Cal Poly’s M.S. Business Analytics Program Ranked Among the Nation’s Top 10

Cal Poly MS Business Analytics ranked among the top 10 in the recently ranked Cal Poly’s Master of Science in Business Analytics program among the top 10 master’s programs in the nation.

Cal Poly was ranked at No. 9 ahead of University of Texas at Austin. The top 10 also included M.S. Business Analytics programs at Columbia, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania, MIT and University of Virginia. The top spot went to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Cal Poly was one of two California programs ranked within the top 10.

The ranking’s methodology emphasized affordability and the strength of the academic program, including enrollment and retention rates, in-state tuition, and average 10 year earnings. Data was provided through a survey to the National Center for Education Statistics.

This is the first ranking for Cal Poly’s program, which launched in 2016 in the Orfalea College of Business. Its curriculum distinguishes itself from others with a focus on data visualization, strategy and storytelling in addition to data science. Students engage in interdisciplinary activities leading to three completed projects, by analyzing real world problems and data provided by industry partners including Oracle and Dignity Health.

For more information on the ranking, visit

Iris Huang Tackles the Business Analytics Field

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is giving graduate student Iris Huang the knowledge, skills and connections to succeed in one of today’s hottest fields: data analytics.

Every Chinese New Year, Iris Huang would save the money she received in the traditional red envelopes limned in gold. She remembers being just 6 years old and putting the cash in a cookie jar for safekeeping.

The first-grader had told her class she hoped to be the first in her family to go to college. A boy then snarled at her, “You know that costs like $50,000, right?” That unkind comment was what first spurred her to start saving.

As she grew up, Huang knew she had the grades and the motivation to earn a degree, but she also realized the cookie-jar savings clearly weren’t going to suffice.

“I had always wanted to go to college, for as long as I could remember,” Huang explains. “I studied really hard and did my best in school, but I didn’t know if this dream would ever be achievable because I came from a very low-income household.”

It wasn’t until she met with a high school counselor that she learned about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. “I remember feeling so relieved … Going to college became a possibility because of financial aid,” Huang says.

When it came time to choose a university, Huang knew only that the school would have to be affordable and give her a hands-on learning environment.

She turned to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

The White-Hot Field of Big Data
Thanks to a number of Advanced Placement high school courses under her belt when she arrived at Cal Poly in 2014, Huang was able to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business and a concentration in information systems in just three years.

Now in her fourth year, she’s enrolled in the graduate business analytics program, part of Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business.

“Before [Cal Poly], I never thought I would even go near the tech field. I didn’t even know business analytics existed,” Huang notes. “Cal Poly has its ‘Learn by Doing’ philosophy, which really resonated with me. A lot of our students are conducting and leading their own projects.”

In the simplest terms, big data analytics involves gathering, organizing, analyzing, and communicating copious amounts of information.

“You can analyze basically anything using big data analysis tools,” says Huang. “My favorite part is visualizing findings and uncovering the story hidden in the data. It’s much easier to show a graph to someone who is unfamiliar with a topic versus showing them a bunch of numbers.”

Data analytics — a field the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will grow 27 percent by 2026 — is so new and quickly evolving that it will almost certainly give Huang her pick of jobs.

“We are learning how to organize data, find insights from the data, and communicate this to executives and key decision makers,” says the 21-year-old.

“You can do pretty much whatever you want with [the degree]. Big data is such a powerful tool.”

Connecting with Industry
If a degree is only as good as its ability to transform your life and your career, there’s already evidence that Huang is on her way to doing meaningful work.

“Getting into the graduate program at San Luis Obispo got me so much more exposure to big data and allowed me to get my foot in the door,” says the first Cal Poly Scholar, a need-based scholarship program, to graduate from Orfalea.

“At the CSU, we as students have so many industry connections available to us,” continues Huang, adding that contacts she’s made have led to internships at Kaiser Permanente and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. At Kaiser, she learned how to diagnose patients using big data by running patients’ lab results through an algorithm written by doctors; the formula could determine who was at risk for certain diseases.

