A graduate degree is a great way to maximise your career potential and become a leader at the forefront of a growing industry.
At California Polytechnic University, commonly known as Cal Poly, the graduate business programs under the Orfalea College of Business have earned a strong reputation for top academics, unmatched hands-on experience and a superior return on investment.
Graduates are granted a clear pathway to success in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world of business.
Proximity and connections to the Silicon Valley, along with curricula shaped by industry professionals, allow Orfalea’s programs to produce business leaders who are equally adept in navigating both the technical and people aspects of business.
Data-driven business studies
Thanks to the rapid growth of digital technology, data science and analysis are becoming increasingly important parts of business across all sorts of sectors.
Data analytics, a field the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will grow 27 percent by 2026, is a new and fast-evolving field with plenty of job opportunities for new graduates.
The ability to analyse, present and interpret data is invaluable, and many organisations are in need of data-savvy leaders with strategies and approaches informed by data.
But when it comes to higher education, many students believe they must choose between business or data analysis as a focus of their studies.
This doesn’t have to be the case as there are ways to merge the two fields, such as taking up a postgraduate degree that combines both areas.
The MS in Business Analytics (MSBA) at Orfalea College of Business is one such program. Forward-thinking and industry-relevant, this course develops both the analytic mindset and technical skill needed for success in the business field. The MSBA has been STEM-designated under the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. This allows international students to apply for OPT extension, potentially allowing 36-months of work in the US without needing to be sponsored by an employer.
The 10-month program offers students the chance to advance their professional careers in the rapidly-growing field of data analytics.
As a discipline that can span multiple sectors and industries, with data analysis sitting at the core of several fields, the MSBA at Orfalea College of Business takes on a holistic and integrated approach.
Although it’s an accelerated program, it’s comprehensive enough that students tackle everything from advanced statistical modeling to strategic marketing analytics, business consulting and machine learning.
Hands-on skills for evolving fields
By bridging the business-to-technical skills gap, Orfalea equips graduates for success and moulds them into versatile leaders.
Plus, the emphasis on advanced statistical modeling and data visualization gives students the opportunity to ask the right questions and create actionable intelligence.
Subjects that fall under this comprehensive program include statistics, machine learning, econometrics, marketing analytics, and data management.
Ensuring students are provided with up-to-date industry needs, the program is supported by an advisory board made up of top industry executives who help shape the curriculum.
This helps students stay at the forefront of market trends, as they step into the working world armed with the latest information.
As part of the course, MS Analytics students engage in six-months of consulting projects with industry partners, working as valued consultants on real data-driven business problem and solutions.
Graduate student Iris Huang knew it was important to choose a school that was affordable, and one that would provide her with a hands-on learning environment.
She said, “Before [Cal Poly], I never thought I would even go near the tech field. I didn’t even know business analytics existed. Cal Poly has its ‘Learn by Doing’ philosophy, which really resonated with me. [Many] students are conducting and leading their own projects.
“We are learning how to organize data, find insights from the data, and communicate this to executives and key decision makers. You can do pretty much whatever you want with [the degree]. Big data is such a powerful tool. At [Cal Poly], we as students have so many industry connections available to us,” continues Huang.
Students under this program, as well as others at Orfalea College of Business, get the chance to work on collaborative real-world industry projects, gaining valuable experience working for clients within a team setting.
The contacts Huang has made landed her internships at Kaiser Permanente and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
At Kaiser, she learned how to diagnose patients using big data by running their lab results through an algorithm written by doctors. The formula determined who was at risk of certain diseases.
“Sometimes doctors would miss a diagnosis,” she explains. “These projects identified people who would have otherwise been unaware of their illness and helped them get proper treatment.”
Upon completion of the MSBA, Huang took a position as an Operations Business Analyst for Lam Research—a semiconductor company in Silicon Valley.
The Silicon Valley ecosystem
Located in San Luis Obispo, the #1 college town in the US according to College Rank, the Orfalea College of Business has strong ties and partnerships with Silicon Valley-based companies which grow year-after-year.
As the 14th-most-recruited school by the Top 25 Silicon Valley employers, graduates here typically hit the ground running, with a 97 percent job placement rate measured 90 days after graduation.
The school is well-connected with top firms and corporations that acknowledge the quality of Cal Poly’s programs and students, including top companies like Apple, Google and Oracle. Graduates have regularly landed exciting jobs at some of the largest and most prestigious organizations in the region and the world.
For an industry-relevant degree with maximum career potential and a plethora of available job opportunities, the Orfalea College of Business has all the tools to equip graduates for long-term success.