Why you need to study big data in your MBA

The growing importance of big data means that understanding it is no longer a bonus for businesses, but a necessity. Here’s how the MBA program at Nyenrode Business University in Amsterdam is helping students unlock big career opportunities in big data.

In short

What is big data?

We’ve never had access to so much data, yet it has never been a greater challenge for businesses to use it to their benefit. This is the paradox that lies at the heart of big data.

Big data is defined by Investopedia as “the large, diverse sets of information that grow at ever-increasing rates. It encompasses the volume of information, the velocity or speed at which it is created and collected, and the variety or scope of the data points being covered [known as the ‘three v’s’ of big data].”

We can turn to some of the biggest companies in the world to see how they use big data to cement their competitive advantage. Facebook uses it to help its users create highly-targeted ads. Netflix uses it to recommend TV shows and movies based on a user’s watching habits. Amazon uses big data to predict future demand and recommend relevant products to customers.

The growing importance of big data is such that MBA programs are now making it a key part of their curriculums. Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands is one such example. Vamsi Tarimela, a current full-time MBA student at Nyenrode, believes data is becoming a necessity, not a bonus, for businesses. “I don’t see technology or data as a specialization anymore, because every industry has some kind of data now,” he says. (00:06)

Fellow MBA student Vittoria Wu believes learning how to analyze and explain data is the key to benefiting from it. “I think data is a very interesting topic for us, and I’m looking forward to learning how to analyze it and how we can use data to predict future trends,” she says. “They say ‘data is the truth,’ and so it’s useful to learn how to explain data as well.” (00:18)

Big data in the Nyenrode MBA

At Nyenrode, the importance of big data for businesses is reflected in their full-time MBA curriculum. Rather than being a specialization or optional elective, it’s one of the core topics of the program alongside more traditional areas such as marketing, finance, and management. According to Dr. Sam Solaimani, Nyenrode Associate Professor & Management Consultant, the challenge for businesses is learning how they can use big data to their benefit.

“Big data is not an IT topic anymore,” he explains. “It transcends across companies and it transcends across departments. It’s a matter of time until companies figure out how they can benefit from big data, and how they can turn big data into a benefit for businesses, customers, and societies.” (00:40)

However, Nyenrode’s emphasis on big data is not a reaction to a trend. It is something that the school has been teaching for years in order to prepare students for when they enter the workplace. It is their way of, in Sam’s words, keeping their students “one step ahead” of the competition.

“I’m very happy that Nyenrode has been thinking about big data for years and already places an emphasis on data and technology. Awareness is already one step ahead as part of the solution.” (00:58)

Where can big data take you in your career?

The global big data market is expected to grow from $41.3 billion in 2019 to $116 billion in 2027. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in big data is also forecasted to increase by 31% between 2020 and 2030. Yet, despite the growing demand for big data specialists, businesses are still struggling to find the expertise required. That’s why a command of big data means big career opportunities for MBA graduates.

Big data touches almost every aspect of business, and a career in big data will likely collide with a number of different business functions including finance, marketing, and logistics. It’s why it goes so well together with an MBA. While a specialization in big data teaches you how to understand and analyze data, an MBA can help you apply it to different business functions. You could just as easily be using big data to optimize supply chain management as you could to drive sales.

Future-proofing their students with the skills they need to thrive in the era of big data is a big reason why 88% of Nyenrode MBA graduates find employment within three months of graduation. Big data means big challenges, but it also means big opportunities. An MBA from Nyenrode could help you unlock those opportunities and thrive in your future career.

Do you want to learn how an MBA from Nyenrode can help you launch a career in big data? Speak to one of our Nyenrode MBA ambassadors to find out more.

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