College of Business teaches data intelligence

Marshall University’s Lewis College of Business is educating its students about Business Intelligence and how to analyze, visualize and understand data.  

The College of Business offers courses and sessions to educate students on being proficient with data, Assistant Professor of Management, Dr. Jingran Zhang said.   

“We do have a couple of quantitative courses,” Zhang said. “Before, we were dealing with mathematical stuff but now are including more and more things with data. We also have sessions or courses teaching them how to use some tools to collect data and analytic data.”  

In today’s world, most prominent businesses use Business Intelligence to make data-driven decisions. At one point in time, data was saved to a file but now serves as a necessity for most businesses.  

Data has evolved to the point where it is not just asking a question and getting an answer anymore, Associate Dean for Accreditation and Strategic Initiatives and Professor of Accounting, Nancy Lankton said.  

“The data can answer questions that you did not even know to ask,” Lankton said. “So we used to just ask the questions, and then it would tell us the answer. But now we are to the point where there might be something in that data we have not been thinking of. So that is kind of where you get more on to the business intelligence side.”  

When asked about Business Intelligence’s future, Dr. Zhang said that it would help businesses more and more with time.  

“I will say in general [business intelligence] will help more and more businesses,” Zhang said. They will help out [with] more and more decisions…One of the directions we are going to work on is to bring more analytics in part to prepare our students for the skills and the knowledge for business intelligence.”  

Business Intelligence will continue to play an integral part in the workplace and will become more prominent and advanced in the future.  

Marshall University uses a lot of analytics and is something that everybody should have some form of knowledge about, Lankton said.  

“Analytics is being used internally by the University, but yeah, everybody should know something,” Lankton said. It’s like basic algebra; everybody should know analytics.

There is an old saying by W. Edwards Deming in which he said, “In God we trust; all others bring data.” In some workplaces, the quote serves as a running joke around the office due to businesses having to provide data at an increased pace.   

Noah Hickman can be contacted at [email protected]