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Wednesday, 09 December 2015 01:02

La Trobe and SAS to foster analytics education


La Trobe University has partnered with SAS Australia to offer a Master of Business Analytics degree, with the first student intake scheduled for 2016.

The relationship between La Trobe and SAS dates back to 2007. The company will provide technology, scholarships, work placements (some with SAS itself, but more commonly with the company's customers), and ongoing support for teaching and research.

La Trobe Business School head Professor Paul Mather said the Master of Business Analytics aims to meet the current and growing need for analytics professionals.

"Our new Master of Business Analytics addresses a considerable skills gap in the emerging 'big data' phenomenon and should help students to benefit from the cutting edge expertise within our Business School," he said.

"This is a unique collaborative program designed with input from academia, industry and practitioners. The course is highly practice-focussed both on the use of industry tools but also in the curriculum, where industry practitioners teach into at least 20% of each subject.

"The new business analytics research team members at La Trobe individually have a strong track record in machine learning, data mining, text analytics as well as many years of industry experience. The team has recently set up the SAS Analytics Innovation Lab, where foundation research will be adapted and enhanced for big data analytics in real life and industry applications."

SAS Australia and New Zealand chief operating officer Lynette Clunies-Ross (pictured) said the enhanced relationship with La Trobe SAS undertaking was in keeping with the company's support of STEM teaching, which is needed for the country's future productivity and international competitiveness.

SAS and La Trobe are "likeminded in fostering STEM education through the school and university systems," she told iTWire.

"Analytical skills will be an increasingly important differentiator in every field, and we are obviously delighted to continue working with La Trobe to help guarantee that differentiator for this country," she said.

She also pointed to the growing demand for qualified analytics professionals. "It takes time to become fully skilled in data analytics but once they are, La Trobe’s graduates will find ready and rewarding careers awaiting them."

Clunies-Ross told iTWire that SAS is keen to partner with any Australian university that wants to focus on analytics. The company is also involved in Melbourne Business School's Master of Business Analytics (which is about to graduate its first intake), and the University of South Australia's Master of Data Science.

SAS is in active dialog with other local institutions, she told iTWire.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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