'One of the Main Advantages is That Our Programme Has Two Training Directions—Management and Economics'
In the next academic year, HSE University-St Petersburg will open a new master's programme in Data Analytics for Business and Economics. It utilises the combined experience of two other programmes, creating a symbiosis of the strongest and most in-demand courses. Natalia Volkova, Academic Supervisor of the programme, explains what kind of specialists the programme trains, which tracks are available for students, and which soft and hard skills they will gain.
Combining the Experience of Two Programmes
The Master's programme 'Data Analytics for Business and Economics' will accept students for the first time in 2023. Created in 2022, it unites two master's programmes of the St Petersburg School of Economics and Management: 'Management and Analytics for Business' and 'Applied Economics and Mathematical Methods'. The unique feature of this combination is that students will be able to get a diploma in one of two fields: management or economics, which is very up-to-date in a rapidly changing labour market.
The new programme is a symbiosis of the strongest and the most in-demand courses and will be delivered fully in English. Another advantage of this merger is the increased support from partners who have cooperated with us before. This will help students get practical experience while they are still studying.
In general, the programme 'Management and Analytics for Business' has demonstrated interesting results. Since its creation in 2018, five students of the programme have been winners of the Student Research Paper Competition. What is more, 21 students of the programme have been prize winners in the field of 'Management' among master's students—three people have done so twice.
Several students’ papers have been published in international journals. For example, the article 'Using Text Mining and Crowdsourcing Platforms to Build Employer Brand in the US Banking Industry' was published in the scientific journal Global Business and Organizational Excellence. The research was prepared by students and graduates of the programme 'Management and Analytics for Business'—Soman Sajid, Joseph Ato Wilson, and Emmanuel Opoku-Asante. The paper analyses which values offered by companies (EVP) are important for employees in the US banking sphere. The research covered around 11,000 reviews of banking sphere employees on the crowdsourcing platform Indeed.com, which has recently become a more in-demand tool in human resource management. It turned out that people seek employment more eagerly in companies where employers pay attention to the work-life balance of their employees, the social sphere there, and development. Brand image is not that important to employees.
In 2022, our students also took part in the third International Conference on Big Data and Social Sciences with the report 'Will Resume Data Tell Stories About Job Skills?'.
In addition to the tracks on Marketing and Human Resource Management of the Master's programme 'Management and Analytics for Business', we added a track on Economics, which will increase graduates' cross-functional competencies.
There are three tracks in the programme. 'Customer Analytics' and 'People Analytics' correspond to the field of 'Management'. 'Economic Data Analysis' is a track in the field of 'Economics'.
The Customer Analytics track will teach students to analyse marketing data: why companies' clients come and go, how to prevent customer outflow and how to make a client loyal and profitable. Such research can be based on information input from websites and advertising campaigns using various indicators. For example, the cost of conversions to a website or a lead, time spent on a website, users' routes or navigation between different webpages. Students will also learn how targeted advertising works and how to optimise marketing expenditures through various channels.
The second track, People Analytics, is about the field of HR and working with a team. Students will learn how to implement digital HR technologies and methods which are aimed at motivation management and self-directed learning among employees. They will also learn to make decisions, for instance, on the career advancement of an employee based on qualitative and quantitative data analysis. One of the indicators used in HR is 'staff turnover', or how many people leave a company, how often, and why. The task of an analyst in this field is to identify the factors which influence an employee's decision to stay or leave the organisation. These might be socio-demographic characteristics (gender, age, education), the company's location, or the personal characteristics of each employee.
The Economic Data Analysis track will suit those who are ready to devote a lot of time to mathematical and economic methods. This track prepares analysts who can build analytical models for business, examine demand and analyse information about procurement, auctions, pricing experiments, and clients’ behaviour on the internet.
The target audience of our programme is applicants who plan to engage in data analysis for companies and want to gain a comprehensive education in the fields of management and economics.
In the programme, students do not study statistics from scratch. That is why applicants should have a higher education in a STEM field, economics, or management, as well as the motivation to work with numbers and big data.
Companies interested in advanced training for their employees in the field of big data analysis can send them to our programme. In this case, the employer can set tasks for students to implement while preparing their project, term papers, or thesis.
Advantages of the Programme
In my opinion, one of the main advantages is that our programme has two training directions: management and economics. This allows students to develop cross-functional competencies and offers them freedom of choice. In the first year, all the courses will be the same—management and economics are equally represented. Specialisation starts in the second year. If a student studies management in their bachelor's programme, they will have an opportunity to focus on economics, and vice versa.
Another feature of the programme is the English-language instruction. The constant language practice will help students to prepare for careers in companies where English is the corporate language. That is why applicants should have an English proficiency level of B1–B2. About 30% of applicants enrol in our programmes from abroad, and this is a rather stable trend. Consequently, during their studies, students will develop social and cooperation skills and establish business ties with representatives of various cultures.
The programme also allows those interested in developing an academic career to understand this direction better. Students will be able to choose three courses in this area. After completing their studies, graduates can continue their personal development by enrolling in PhD programmes in Russia or abroad.
Soft and Hard Skills
As for professional skills, graduates will learn how to implement advanced analytical methods (Google IQ, Yandex Metrica Expert) as well as visualisation tools (Power BI, Yandex DataLens, Excel). Furthermore, they will master machine learning techniques for text analysis and statistical data processing. These are important for building end-to-end analytics systems and complex routes which lead people to make certain choices.
In terms of social skills, we first and foremost focus on developing team-building skills. During the programme, there will be several projects in which students have to solve a real business task. It will be hard to work on these alone, so students will have to learn to work in a team and build a business communications network. Moreover, discussion of various business cases and practical tasks will develop critical thinking and creativity. The students will also have an opportunity to spend a semester at a foreign partner university, which is very useful for understanding cross-cultural differences and communications in the international environment.
Project activities are another important part of the educational process. For instance, we are currently in discussions with Pulkovo airport about such projects for our students as the promotion of parking, fast tracks and business lounges. The programme also cooperates with the consulting companies Analytic Research Group and SBS Consulting, which offer students the opportunity to develop strategies for business development in another region or electronic commerce. While working on these projects, the students will strengthen their skills for analysing market and economic conditions, consumer behaviour and marketing expenditures.
Students will also be able to try their hand at creating a new corporate development strategy product or improving an existing one. This is one of the tasks suggested by representatives of Pulkovo airport. As a result, the students will learn to analyse the company's product line, create strategies for product rebranding in the market, and calculate the budget.
Students who are interested in HR can gain experience promoting digital technologies in this sphere. This type of work involves analysing the company's digital technologies and implementing new ones.
In the second year, the students will undertake a business internship with HSE University's partner companies or research centres, such as the International Laboratory of Game Theory and Decision Making and the Centre for Strategic Entrepreneurship.
This trains students to make decisions and create strategies based on data and predictive analytics. Our graduates will be able to start their careers in data analysis and machine learning in such positions as:
1. Project manager
3. Business analyst/BI analyst
According to the HeadHunter recruitment website, the number of such vacancies exceeds 43,000 and the average salary is 97,000 rubles. Moreover, about a third of vacancies in data analysis offer remote work and/or flexible hours.
There are also more narrowly focused vacancies, such as HR analyst and economic analyst. To work in these spheres, one needs more specialised knowledge.
If you have any questions about the educational process or entrance exams for the programme, you can contact Natalia Volkova and the programme's lecturers via the Telegram chat for applicants.