Corporate Project Anchors New UC Davis Master of Business Analytics in San Francisco

People look at statistics on a glass display
Graduates of the new UC Davis business analytics program will be ready to take on a range of roles including director of digital marketing, manager of human resources analytics and revenue manager. (iStock photo)

Twitter Chat 12-1 p.m. on Nov. 10

Join the management school (@UCDavisBigData) for a Twitter chat about business analytics at #MSBAchat. Bhargava and Sanjay Saigal (@sanjay_saigal), executive director of the business analytics program, will discuss leadership in the digital enterprise and the importance of combining the right data science tools and managerial savvy to lead organizational change.

A 10-month team project for a major corporation will form the spine of a new master's program in business analytics that the University of California, Davis, is bringing to downtown San Francisco.

The Master of Science in Business Analytics, offered through the Graduate School of Management, is the newest entry in a young discipline that aims to prepare individuals to create business value from burgeoning data. It is also one of three new UC Davis graduate programs — the others being energy systems and environmental management and policy — that are accepting applications for fall 2017.

"Modern information technologies offer firms massive amounts of data, and companies are hungry for skilled workers and managers who can leverage the data and computing power to extract insight, improve decisions and create business value," said Hemant Bhargava, who is the Jerome and Elsie Suran Chair in Technology Management at the management school and a co-founder of the new program.

A tower at UC Hastings College of the Law
Classes will be held at the UC Hastings College of the Law in downtown San Francisco. (Hastings photo)

Classes in the 10-month program will be held on Friday afternoons and evenings and Saturdays at the UC Hastings College of the Law in the heart of San Francisco's Civic Center.

Distinguishing features

One of the program's distinguishing features is its emphasis on learning by doing. Over the 10 months, teams of five will each work through the entire lifecycle of a corporate project identifying and framing a business analytics opportunity, working on data management and analysis, and presenting their recommendations to management.

"We need employees who possess the technical and business skills for converting data into good decisions and positive business value," said Chet Kapoor, CEO of Apigee, a software company that specializes in application programming interfaces. "The UC Davis business analytics program promises to be a transformative experience," he added. "It has a learning-by-doing philosophy, an innovative curricular design that blends technical thinking with organizational effectiveness, and leverages students with specialist skills."

Among other program features:

  • Tenured faculty and senior corporate experts will teach the courses.
  • Courses in organizational behavior and strategy will prepare graduates to become leaders who influence change in their organizations.
  • The program aims to enroll about 50 percent women and create corporate-sponsored scholarships for them.

Prasad Naik, a professor of marketing and the other co-founder of the business analytics program, said graduates will be ready to take on a range of roles including director of digital marketing, manager of human resources analytics and revenue manager.

Programs in energy systems, environmental policy and management

Prasant Mohapatra, vice provost for graduate education and dean of Graduate Studies at UC Davis, said it is significant that the university, even with nearly 100 graduate academic and professional programs, is launching another three this year. "UC Davis' range of expertise in basic and applied research and our hallmark for interdisciplinary studies make us adept at preparing graduates to meet emerging issues," he said.

Building on its successful history of research and professional engagement in energy, policy and management, UC Davis will now offer M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in energy systems. As part of this program, students will receive the interdisciplinary training required to tackle the energy challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Students will work with UC Davis' world-renowned faculty and researchers to take relevant courses from across the campus and conduct research to address pressing environmental, economic, policy and social challenges related to energy production and consumption facing California, the United States and the world.

"Currently, there is an unmet demand for highly skilled employees with interdisciplinary graduate training in energy," said Alissa Kendall, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and chair of the new Energy Graduate Group. "Graduates from this program will have the educational foundation and real-world experience to become leaders in industry, government and academia."

The one-year master's degree in environmental policy and management will provide advanced training in applying environmental science to real-world issues. Targeting students with scientific and engineering backgrounds, the program will focus on interdisciplinary training on the roles of science in environmental policy and management. Graduates will develop the communication, organizational and policy skills needed for practically implementing scientific and technical findings.

Media Resources

Hemant Bhargava, UC Davis Graduate School of Management, 530-754-5961,

Tim Akin, UC Davis Graduate School of Management, 530-752-7362,

Julia Ann Easley, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-752-8248,

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