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Learn Business Decision-Making Through an MBA Degree

The promise of Big Data and advanced analytics was that it would simplify decision-making and enable business leaders to make better choices faster and more confidently. Data-driven decision-making has paid off that promise to a large extent. Early adopters gained significant competitive advantages by using advanced technologies to support innovation, increase profitability and enrich the customer experience.

There is, however, a downside to the tidal wave of data that flows through senior managers’ and executives’ computers. The sheer volume and velocity of data and analytics are significant contributors to “analysis paralysis” or the “decision dilemma.”

Research has found that making decisions occupies 40% of the typical Fortune 500 executives’ time.

But McKinsey & Company reports the hours spent dithering over data — among other elements such as corporate culture and stakeholder politics — are staggering: “About 530,000 days of managers’ time potentially squandered for the typical Fortune 500 company, equivalent to some $250 million in wages annually.”

Employers, therefore, place a premium on candidates with advanced data expertise and insights that can reduce the expense of time and money. When considering a Master of Business Administration (MBA) as a tool to achieve your career goals, consider how it ties data management and best practices for using it in its general business curriculum.

The AACSB-accredited MBA online program through East Tennessee State University (ETSU), for instance, equips graduates for strategic leadership roles through deep dives into data management, visualizations and modeling for effective, efficient decision-making.

“No matter your role, understanding how to collect, interpret, and communicate with data can be beneficial. Whether you aspire to work as a business analyst or wish to apply business analytics in a different position, developing your understanding of business analytics can empower you to make informed decisions and address your organization’s needs,” Harvard Business School advises, adding that that expertise will become increasingly vital as data-driven decision-making becomes more important.

What Are the Elements of the Business Decision-Making Process?

Decision support systems are an increasingly important element in the data-driven decision-making process. DSS are digital technologies that collect, organize, analyze and present data in easily understood forms.

TechTarget — noting that DSS can be based on data, pre-defined models, knowledge or documents —  describes elements that make an effective DSS:

  • Knowledge base that contains data from internal and external sources, sorted by subject
  • Software system that simulates complex operations to understand the cost and benefits of various options
  • User interface that supports effective self-service data analytics

The value of DSS as a central element in making business decisions is reflected in the East Tennessee State University MBA online program course in Decision Support Systems, which explores the integration of data management, visualization and modeling.

What Is an Example of an Efficient Business Decision-Making Model?

The ETSU program also explores data-based decision-making modeling in a key business operation, marketing. Adobe‘s outline of an effective model for data-driven marketing includes the following elements:

  • Eliminate data silos to enable access to trends and patterns from various marketing channels. Sharing data across the marketing function, including everything from direct mail to social media, efficiently informs optimization and innovation in reaching customers and prospects.
  • Learn about your customers and prospects by developing demographic and psychographic buyer personas based on data collected from marketing channels. Understanding their expectations, needs and desires supports cost-effective target marketing.
  • Personalized marketing messages have evolved beyond starting a direct mail letter with “Dear Henry.” Data-driven models based on previous or anticipated customer behavior enable businesses to make product recommendations, offer exclusive discounts and develop other one-off content.
  • Predict customer behavior using analytics that leverage artificial intelligence to segment the customer base. Predictive analytics can target prospects most likely to become customers and identify potentially profitable accounts.

East Tennessee State University MBA students gain not only insights into quantitative analysis in marketing but also expertise in modeling, visualization and interpretation with data-driven decision-making. They gain skills in search engine optimization and other critical topics in online marketing strategies, and they can choose from a number of electives like data analytics, cybersecurity, risk management, healthcare marketing, data-based marketing, brand development, social media and more to pursue their interests. With a broad expanse of skills and particular experience with data management, graduates are equipped to fill employer demand and support organizations’ decision-making needs.

Learn more about ETSU’s online MBA program.

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