March 30, 2023 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

In fall 2020, the King’s School of Management, Economics, and Mathematics (MEM) began offering a Minor in Analytics and Decision Sciences (ADS), an interdisciplinary minor unique to King’s, focusing on the intersection between data and decision making. The first cohort of the Minor in ADS are now set to be completed and the success of the program is already being noticed.

“We are creating a network of professionals and scholars that is truly differentiated,” says Dr. Felipe Rodrigues, Assistant Professor in the School of MEM. “I joke that we will meet our students years in the future, and we will reminisce fondly about their being pioneers. They will say, ‘I’m so glad we followed your advice and embarked on this adventure that improved our careers and changed our lives forever.’”

Ben Crncich will be attending Ivey Business School’s MSc Business Analytics program in September. He learned of the ADS Minor after meeting Dr. Rodrigues and Dr. Grigori Erenburg, Associate Professor in the School of MEM, while touring King’s in Grade 12.

“(The ADS Minor) aligned perfectly with my interests in business, finance, and learning the numbers side of those subjects. The ADS program has prepared me well for the future. The lessons in Excel and introduction to coding will be extremely valuable as I pursue my graduate program and future employment opportunities,” says Crncich.

Jessica Fox, who, in addition to taking the Minor in Analytics and Decision Science, is in her third year in Honours BMOS in Honours Specialization in Organizational & Human Resources, was looking for a minor that would be both interesting and useful for her future career. After speaking to one of her professors, Fox decided to enroll “due to the applicability of the content in many different industries, my interest in gaining more skills in Excel and different programming languages, and the fact that the minor is unique to King's.”

Fox has enjoyed having the opportunity to explore many new computer skills and programming languages, something she has always been interested in. “This minor has given me the chance to develop these skills that I will be able to use in my future career. The program also provided a good combination of depth and breadth in regards to the programs we had a chance to learn.”

“Analytics is here to stay. Students will only compete for the best positions if they recognize that and jump in early,” says Dr. Rodrigues, giving the example of the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designations having an ever-increasing demand in analytics.

“Instead of ‘catching up,’ our graduates are ahead of the curve and have a competitive edge,” he adds.

Fox feels the minor has prepared her very well for the future. “The ADS courses are very realistic. They require us to work through issues or scenarios commonly experienced in the real world. Examples and questions reflect a wide variety of applications for different industries which reflects the relevance of the content in today's workforce. I am definitely better prepared to enter the workplace with the wide variety of approaches to data analytics I have been introduced to.”

ADS students automatically qualify for the Canadian Operational Research Society (CORS) Diploma. “This is a testament to the quality of our program. Students graduate with a degree and can get a diploma without taking any more courses or tuition,” says Dr. Rodrigues.

Enrolment in the ADS Minor has doubled in one year. Thirteen students completed the introductory ADS course (ADS 2298B – Python/Excel) in the Winter 2022 term and 26 students have done so in the Winter 2023 term.

The feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive. “There is an appreciation for the applied nature of the courses: ADS 2298A/B, 3864A/B, 4293A/B, and 4294A/B have heavier basis on assignments, presentations, labs, and projects instead of traditional tests, quizzes, and exams,” says Dr. Joseph Turnbull, Associate Professor in the School of MEM.

Students have been accepted into the best master’s programs in the country, while others have received multiple job offers with wages well above the market average. “We are graduating managers and economists who are ready for the future. Program coordinators have already told me that they are impressed with the quality of our graduates. Even with such a new program, this is very encouraging,” says Dr. Rodrigues.