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

Cal Poly Students to Make Business Analytics Presentations to Oracle Leaders on May 3

MSBA Oracle PresentationsTwo teams of Cal Poly graduate business students will make special presentations to top Oracle Corp. executives on Wednesday, May 3 at Oracle’s headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif.

Students in Cal Poly’s M.S. Business Analytics program will make global sales strategy recommendations related to Oracle’s Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) product offered via its software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. Panelists from Oracle will include Ivgen Guner, senior vice president of global business finance, Elena Drozd, director of the Advanced Analytics Group, and Rich Clayton, vice president of the Business Analytics Product Group.

After analyzing five years of global sales data provided by Oracle, students cultivated a targeted approach to identifying and developing new marketing opportunities by utilizing data mining techniques and advanced statistical modeling. Students also delivered a written report that defined characteristics of top prospect companies for new EPM sales, suggested new methodology for appealing to different prospect companies and provided insights for targeted marketing campaigns in different countries around the globe.

The presentations are the culmination of a new collaboration between Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business and Oracle, which provided real data for a three-month Learn by Doing project. Oracle has teamed with Cal Poly and other academic programs to address the shortfall of data scientists in the industry.

“Education is a cornerstone of Oracle’s culture and legacy,” said Oracle’s Clayton. “We are thrilled to team with Cal Poly and help inspire the next generation of data analytic leaders.”

Cal Poly launched its M.S. in Business Analytics program in 2016 to meet strong demand for professionals skilled in working with and interpreting complex sets of data. The program trains students from business, science, engineering and mathematics backgrounds to prepare data from diverse sources, illustrate findings and communicate strategic insights to business leaders.

“Oracle’s willingness to review our work and give us feedback has given direction and impact to our decision process, bridging the gap between our analytical methods and actionable results,” said Matthew Fagan, one of seven Cal Poly student team members scheduled to present. “This opportunity is the biggest of my life.”

Local and industry media are invited to attend the presentations at Oracle’s headquarters in the Redwood Shores section of Redwood City, Calif.  Please email for more information.

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Cal Poly Names Industry Veteran as Director of New Business Analytics Program

Kyle HoferCal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business recently named Kyle Hofer, former director of business analytics at Insight Investments, as director of the university’s new Master of Science in business analytics program. Hofer began his position at Cal Poly on May 2.

The program, to begin in the fall, will focus on data analysis as a key decision-making business tool in the data-driven economy.

“We are thrilled to welcome an industry veteran to lead our program at such an important time,” said Sanjiv Jaggia, associate dean for graduate programs in the college. “The demand for
professionals with business analytics experience is overwhelming, and Kyle will be essential in connecting our students to our industry partners who need this kind of expertise.”

Hofer will be responsible for recruiting, admitting and supporting students. He will also build relationships with industry partners as a way to identify and offer real-world projects for students’ culminating experiences in the program.

Hofer brings a strong financial-metrics background to the director position, along with an ability to communicate complex data analysis, business-to-technical requirements, and operational objectives to a range of audiences. He earned an MBA from Pepperdine University and a bachelor’s degree in finance from CSU Fullerton. He had more than 10 years of experience at Insight Investments.

New MS in Business Analytics Now Accepting Applications

Business Analytics ClassCal Poly is offering a new Master of Science in Business Analytics through the Orfalea College of Business. Applications are now being accepted for the program’s fall 2016 cohort via the CSUMentor website.

The new program focuses on data analysis as a key decision-making business tool in our data-driven universe. “We believe that the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly is uniquely positioned to serve the analytical talent needs of industries in our region,” said Sanjiv Jaggia, associate dean for graduate programs at Orfalea College of Business. “The MS in Business Analytics is an outstanding program that builds on a broad bench of faculty with advanced modeling skills and business acumen.”

Cal Poly’s MS in Business Analytics emphasizes industry projects, statistical modeling and communication skills.

The program offers a holistic approach to data analytics, combining qualitative reasoning with quantitative tools to identify key business problems, translate them into relevant data questions, and apply data analytics to tell a story and propose concrete business actions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the data analyst job category is expected to grow 45 percent by 2018, making it one of the fastest-growing career fields. Unlike many fields in the ultra-competitive marketplace, the projected supply of well-qualified candidates will not meet demand, a problem that Cal Poly has directly responded to in building the interdisciplinary curriculum.

To ensure the impact of the new graduate program, Orfalea College of Business assembled the Business Analytics Advisory Board (BAAB). Members of the BAAB include top data analytics professionals across a host of blue-chip companies including Google, Oracle, Cisco, Walmart and more.

“Here at Oracle, we know there is a tremendous demand for new business school graduates with the ability to glean competitive insights from the massive amounts of data being generated today,” said Jeff Henley, executive vice chairman at Oracle and member of the Business Analytics Advisory Board. “Oracle already looks to Cal Poly as a major source of new hires for its Sales Academy, based on the quality and preparation of the students coming out of the business school. An MS program in Business Analytics will only add to the appeal of Cal Poly as a go-to source of finance and business administration talent for innovative companies in the Bay Area and beyond.”

Cal Poly business analytics students will have the opportunity to work on a culminating project in which they will use data analysis to solve the real world problems these companies face on a day-to-day basis.

“Equipped with the right combination of analytical and interdisciplinary skills, our graduates will be able to synthesize, communicate, and act on information to create competitive advantages for business. Graduates will also be able to serve as a critical link among senior management, data scientists, and clients,” said Jaggia.

In regards to employment prospects, business analytics leaders can expect to find opportunities across a host of industries, including consulting, retail, financial services, marketing, health care, technology, and sports.

More information about the program is available at

About Orfalea College of Business Graduate Programs
At the Orfalea College of Business, students Learn by Doing. To ensure their success in a modern global economy, we give them hands-on access to advanced technical facilities, exceptional faculty members, and like-minded peers who are preparing themselves to be the next generation of business leaders. Orfalea College of Business Graduate Programs is creating, expanding and reinvigorating new and existing programs. Discover for yourself the power of Learn by Doing in one of our rigorous graduate degree programs, typically completed within 10 months. For more information, visit

Cal Poly Debuts Business Analytics Course

20111117_01343 smallCal Poly’s information systems concentration has pioneered a new course in business analytics as a response to growing industry demand for data analysts in all industries. The undergraduate course was developed by associate information systems professor Leida Chen, a former senior program manager of Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific research and development team. Unlike a statistics or computer science course, the business analytics course delved into mining, preparing and analyzing different types of data to tell a story and influence specific business decisions.

“There was lots of interest in this business analytics course because students understand that this is where the jobs are,” said Chen.

Chen also says the class teaches students to work with key data platforms including Microsoft SQL Server, SAS Enterprise Guide and SAS Enterprise Miner. The course gave students hands-on experience with different types of data for both reactive and predictive analysis. The course also taught students about visualizing data appropriately to effectively present findings to a business in any sector.

The new course is part of the Orfalea College of Business’ effort to infuse data analysis into a variety of areas of study. In addition to new undergraduate courses, the college will soon launch a professional certificate in business analytics through a series of five courses including similar information systems courses and new marketing analytics and social media courses. In 2016, the college aims to debut a one-year Master of Science degree in business analytics program as well.