Strategy, Innovation & Leadership

What if you knew the right question to ask Big Data?

By Jalal Ashayeri | November 17, 2014 | 2 min read

As Big Data grows even bigger, it creates new opportunities for businesses and ambitious minds alike.  Business Analytics is one of the fastest growing fields in business management. It can disclose the wealth of information that is hidden within data: if you know what to ask for and how.

TIAS offers a Full-time International MSc degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Business Analytics in September 2015 in Utrecht.

Program set-up

The program starts with a solid foundation in business management to understand the decision making nature across various functional areas such as Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, and Operations & Supply Chain Management. Professor Jalal Ashayeri: “Many Business Analytics programs don’t offer this kind of foundation, but we believe it is essential. Once we understand the crucial decisions that need to be made and what type of data is required, we are in a position to learn the key business analytics skills.”


The specialization starts with Business Process & Data Mapping.  The first course is divided into two parts. First, various business contexts, processes and types of business issues are discussed. Second, through the use of case work, the data requirements are identified and students learn about programming and computational activities necessary to collect data. Professor Ashayeri suggests that the aim here is to learn how to formulate the right questions; for example, what is important in the data, who is the user, how can the data best be processed? Essentially, all the data in the world is useless unless you ask the right question that would benefit your organization.

During the second course, Business Data Analytics, technologies are examined that improve decision making. Using real world examples, data-mining techniques are put into context. “A business analytics is not an IT expert, nor is he a mathematical wizard who creates data models. He is the person that bridges the no-man’s land between those two experts. He is able to narrow the scope of possibilities to the fine point where real problems can be answered, he knows the data he needs and in which format.”

Decision Analysis & Optimization, the third course, focuses on decision-making using management science techniques. Participants will learn how to link “questions” logically and systematically by modelling real life cases. The final course, Business Intelligence, brings together everything learned in the previous courses, to be able to solve real-life problems through a structured approach.

Ahsayeri: “MScBA graduates can work in any sector and in various functions because they know which questions to ask and what the business needs are in order to answer them.”

Read more about the MScBA.


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