Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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Professor Krass, Academic Director

In this post we speak to the Academic Director for the Master of Management Analytics program, Professor Dmitry Krass. Professor Krass talks about his own background, why he has worked to develop the program and why the skill-set that employers are looking for is evolving.

Hi Professor Krass, can you tell us a little about your background?

Of course. I am a Professor of Operations Research and Statistics, and have been with the Rotman School of Management for nearly 20 years now. My research and teaching interests include application of analytical tools to a variety of management problems, including facility location, logistics, reliability, inventory location, environmental policy and humanitarian logistics.

I also carry out a lot of consultancy work related to predictive analytics, optimization of marketing effort and operational effectiveness.

I teach several courses related to analytics: the Predictive Analytics for Effective Business Decisions as well as the Art of Spreadsheet Modeling in the MBA program. I am excited to be the Academic Director for the new program we are offering in management analytics

Why did you develop this program?

Having been involved in the sector for a number of years, I have seen it grow in a variety of ways.  First, many more things are now measurable, and quantifiable than ever before – with better data becoming available all the time.  Second, there has been explosive growth and availability of computing power (where a laptop can now do what only specialized computers could do a few years ago).

This has led to two developments:

  1. Ssophisticated analytical tools that were not workable in the past due to their computational load are suddenly quite usable and widely available. 
  2. These tools are at the fingertips of wider audience than ever before.

Thus more and more organizations are turning to data and various analytical tools to provide decision support at both tactical and strategic levels.

Discussions with those in industry

Through speaking to managers in various organizations and at various levels (from VP’s at large banks to directors of small agencies), it was clear that with the growth in data collection and the analytical toolkit, the variety of questions that can be (and are being) asked, and the problems that can be (and are being) solved, are almost infinite.

With the growth of demand for analytical-based solution you need trained analytics professionals who are able to not only do all of the necessary analysis, but understand what the underlying managerial issues involved, and to effectively communicate their analytical findings to managers.

This is what we see the graduates of our program being able to do.

Where might graduates of the program work?

There are so many places; in recent years the growth has been explosive. Analytics professionals work in management, marketing, finance, operations, healthcare, government …now it is hard to find an area where they do not work.

The types of questions may be different depending on the industry, but the basic analytical approach to the managerial problem, as well as much of the toolkit, stays the same. Our students will be comfortable with the toolkit and understand the types of questions they could be asked.

How important are communication skills to a management analytics professional?

Very.

Once you’ve carried out the analysis (at any level) you would need to present your finding to the managers, using a language that makes sense to them.

You would need to interpret what the models are saying and make sure you are clearly showing how the answers are coming from your analysis, without making it confusing or overly complex. Being able to communicate your finding appropriately is a key skill.

We aim to help the students on our program become comfortable with both analysis and communication of their finding. They will also be able to identify what is important from a business perspective that will help when they are looking for the data to collect and analyze.

The Master of Management Analytics is designed to give students the advanced data management, analytics and communication skills needed to become an analytics professional in 9 months.

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