September 19, 2014
Bill Greehey School of Business responds to industry demand with Accounting and Data Analytics major
“Big data” is everywhere, and it’s only getting bigger. St. Mary’s University wants its students to have an edge in the marketplace, so it’s now offering a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Data Analytics.
St. Mary’s becomes the first San Antonio institution of higher education to offer a major focusing on data analytics.
“The amount of data in our world has been exploding, and analyzing large data sets – so-called big data – will become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer surplus,” says the McKinsey Global Institute, an international management consulting firm.
And qualified data managers will be in high demand. In the next four years, the United States may need 1.5 million analysts capable of turning big data into information for effective decision-making, according to McKinsey.
In this new major, students would complete the basic 120-hour Accounting major, plus an additional 30 hours in data analytics and information systems courses and electives. Students can expect to earn the degree in four to five years.
“Courses in this major will diversify job opportunities for our students,” said Dean Tanuja Singh. “We are thrilled to be able to offer it in the Bill Greehey School of Business, where we can further emphasize accounting ethics, privacy and security elements in this emerging field. This is another example of our market-responsive approach that incorporates industry trends and values-driven education.”
The median salary for entry-level data analytics jobs is $48,000, according to PayScale. All industries have “big data” to be analyzed, especially financial services, healthcare, insurance, retail, manufacturing and government. Local corporations that employ data analysts include USAA, Southwest Research Institute, Rackspace, HEB and Valero.
To respond to industry needs, the Bill Greehey School of Business has developed a number of courses focusing on accounting/information systems, quantitative management and financial modeling. These courses cover material that is at the intersection of accounting, data analytics, information systems management and quantitative management, and the curriculum has been designed with input from industry and the employment market.
The Accounting and Data Analytics major is an enticing option for accounting students who wish to take the CPA examination right after graduation. The exam requires that they have completed a bachelor’s degree and have a total of 150 hours, including 30 hours of upper division accounting courses.
“A major with this mesh of coursework will undoubtedly provide students a variety of career options and a unique skill set,” said Jose Placencia, a 2010 St. Mary’s graduate who is now a Business Office Consultant/Technologist with the Northside Independent School District. “Whether a student is looking to pursue the CPA designation, a career as an IT Consultant, or both, students will be well equipped.”
This degree path has the additional advantage of allowing many students to maintain their undergraduate financial aid, which may be reduced for students who graduate with 120 or more hours but continue to take undergraduate course work or who elect to satisfy CPA examination requirements by enrolling in graduate course work.