A group of professors in the Orfalea College of Business Masters of Business Analytics Program have penned and published a string of influential and best-selling textbooks, helping to shape the future of the field in the process.
In addition to recently being ranked as the best master’s program in the west in the discipline of business analytics, the MSBA program at the Cal Poly Orfalea College of Business has developed a foundation of literature that has become pervasive and extremely influential among instructors and thought practitioners.
Economics Professor Sanjiv Jaggia has published a suite of texts about the business analytics field. Along with his OCOB coauthors Professors Kevin Lertwachara and Leida Chen, plus Professor Alison Kelly of Suffolk University, he recently published Business Analytics: Communicating with Numbers, which follows an experiential learning approach, seamlessly threading the topics of data wrangling, descriptive analytics, predictive analytics, and prescriptive analytics into a cohesive whole.
His other titles, which he also coauthored with Professor Kelly, are Business Statistics: Communicating with Numbers and The Essentials of Business Statistics: Communicating with Numbers.
According to his publisher, McGraw-Hill, the three texts have become the company’s best sellers in the areas of business statistics as well as business analytics. They are projected to reach somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 students in the next year alone, being adopted in several prominent schools like Indiana-Bloomington, Michigan State, Purdue, South Carolina, Colorado-Boulder, and USC, as well as in numerous small colleges.
According to his publisher, McGraw-Hill, the three texts have become the company’s best sellers in the areas of business statistics as well as business analytics. They are projected to reach somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 students in the next year alone.
“It’s always gratifying when a professor in Georgetown tells me that these texts have allowed her to teach the way she’s always wanted to,” says Professor Jaggia. “Or when a graduate student in Nevada reaches out to tell me how much he enjoyed studying from one of them, or when a friend’s daughter in India informs me that she’s learning statistics from these books.”
Like his colleagues, OCOB economics Professor Eduardo Zambrano has a pedigree of producing significant texts in the field of analytics. Perhaps most notably he worked as a coauthor alongside economics Professor Roger B. Myerson of the University of Chicago, who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2007, to produce the second edition of their book, Probability Models for Economic Decisions.
The text offers an introduction to the use of probabilistic models for analyzing risks and economic decisions, drawing on insights from the fields of operations research, statistics, information economics, and game theory. It also takes a hands-on, Learn by Doing approach, teaching students from scratch how to build complex and realistic Monte Carlo simulations of the decision-problems modern organizations may face.
“I started teaching from the first edition of the book in 2005 and when the opportunity to be a co-author in the second edition materialized late in 2017 it was like a dream coming to fruition,” he says. “Students love to learn from the book and teachers love to teach from it because it adopts a simulation and optimization approach that allows instructors to offer a course which is both very theoretical as well as very practical.”
Meanwhile, the MSBA program’s director, marketing Professor Brennan Davis, has also written a pair of textbooks with wide impact and circulation. His titles, Business Analytics: Data Analysis and Storytelling for Business and Marketing Analytics, are considered foundational textbooks. They teach business analytics and marketing analytics concepts and exercises and have been adopted at 157 universities, including the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Austin, Villanova, and Notre Dame.
“It’s such a privilege to have our faculty’s groundbreaking textbook authorships to demonstrate to potential students that we have state-of-the-art programs. Why wouldn’t you want to learn about these important analytics topics right from the source?”
“Cal Poly hired me to develop a marketing analytics class,” he says, “but at the time, no marketing analytics textbooks existed, so I worked with a team of industry professionals to build the course. It was so successful with students that I pitched it to the courseware publisher and we discovered professors worldwide who needed a marketing analytics textbook. It feels deeply satisfying to offer content that helps the next generation of students enter a new era of marketing.”
Taken together—and considered with other texts, like Average Treatment Effect Bounds with an Instrumental Variable: Theory and Practice, which was cowritten by OCOB economics Professor Carlos Flores—it’s clear that the graduate programs at OCOB are not only offering its students immersive Learn by Doing experiences, they are also a place filled with minds, thinkers, and practitioners who are driving the business, economics, and statistics analysis conversation well beyond Cal Poly at some of the best universities in the world, helping to shape the future of the field in the process.
“As the director of Cal Poly’s MSBA program,” says Davis, “it’s such a privilege to have our faculty’s groundbreaking textbook authorships to demonstrate to potential students that we have state-of-the-art programs. Why wouldn’t you want to learn about these important analytics topics right from the source?”