A name change for Mendoza’s undergraduate IT major
Published: June 7, 2019 / Author: Carol Elliott
Next generation technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, the Internet of Things, virtual reality, the cloud and a host of others are reshaping the way businesses operate and compete.
Those businesses that can develop, implement and generate value with these technologies have a significant advantage over those that cannot. Businesses of all sorts — from industrial powerhouses to startups — are transforming their operations, processes, products and services to leverage technologies and thrive.
To help students better understand how to leverage business technologies, the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business recently changed the name of its long-standing undergraduate major from IT Management to Business Technology. The major is offered through Mendoza’s Department of IT, Analytics, and Operations (ITAO).
The change is intended to better describe what Business Technology students actually study, and to emphasize the strategic importance of so many diverse digital technologies to businesses. Also the name change clearly differentiates the major from ITAO’s other major, Business Analytics.
“We are in the digital age and understanding how to generate business value from technologies is critical to any business,” said Robert Easley, the John W. Berry Sr. Department Chair and ITAO professor. “The Business Technology major prepares students for careers in technology consulting and business innovation, whereas our Business Analytics major prepares students for careers in consulting, data analytics and data science. We train our graduates to solve business problems using digital technologies and data.”
While both majors require courses such as data storytelling, quantitative decision modeling and business problem solving, the Business Technology and Business Analytics curricula change focus in the advanced courses.
Business Technology students concentrate on the development and use of digital technologies to solve business problems and to improve their processes, products, services, and business models. The program also is intended to develop an understanding of the managerial issues encountered in the operation or introduction of technologies in organizations. Coursework covers topics such as application development, strategic business technologies, IT project management, and cybersecurity. Graduates often go into careers in consulting, technology startups, technology implementation, process improvement, business transformation, and cybersecurity.
The Business Analytics major is oriented toward statistical methods and data analysis. The program of study focuses on topics such as predictive analytics and data visualization with a heavy emphasis on statistics and mathematical methods. Career interests tend to include consulting, data science, business analysis, sports analytics, and machine learning.
“There are so many different career opportunities for students who understand how businesses can leverage technology and data – from large companies and consulting firms to tech startups,” said Jennifer Waddell, assistant ITAO department chair and associate teaching professor. “Both of our majors prepare students to thrive in the current business climate, and there is a significant overlap in the curriculum between the two majors. However, there are differences in advanced courses. Advanced Business Technology courses emphasize strategic business technologies and processes for developing and implementing these technologies. Advanced Business Analytics emphasizes statistical approaches to problem solving and uncovering insight from data.”
Mendoza has offered a major in IT Management (now Business Technology) since 2007, but more recently added the Business Analytics major in fall 2017, partly in response to rising demand across a wide range of industries for graduates with knowledge and skills in working with big data. A 2016 McKinsey Global Institute report, “The Age of Analytics: Competing in a Data-Driven World,” said that business analytics will likely upend industries. The challenge for companies is “how to integrate new capabilities into their operations and strategies — and position themselves in a world where analytics can upend entire industries,” according to the report.
The College has launched a number of technology and data analytics-focused programs in recent years, including an undergraduate minor in Digital Marketing starting fall 2019. Mendoza also offers a one-year Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) for working professionals in its Chicago classroom and a full-time residential MSBA on its main campus. Mendoza also offers a dual MBA/MSBA degree for full- time students on its main campus.