Dr. Mike Ellis Explains: How does data analytics affect you?

Do you use spell check or autocomplete when you write? Have you ever gotten a recommendation for a TV show, movie, or product that turned out to be just what you wanted?

These helpful tools are made possible by analyzing past data to predict what should come next. It makes sense that if you enjoyed action movies in the past, you will probably like one tonight, right?

Generally, we refer to data analysis to support better decision-making as “data analytics.” That can involve better decisions on what comes next when you’re writing, which movie you might like to watch tonight, or many other decisions you make regularly. When we consider how data analytics works within the business world, we mean that data is used to discover ways to improve a business. Data analytics can assist in business decisions such as how best to order inventory, set prices, or identify our best customers.

One way to think of data analytics is as a range of options.

On one end, we have data science, the most technical branch of analytics. It typically requires advanced training in statistics and computer science, often in the form of a doctoral degree, and focuses on the theory and tools of analytics. At the other end, we have business people who want to make better decisions. They need some knowledge of analytical tools and techniques, but the business context is more important. It isn’t the tool but how it is used that really matters to this person. This end of the range is “applied data analytics.”

What gets the most attention in the media? Since October 2012, when the Harvard Business Review called “data scientist” the sexiest job of the 21st century, data science has been getting all the ink. But that overlooks an important issue: only a small fraction of companies have the resources they can dedicate to a proper data science effort.

Most small- to medium-sized companies (and a lot of big ones, too) need to find ways to get value from data inside accounting, finance, marketing, logistics, and other operational departments. The solution lies at the applied end of the data analytics range.

A knowledgeable analyst can discover hidden insights in data in many ways. Some are as simple as organizing and visualizing data. For example, say an air conditioning manufacturer is having problems with units arriving in one part of the country with cracked tubing. When looking at the shipping data for the damaged units, the manufacturer discovers that poor road conditions are causing huge jolts to the trucks carrying them, which leads to the cracks. With this discovery, the air conditioning manufacturer is able to upgrade the suspension systems used on those routes, and the expensive problem can be solved.

Because applied data analytics tools are a common solution to business problems, a career in data analysis is a wise choice.

At the UCA College of Business, we have undergraduate and graduate programs that teach the concepts and skills to prepare students to use applied data analytics. Students at the undergraduate level can get the same solid business foundation as our other programs while learning about analytical tools and techniques. Our technical certificate serves as a standalone credential for anyone who wants a foundation in data analytics to boost their career. The graduate-level programs are hands-on programs intended for working professionals and others who want to expand their skill set or are looking for a career change. The Graduate Certificate in Data Analytics is an introduction to applied data analytics that can be completed alone or as part of the MBA program. Our Master of Science in Applied Data Analytics takes the student deeper into analytics while keeping one foot firmly planted in the business world.

Building complex statistical models from scratch might be interesting, but it doesn’t provide value for most companies. If you are more interested in solving business puzzles than in creating fancy models, check out our programs. Or, if you are running a company with a huge amount of data and aren’t sure how to get value from it, keep your eyes open for one of our graduates!


About the Author

Mike Ellis

Dr. Michael Ellis is an Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems and Analytics (CISA) at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) College of Business, where he has served since August 2014. He earned a Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of Kansas; he also holds an MS in Management Information Systems from the University of Houston and an MS in Finance from Texas A&M University. Ellis teaches both undergraduate and graduate students and has numerous published scholarly works.

The Best of College of Business: 2021-2022

The UCA College of Business delivers experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact their communities. We are committed to a culture of excellence across all programs, activities, and events, with a focus on action-based learning and student success and retention.

Despite disruptions due to COVID during our last academic year, our students and alumni have overcome obstacles and risen as leaders. Several COB alumni were honored for their efforts in their communities and workplaces while our students volunteered at food pantries, prepared free tax returns for low-income Arkansans, and earned awards.

This annual review gives a brief look at this year’s student, alumni, and faculty success as well as evidence of our commitment to engaged learning.

If you have a story of success or accomplishment from 2021-2022 to add to this list, or anytime in the future, please send it to US.

Sincerely,
Michael Hargis
Dean, UCA College of Business



NEW & NOTEWORTHY

To address the changing business environment, COB expanded to add three new Applied Data Analytics programs:
– a Bachelor of Science
– a Master of Science
– and a technical certificate.

COB welcomed new Marketing & Management Department Chair, Dr. Tracy A. Suter, who began his role at the start of the spring semester.

Dr. Suter has taught and led at 5 institutions over the past 25 years; has authored many academic articles and textbooks and served in other administrative capacities; most extensive experience was as a 15-year faculty member at Oklahoma State University.

Learn more about his credentials, career, and interests.

COB Student Ambassadors engage, connect, and serve as representatives for our college. Twenty-one students took on the task of serving as COB’s first ever group of ambassadors.

They have talked with incoming students, received swag and headshots, and experienced unique development opportunities available only to ambassadors.


AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Economics student Caleb Vines won the Student Research Award at the 2022 Society of Business, Industry, and Economics (SOBIE) conference.

Several other COB faculty and students across all disciplines also presented papers at the SOBIE and International Academy of Business Disciplines (IABD) conferences this spring.  MORE

COB named its Outstanding Students who were chosen because they combined exemplary academic performance with internships, volunteerism, professional development, experiential education, and participation in clubs and other important experiences.

Daisy Martinez Carranza took home the top honor of COB’s 2022 Outstanding Student. READ MORE

UCA’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program was named to the Princeton Review’s 2022 Best Online MBA Programs and University HQ’s Best Arkansas MBA Programs list.

