In a global economy marked by unemployment, it might be surprising to hear that one industry is actually booming with career opportunities. That industry happens to be Big Data and business analytics. By 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills. According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, the big data industry will also need over 1.5 million people in the next few years capable of analyzing data that enable business decisions. Global companies have begun the search for employees with complex skillsets and the ability to analyze large amounts of data. As you can see, big data is becoming ever so important for international business.

Big Data has been called by many as the next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity. Colleges around the world are beginning to realize this bold claim and are now preparing students for the future created by Big Data. Many MBA and graduate programs now offer Big Data degrees that grant students the advanced skills of managing and analyzing complex datasets. These new programs are designed to help students meet the needs of global companies in creating meaning out of large amounts of accumulated data. Here at Michigan State University, the Broad College of Business recently launched its Masters of Science in Business Analytics Program. Graduates of programs like these will expand their knowledge of business intelligence and become valuable for many companies around the world.

So what do these Big Data programs mean for international businesses? With a potential workforce skilled in data analytics, international businesses can use Big Data to create collaborations across borders and industries. For example, a growing global company might need data analytic services to better understand the market of a country that it targets for business. Big Data companies located in or nearby that targeted country can then offer data analytics to the growing global company. From a trade perspective, the Big Data company is exporting its services while the global company is potentially exporting products to a new market based on a decision using Big Data. This cross border collaboration can actually already be seen in countries like India and the United States.

Company collaboration and college curriculum are changing rather quickly as a result of Big Data being used more often in critical business decisions.  With the changes being made to accommodate a data driven business environment, the future of business analytics will continue to evolve and become important for workers and companies alike. Deep analytical talent offers a competitive advantage for businesses in every market regardless of size, scope, or industry. Data has swept into every industry and nearly every business function. In the future, businesses and employees who understand Big Data will not only be competitive in the global marketplace but will also be able to make the right decisions that could help change the world.

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