Introducing Students to Business Analytics: A Case Study

Faye X. Zhu, Joel Rudin


Employer demand for business analytics skills is strong, yet most universities provide an inadequate amount of business analytics education. This paper describes and evaluates an introductory business analytics course required for undergraduate business management majors. It examines not only students' perceptions of teaching effectiveness and learning satisfaction from end-of-semester surveys but also student learning outcomes measured by the instruments for the program assurance of learning. Student evaluations were not generally favourable, which is unsurprising for the courses like this that require statistical analysis and quantitative skills. However, the measures of learning showed positive results as over three-quarters of the students’ demonstrated satisfactory performance in using analytical tools and applying spreadsheet and optimization models. Perceptions were enhanced for students who held more positive impressions of the instructor and of the team-based assignments, who expected higher grades, and who were more interested in the subject of business analytics. The study suggests that measures of learning may provide a more accurate picture of the effectiveness of business analytics coursework than measures of reactions.

Keywords: business analytics, business education, learning, reactions.

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