USF Hosts Academic Boot Camps for Incoming Analytics Students

First-of-its-kind week of preparation for graduate students entering new multidisciplinary program

SAN FRANCISCO (August 1, 2012)

Today the University of San Francisco kicks off the first of three academic boot camps for the inaugural cohort of students pursuing its new Master of Science degree in Analytics (MSAN). Offered jointly by the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Management, USF’s new MSAN program focuses on integrating computer science, statistics, and business economics to provide a mastery of the analytics skills necessary to drive strategic business decision-making. Held at USF’s Presidio campus, the three week-long intensive academic boot camps include lecture and lab time targeting the key programming languages, economics and finance basics, and mathematics and statistics students will need to succeed in the demanding MSAN program.

“Most schools do not offer this type of intensive preparation – one more aspect that sets the MSAN program apart,” said Terence Parr, director of the program. Professor Parr, an associate professor of computer science, most recently served as an expert witness in the Oracle vs. Google Android trial. “The academic boot camps are crucial to ensure that our cohort of 17 students, with diverse professional and educational backgrounds, start the semester with the same fundamentals. The incoming students already have impressive academic credentials, but we still need the boot camps to even out their skills in three critical areas.  The boot camps are also a great opportunity to strengthen ties among the students.”

The MS in Analytics degree begins this Fall after two years of planning by Professor John Veitch, associate dean for MBA and business programs in the USF School of Management. Professor Veitch initially brought together faculty members from both Arts and Sciences and the School of Management to shape a curriculum that combined USF’s strengths in computer science, financial economics, and business processes to meet the explosive demand for data scientists. With the support of USF Provost Jennifer Turpin, Veitch worked closely with Chris Brooks, associate dean of sciences for the College of Arts and Sciences, to bring the MSAN program to fruition.

The explicit interdisciplinary collaboration across USF in the MSAN program is what sets it apart from competitors. “Analytics necessarily pulls from different disciplines to accomplish its end goal of analyzing huge and complex streams of data,” Parr explained. “The MSAN program engages faculty from across business, computer science, and economics. It is simply the only way to provide students with the broad quantitative, business, and communication skills they need to excel as expert business analysts and data scientists.”

Parr said that the need for this type of graduate program stems from the deluge of data generated by companies, governments, and organizations every day. “It is increasingly clear, through appropriate analysis of all such data, there are great opportunities to drive business strategy and improve decision-making,” Parr stated. “It is also clear from our discussions with local tech companies, that they just can’t scale fast enough because they cannot find enough new employees with the necessary skill set. Data analytics is the hottest training you can get right now.”

“The MSAN program exemplifies the University of San Francisco’s agility to react to changing industry needs by developing and providing rigorous interdisciplinary programs by building on USF’s academic strengths,” Veitch said. “The USF Analytics program is an exciting, high visibility partnership between faculty, students, and industry that prepares students to meet the challenges of complex sets of data and its impact on business and society.”

Learn more about our MS in Analytics program.