Melissa MacGregor on why She Chose Notre Dame for her MSBA Degree

Author: Melissa MacGregor

It’s the Wild West era for business analytics. There’s a gold-rush mentality for companies to smartly collect, interpret and strategize using internal data streams and third-party research. It’s a nascent industry packed with opportunity and pitfalls -- and it can feel like a lawless land scramble. It’s messy. It’s exciting.

Data analytics can make or break companies. Working in Silicon Valley, I’ve crossed paths with data practices that were good, bad, and ugly. However, as the industry matures, I hope to do my part to grow that first category and minimize the latter two. In order to make the biggest impact, I’m strengthening my analytics expertise.

Melissa Macgregor


Enter Notre Dame.


The Notre Dame Master of Business Analytics stood out to me because ­-- in addition to its strong technical coursework -- the program emphasized business ethics. From data stewardship and statistical testing to visualization choices and emerging issues, this emphasis is present throughout the curriculum.


My classmates and I have learned a wealth of techniques and applications of ethical decision-making for the new frontiers of the analytics industry. We’ve also learned how to actively engage, assess and apply these skills rather than simply read about them. Studying the intersection of analytics and ethics has sparked healthy debate and thoughtful questions, which has enriched my coursework and deepened my understanding of the industry. Additionally, my MSBA professors have consistently emphasized critical thinking and clear communication -- not mindless data mining and analytics reporting.


With this degree, I have a stronger background to help shape stakeholder conversations and uphold best ethical practices -- all while applying cutting-edge techniques to my projects. In fact, I already see my MSBA education elevating the rigor of my work, the caliber of my conversations and, in turn, my overall impact.


To prospective students interested in business analytics, I ask of you: What problems do you want to work on solving? For whom? To what end? Regardless of your response, know that the Notre Dame MSBA provides its students a foundational skillset, which includes technical chops, data theory, business applications, and an ethical mindset, to dive into figuring out and communicating meaningful answers.


Throughout my professional career, I’ve cultivated a curiosity in research methods. I’ve honed this interest through leveraging learning and growth opportunities in the jobs I’ve pursued as well as taking quantitative courses in academic settings. However, nothing has given me quite the technical and ethical underpinnings as what I’ve gleaned from my MSBA coursework.