It could really be applied anywhere.”

Data collected may include what time of the day or month of the year a given product is purchased, which is highly valuable from a business perspective. 

Importance of analytics

Sotak says that for students majoring in public relations, for instance, knowing how people will react to a given post on social media might be a connection with analytics, which gives them the opportunity to develop the skills that can determine how that given business might want to advertise and publicize their products from time to time.

“Data analytics is a big field -- it encompasses a lot, including statistics, math, computer science and information systems,” Sotak said. “It’s a lot of different fields, so because of that the minor has classes from a lot of different disciplines.”

The minor itself consists of 18 credits, although some of those courses have pre-requisites to them pertaining to different disciplines.

Data analytics is also constantly shifting, even during COVID-19, and it is helping companies adjust to these pandemic times.

“Even Amazon and all of these different companies are now collecting data, allowing them to compare preferences prior to COVID versus those during the pandemic,” Sotak said. “All that information becomes applicable, so now in data analytics there’s so much new information and data that can help businesses make informed decisions.”

The school is not yet pursuing creating a major for business analytics, Sotak said, as for now the emphasis is making the minor as effective as possible.

“We’re definitely open to possibilities, but right now we’re just keeping it as a minor," Sotak said. "We want to see what the student interest is, how it goes and especially when students graduate to get some feedback in terms of what they thought was helpful.”

 For more information on the new businss analytics minor, email business@oswego.edu.

-- Written by Tomas Rodriguez, Class of 2021