School of Business adjusts major requirements after AACSB changes accreditation process

Due to a change in national accreditation requirements, the School of Business has added data analytics as a required course for all majors in the department. This has concerned some students, but excited others as they feel the school is finally adjusting to modern demand for data analysts (Josie Kwan/ Assoc. photo editor).

The School of Business has decided to add data analytics as a required course for all students who will enter the major in the fall of 2019. The college changed the requirements in order to fit the new standards to be an accredited business school. 

Students who are already recognized as majors by the School of Business are not required to take the course. 

Dean of the School of Business Mary Ellen Zuckerman said that the school decided to add the requirement to the school’s majors because it is an important skill sought after by employers and internships. 

“The School of Business has been hearing a lot from alumni, employers and internship sponsors about the importance of data analytics to the skill set that business school students going out into the workplace need,” Zuckerman said.  

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business has added data analytics to its requirements for accredited business schools. 

“Students already in the business school can take the course, but we can’t require it of them,” Zuckerman said. “However, I believe that there will be a number of students who are upper-level students who will recognize that this is something that will be important for them and they will want to take it.”

The School of Business hopes to establish a data analytics minor by spring 2020 as well. Zuckerman says that the minor will include “some electives that students can take once they’ve taken the basic course so they can build on those skills if they want to continue further.” Zuckerman cites the main goals of data analytics courses, which include visualization of data, computer science structuring of data, cleaning and organizing data, analysis of data sets and how to answer key questions using data sets. 

Associate professor of management Christian Shin will teach the required data analytics course and elective data analysis courses. The School of Business is also looking to hire another faculty member that is skilled in economics and data analysis to teach the required introduction to data analysis course, according to Zuckerman.

Some students have expressed that the majors within the business school are already course-intensive and are concerned about adding more requirements, whereas others are excited about the change. 

Economics and international relations major and senior Alex Basile felt the change was particularly important given standards across business. 

“I think that Geneseo is finally getting with the times by making this a mandatory course because over the past decade data analytics has been so important and we’re kind of late to the game,” Basile said. “The data analytics course that I’m in right now, there are nine people in it. There should be more than that…Every company across every industry needs data analysts and data scientists.” 

Economics major sophomore Olivia Williams believes that the School of Business should remove some of its existing requirements if they choose to add data analytics as a requirement. 

“I already think that they have a lot of requirements and they probably shouldn’t be adding more,” Williams said. “If they do, I think they should eliminate one.”

Williams agrees, however, that a data analytics minor would benefit business students. Williams said that business minors should be open to other majors and not limited to students in the School of Business.

“[This] is very unfortunate because they’re very applicable to many careers,” Williams said. 

Basile explained that while this additional requirement may be more difficult for credit heavy majors, such as accounting, the benefits of the addition outweigh the costs. 

“I think probably half of my friends want to be going into jobs doing data analytics and [for] the school of business as a whole, data analytics is essential for making proper business decisions,” Basile said. “Especially looking towards the future. Every firm needs data analysts because they’re relying on it.”