Associate Professor of economics and ACRE Scholar Jeremy Horpedahl received the Public Choice’s Duncan Black Prize for the best article contributed by a senior scholar.

Karen Shaw, a member of the COB Board of Advisors, was named 2021 CFO of the Year by Arkansas Business.

Shaw was a leader even during her UCA days, as a charter member of Beta Alpha Psi, but her leadership development didn’t stop there. Learn more about Karen’s leadership as a business and community leader.

Several COB alumni, including Joyti Lal (pictured), Ericka Gutierrez, and Scott Dews were named as rising business and community leaders by Arkansas Business.


Three teams representing UCA’s MBA program placed among the top 100 performers in a worldwide business simulation competition called GLO-BUS. Nearly 2,000 teams from 99 colleges and universities competed.


Congratulations to COB’s Theta Lambda Chapter who earned first place at the 2022 Beta Alpha Psi regional conference competitions in the category of Best Practices in the Art of Engagement and will compete at the conference in Orlando this summer. The chapter also earned a second-place win for Best Practices. MORE

In addition, UCA’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi achieved superior status for 2021-2022 from the national chapter. To be a superior chapter, the registered student organization met the following requirements:

  • Average member completed at least 32 hours of service and professional development (at least 12 each)
    >265 hours of professional development
    >555 hours of service
  • Chapter completed at least 8 reaching-out activities including attending conferences; competing in best practices and project run-with-it; alumni activities’ multi-chapter events; and promoting careers in accounting, finance, information systems, and/or data analytics.

Congratulations to our Beta Alpha Psi students and to Connie McKnight and Ashley Phillips, our tireless faculty advisors, for another year of superior status!


CAREER DEVELOPMENT & SERVICE LEARNING

More than 65 volunteers and students from UCA’s Biz@Bear Residential College collected over $1650 worth of personal care donations for children in Arkansas foster care.

This event ended an academic year with more than 1800 student engagement hours led by Academic Director, Dr. Louisa Moseley; over 200 of those were service hours. MORE

Accounting Professor Ashley Phillips was awarded the Peter J. Mehl Service-Learning Faculty of the Year Award for her work with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Under her leadership, students volunteered approximately 420 hours to return more than $324,000 of taxpayer money to the community through the preparation of over 250 tax returns for low-income taxpayers in the region.

Sixteen business professionals connected with COB students at the annual Women in Business Sixteen business professionals connected with COB students at the annual Women in Business luncheon for which a panel and table leaders shared the “Top 5 Things Women in Business Need to Know.”

 Beta Alpha Psi hosted a COB Escape Room of intricate puzzles for students to solve. To “escape,” participants applied tips for create an effective resume. READ MORE

In ’21 & ’22, COB and Acxiom partnered to provide a four-day Information Technology (IT) Careers Camp for high school students.

During the camp, students stayed on UCA’s campus, were mentored by industry experts, and participated in exercises in programming, cybersecurity, robotics, 3D modeling, and 3D laser printing.

Congratulations to all of our graduates in 2021-2022!



If you have a story of success or accomplishment from 2021-2022 to add to this list, please send it to the UCA College of Business.

For year-round news and updates from the UCA College of Business, make sure to visit uca.edu/business/news.

Interns Needed at Edafio Conway & NLR Locations

Edafio has an urgent need for part-time IT Interns at their Conway & N. Little Rock locations. They are looking to fill these positions immediately, paying $15.00 per hour.

Qualifications Needed:

  • Have a passion for using technology to solve business problems for great clients
  • Share their core values of commitment to client success, unquestionable integrity, and teamwork with humility and respect
  • Must be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in an information technology related field
  • Must have a GPA of 3.0+
  • Must be a sophomore, junior, or senior graduating December 2021 to December 2023
  • Previous help desk experience is a plus

Students can learn more here or apply by emailing their resumes to careers@edafio.com.

 

UCA Expands Computer Information Systems & Analytics Degree Options to Address Changing Business Environment

The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) is offering new degree and certificate options through its Computer Information Systems and Analytics (CISA) department, expanding opportunities for CISA students and current business professionals to gain top in-demand business and technical skills.

Beginning this fall three new Applied Data Analytics programs will be available: a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Science, and a technical certificate. These new programs follow the successful addition of both an undergraduate minor and a graduate-level technical certificate in data analytics two years ago.

“I chose to get this graduate certificate because I believe data analytics is the future. As technology is evolving, businesses are using analytics to make informed decisions, solve problems, help reduce risks, and increase return on their investments,” said Joyti Lal who is working to earn a Master of Business Administration concurrent with a Data Analytics graduate certificate.

The Department of Computer Information Systems and Analytics (CISA), located within the UCA College of Business, combines highly desired technical skills with sound business principles. The department’s name was changed in July 2021 from “Management Information Systems” to better reflect what the department now offers. [Read more…]

Career Networking Opportunity for UCA’s Rising Juniors and Seniors: September 14 & 15

Rising Juniors & Seniors, you don’t want to miss this opportunity to be the first students to meet recruiters and form career connections. This is a speed interview opportunity, and you will interview with six different companies in one hour. These companies are ready to offer entry-level positions to begin after graduation.

Before the interview day, you’ll also get a review of your resume and training about how to dress appropriately and deliver an impactful interview.

Spaces are limited, so sign up as soon as possible. Download the details and contact UCA CAREER SERVICES at 501-450-3134 or careerservices@uca.edu. [Read more…]