“Sometimes doctors would miss a diagnosis. These projects identified people who would have otherwise been unaware of their illness and helped them get proper treatment,” she explains.

“My parents heavily emphasized education growing up,” says Huang, who also speaks Cantonese and Mandarin and immigrated from China with her parents at the age of 3. “They truly believe education has transformative powers … to make the positive changes in the world you want, allowing you to break out of your socioeconomic situation.”

That message is not unlike the one that has permeated Huang’s time at the CSU: “At Cal Poly, they teach us to not just focus on the technical aspects, but also be sure to focus on your personal values and what you want to get out of your career.”

Learn more about Cal Poly’s Master of Science in Business Analtyics program.

Iris’ article was written by the CSU and appeared as a CSU Profile. Visit the original page.

Cal Poly to Launch Online Professional Certificate Program in Packaging

Photo of a coworkers working in printing factory

Cal Poly’s Packaging Program will soon offer courses and certificates aimed specifically at packaging industry professionals that will feature interactive coursework on the critical subsets of the packaging value proposition in a global context.

Each nine-unit certificate program will take three to six months to complete, although individual courses can be taken.

Courses for the Packaging for Logistics and Supply Chains Certificate will launch in Fall 2017. The program will explore the impact of commoditization of packaging on its value proposition through global distribution, logistics and supply channel operations.

Packaging Value Chain Certificate courses will be offered in Fall 2017 and Winter 2018. Courses will provide an introduction to the value proposition in the global packaging industry, essential codes of practice as well as marketing and sales concepts.

Packaging Program Director and Professor Jay Singh said classes taken through the certificate program are also transferrable into Cal Poly’s M.S. Packaging Value Chain program, which will launch in the fall of 2018. The master’s program will also be offered exclusively online.

“The dynamic and engaging online curriculum will promote transference of learning to the workplace while providing professionals opportunities to assume leadership roles and advance their careers,” he said. Cal Poly also has plans to offer other specialized certificates in packaging design, analytics and marketing for professionals working across the nation and around the world, Singh said.

Applications for both certificate programs are open to those who have completed a bachelor’s degree in packaging or a related field from an accredited college or university with a 2.5 GPA. Applications also require a résumé, official transcript of coursework and a statement of purpose. The deadline for applications for the certificate programs are two weeks before the first course begins.

For more information on Cal Poly’s packaging certificates and the application process, visit the Orfalea College of Business Graduate Programs website at

Cal Poly Accounting Club Day in the Park Slated for May 20

CPAC Day in the ParkThe Cal Poly Accounting Club cordially invites you to our annual Day in the Park event. Enjoy a casual barbecue on O’Neill Green as you reconnect with fellow accounting alumni, chat with your favorite faculty, and network with top students. The event is free and open to all alumni and industry professionals.

Saturday, May 20
11 a.m.– 2 p.m.
O’Neill Green
1 Grand Ave.
San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Please RSVP by May 10 via our Google doc. Everyone is welcome, so please feel free to invite any Cal Poly alumni or other Cal Poly friends! Please reserve hotels now since this is a peak season in San Luis Obispo.
If you have any questions, please reach out our Day in the Park Committee Chair Monica Puentespina at or 818-929-3883.

We hope to see you there!

CPAC Day in The Park Committee

Chair – Monica Puentespina
Marketing – Anny Tang
Venue/Food – Alana Akau
Logistics – Matthew Devine
Registration- Lauren Tom

Cal Poly Ranked Among Forbes’ Best Value Colleges

Cal Poly was ranked No. 73 on the Forbes list of the 300 best-value colleges in the U.S. Cal Poly was ranked highest out of all institutions in the CSU, according to an article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

The Forbes 2017 Best Value College ranking indexes 300 schools that deliver the best bang for the tuition buck based on tuition costs, school quality, post-grad earnings, student debt and graduation success. The publication used data collected from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard as well as PayScale, the world’s largest salary database.