Applied Analytics Programs Provide Essential Context

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By: Lori Yackanicz, Faculty School of Graduate Studies  Friday, December 4, 2020 09:24 AM

Why are applied analytics professionals in such high demand? According to Fortune, “Data is proliferating at warp speed, but data literacy among managers and executives hasn't caught up.” 

All the algorithms in the world won’t help businesses make better strategic decisions if the data isn’t analyzed in context. A Muhlenberg College master’s degree or graduate certificate in applied analytics can transform your career by training you on how to provide guidance that’s informed by a broader understanding of an organization’s goals, market conditions, and other key industry information.  

Resetting the Bar for Data Experts

Harvard Business Review explains that technological expertise was the most important data science skillset for employers five or ten years ago, but that’s no longer enough. Now, businesses want to hire people who can provide strategic guidance based on a holistic understanding of data systems. Employers are looking for professionals who have the training to perform more sophisticated analytics tasks:

  • Ask the right questions
  • Understand which data is relevant and how to test the validity of the data they have
  • Interpret the data well, so the results are useful and meaningful
  • Test hypotheses using A/B tests to see what results pan out
  • Create easy-to-understand visualizations so leaders understand the results


The Muhlenberg applied analytics program goes beyond helping you learn how to understand data; we teach you how to identify patterns in data, when to challenge information in reports, and techniques for making data-driven decisions about the future. This is precisely the kind of skill employers are seeking.

The Importance of Context

FEI (Finance Executives International) recommends that Chief Financial Officers focus on improving the data analytics skills of their teams, in part because businesses need to understand how to interpret data insights in ways that allow them to set the strategic direction for their organizations. “Finance teams need to connect and orchestrate all sources of data to get a holistic picture of business performance, opportunities, and risk. That is, they have to make sense of the huge amounts of data in a context to determine the best actions across functions and at all levels of the business. Taking analytics to the next level requires robust data and computing skills.”

Management consulting firm McKinsey underscored this point, saying that people who can translate data effectively “bring a unique skill set to help businesses increase the return on investment for their analytics initiatives.” 

Make Your Resume Irresistible

Whether you earn a graduate certificate in applied analytics or pursue your master’s degree, you’ll see an excellent return on the investment. Allen Blue, co-founder of LinkedIn, said that positions related to data science and machine learning account for five of the top 15 fastest growing jobs in the U.S. When it comes to the job hunt, professionals with advanced analytics training have a leg up on the competition. 

If you’re looking for an applied analytics program led by professors with strong academic credentials and deep industry experience, we invite you to contact us to learn more about our graduate certificate and master’s degree options.

About the Muhlenberg College School of Graduate Studies
The Muhlenberg College School of Graduate Studies offers a variety of post-baccalaureate certificates and master’s degrees aimed at enhancing intellectual and career development through challenging coursework grounded in the liberal arts. With a mix of graduate certificate pathways and master’s degrees aligned with workforce and economic trends, the Muhlenberg College School of Graduate Studies enables students to prepare for professional work and career advancement, with a focus on leadership and innovation.