Yale and IBM Prepare MBA Students for Social Media

The Yale School of Management Center for Customer Insights and IBM are collaborating on an academic initiative that will provide analytics and training resources to MBA students, helping them develop the skills needed as they prepare to become future business leaders. Academically, this is so needed within our college and university systems. Social media is here to stay, and our future leaders need to know how to utilize the field.

The Yale School of Management Center for Customer Insights and IBM are collaborating on an academic initiative that will provide analytics and training resources to MBA students, helping them develop the skills needed as they prepare to become future business leaders. Academically, this is so needed within our college and university systems. Social media is here to stay, and our future leaders need to know how to utilize the field.

Social networks and mobile devices have reinvented the way in which people interact with company brands as massive amounts of data are being generated daily on media channels like Facebook and Twitter, consumer blogs and company websites. With so much data resting within these sources, it is essential for the upcoming generation of business leaders to possess strong analytics skills to better harness and measure brand and customer opinion, so they can capitalize on new opportunities.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a 24 percent increase in demand for professionals with management analysis skills over the next 8 years. Helping to fuel this increase is the rising use of business analytics by companies in their efforts to learn more about their customers, including buying habits and preferences.

The Yale School of Management and its Center for Customer Insights in collaboration with IBM is addressing the need for students to build strong analytics skills with a first-of-its-kind “Customer Insight” project-focused class. Students benefit from the class by learning more about the advances in analytics and the corresponding new job opportunities that use analytics to help tackle complex business and societal challenges ranging from predicting and better understanding customer buying trends to improving retail sales, helping brand managers gather vital feedback on the success of a marketing campaign to building an efficient business system.

The class gives students the opportunity to apply analytics skills to real business scenarios. For example, through social analytics capabilities if a business is not providing the level of customer service required during peak season or peak hours, they can now look at reports from the social data collected that will support the hiring of extra workforce to better serve their customers, and to avoid any negative comments associated with their brand.

“Business analytics is going mainstream, and the explosion of data from the social networks is a sign that the tides are shifting. It’s important for us to energize the classroom and that calls for integrating the latest technology into our curriculum in order to prepare students for high-value job opportunities,” said Ravi Dhar, Professor and Director of the Center for Customer Insights, Yale School of Management. “With this collaboration with IBM, we are giving students the opportunity to tackle real-world projects, the idea is to focus on learning by doing and with this type of real training under their belts, students can be productive a lot sooner in their new job roles.”

Now, as a member of the IBM Academic Initiative, the Yale School of Management Center for Customer Insights will also receive no-charge access to IBM technology, course materials, training and curriculum development. Yale School of Management faculty and students will also have the opportunity to collaborate with IBM and gain hands-on expertise from IBM researchers and developers on innovative projects. With a prestigious school like Yale taking the initiative to prepare our future leaders with an understanding and application of social media, we are sure to see more educational institutions creating similar opportunities.