STEM designation added to 2 business programs
GCU News Bureau
Business students in two master’s programs at Grand Canyon University will be happy to know that those degrees have even more value thanks to a recent change in designation.
The Master’s of Science degrees in Business Analytics and Information Technology Management both have added a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) designation recognized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That is particularly valuable to international students who wish to stay in the United States to work in their field, but it benefits U.S. citizens as well.
“It’s a job advantage when you have a STEM designation on your diploma,” said Dr. Randy Bulriss, who along with Dr. David Perkins developed the Business Analytics program.
Business analytics, Bulriss said, comes down to this:
“We solve problems. They could be supply chain management problems. For example, the engine we use to do our forecasting has 10% error. Could we make it 5% error? It could be forecasting products or how many people to staff the shift. Could be supply-demand problem. We’re trying to solve organizational problems.”
The strengths of the newly STEM-designated CCOB programs, Bulriss said, include their cohort section, a statistics class and computer programming instruction.
The change was coordinated in collaboration with the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, which now has an M.S. in Data Science.
“It’s a great example of how we work together in the two colleges,” said Dr. Randy Gibb, Dean of the Colangelo College of Business.
Eligible students may be able to qualify for an additional 24-month STEM OPT extension. Through this program, students gain a deeper understanding of descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics as they study key concepts such as statistical language, data mining and data visualization.
Here are some examples of each type of analytics, based on students’ capstone projects:
- Descriptive: Determined the most efficient use of spending the marketing budget on paid digital marketing channels to increase enrollments
- Predictive: Determined which type of social media posts generated the most traffic and potential future ticket sales
- Prescriptive: Created a time series inventory forecasting model
Critical thinking, mathematics and computing skills blend in hands-on, project-based learning experiences. In courses such as Introduction to Databases, Applied Analytics for Businesses and Data Mining, students gain the following core competencies:
- The principles and relative advantages of object-oriented and object-relational databases
- Industry tools and methods for presenting data and making predictions based on statistical analysis
- Techniques for pattern and knowledge extraction from large data sets
- Advanced analytics techniques for the interpretation of organizational data applied to specific business solutions
The M.S. in IT Management program provides students with the same foundational business skills of an MBA program while providing a focus and context of technology – which is part of every business.
It develops skills in leadership, financial decision-making and analysis as well as the necessary context of business technology operations such as business process management, risk assessment, cybersecurity and project management.
“The M.S. in ITM is really tomorrow’s MBA,” Gibb said. “Business and technology are merging into one entity; thus, our graduate degree takes the core aspects of the MBA in the context of technology and then takes it to the next level with risk, cyber and project management.”