On June 16, the first-ever cohort of the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program began classes at the Carlson School. These 25 students have backgrounds in math, statistics, engineering, finance, business, communications, and more. Most students have international experience with at least half having worked in an analytics position that enhanced their interests in the area.

"Students will take a rigorous set of course work during the next year but most seem undaunted by the prospect," says Information and Decision Sciences Chair Alok Gupta. "We look forward to interacting with these students and helping them reach their career objectives and, perhaps more importantly, put them on a lifelong journey of learning in this organically evolving field."

The MSBA program is designed to prepare talented professionals to harvest, process, and analyze data to extract important insights. Ranked No. 3 in Management Information Systems, and as a national leader in business education, the Carlson School is well-suited to host a curriculum at the intersection of data analytics and business.

"Offering a program in data science is a natural fit for the school," says Carlson School Dean Sri Zaheer. "Our faculty are world leaders in big data as well as the latest practices in business. The Carlson School is excited for this new opportunity to shape data science professionals with the business acumen needed to apply insights from big data."

Students embark on the three-semester program this summer by taking business and management fundamentals courses, and beginning career exploration through the Graduate Business Career Center. This fall, the group will tackle technical fundamentals of data and analytics. In spring 2015, the students take specialty courses and engage in an experiential learning project for a real-world company.

The program is accepting applications for admission to the 2015 class through Nov. 1, 2014.