Students and SCM Professionals:

This can be a deal breaker in your professional lives…

The following CIS courses in our program develop Business Analytic skills:

CIS 1020 (Business Computing), CIS 2640 (Business Analysis and Reporting), CIS 2650 (Programming for Data Analytics), CIS 3640 (Business Analytics), and CIS 4640 (Business Data Mining). The trend line is very positive for this skill set.

Business Analytics (BA) addresses an increasing demand in organizations of all types to understand data related to their operations.  Investments in information systems throughout the enterprise for the last 10-25 years are generating tremendous amounts of data, and companies will spend at least the next 10 years developing processes that generate insight from those data.  In addition to data generated internally, many companies are exploring the effects of external data, primarily present in social media or web search. The ability to manage data and conduct business projects are the key to success in many disciplines. BA will provide a comprehensive skill set for students to analyze, visualize and report data.  The BIS and ISM programs have industry advisory boards supporting this skill set.  Attached is information that shows the importance of BA skills to employers.

Here is my thought on the BA minor and how to sell CIS 2650 to employers…

First of all, CIS 2650 is not just a “Python” class, but instead a Python class for analytics (big difference). In a traditional Python class, people teach Python straight for the whole semester with tons of syntax, data structure, software development, etc. That type of class is mostly designed for CIS and CS majors. What we do is different. It is Python in a popular analytics platform (more technically speaking, it is Python in Jupyter, which is an analytics platform that data science and business analytics programs do). Can you imagine what an employer will think if they see Python in Jupyter on your resume?  The reason for this design is the following:

A while back, we made these points about CIS 2650 and the BA minor in general.  Do these points still largely apply?…

  • We studied the top skills in analytics jobs & Python was among the top skills. 
  • The visualization libraries in Python can produce the kind of visualizations not available in Tableau & Power BI. Students will be able to differentiate themselves from other schools.   
  • Tableau & Power BI recently added Python or Python+Jupyter because certain Python analytics & visualization are not available in Tableau and Power BI. Using them together makes it a powerful analytics solution (e.g., the ability to transform visualization into implementable actions).   
  • All data scientists stress the importance of Python in analytics programs. Note, “data scientist” is one of the fastest growing career paths with escalating salaries because not enough people are good at this stuff.  
  • Python are “R” are both number one & two in analytics, but Python is easier to learn compared to R. 
  • Past experience in our SCM program (3+ semesters of experience in CIS 2650) shows that non-technical students (SCM, marketing, accounting, etc.) are able to handle the content that we designed. 
  • Python + Jupyter (or its variant) are used in Big Data (Hadoop, Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, etc.). It can also be used with/on SAP HANA, IoT, AI, Blockchain, and smart contracts to implement supply chain visibility, and other SC related solutions, etc.  

We believe the above points are still valid. Here are some evidences:

To make sure students see Python’s benefits and applications, we added applications of Python in Tableau/Power BI to the course content and offer some examples.

Meeting the needs of today’s employers is important, but offering a program that does that plus something that can differentiate our students from other schools sounds even better. Compared to the analytics programs from the schools that we benchmarked, our students can do so much more.

Business analytics addresses an increasing demand in orgs of all types to understand data related to their operations. Investments in information systems throughout the enterprise over the last 10-15 years are generating tremendous amounts of data, & orgs will spend at least the next 10 years developing processes that generate insight from those data.

In addition to data generated internally, many orgs are exploring the effects of external data, primarily present in social media, web search, manufacturing, & the SUPPLY CHAIN. The ability to manage data to support business projects are the key to success in many disciplines. Business analytics will provide a comprehensive skill set for SCM pros & grads to analyze, VISUALIZE (Tableau & Power BI!), & report data.

This has become a minimum:

CIS 2640 Predictive Data Analytics (Excel on steroids): I get this kind of feedback… – You will be glad to hear that (Anaconda + Jupyter Notebook + Python + visualization libraries) is what we have been teaching in CIS 2650 since the course was created.

Our data mining class (CIS 4640) is essentially a machine learning class for business, which is the core of Artificial Intelligence (agreed?). Our SCM students also told us many times that their hiring managers valued mostly the traditional Excel capabilities (lookup functions, pivot tables, etc.), & they greatly overlooked the opportunities from other analytical solutions (that our students have!). Again, for example, our data mining class is an ML class, the core of AI. FYI, starting Fall 2023, we will have numerous SCM majors minoring in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry (I hear they have a big important complicated supply chain).

Deep learning pioneer Andrew Ng says companies should get ‘data-centric’ to achieve A.I. success:

Great reads from Fortune & Accenture. Very important takeaways:
A.I. adoption from Accenture…

Our Business Data Analytics Minor:
CIS 2640 – Applied Analytics Foundations (Excel on steroids)
Emphasis will be placed on uncovering insights through visualization, basic business analytics techniques, report solutions, queries & database manipulation.

CIS 2650 – Programming for Data Analytics
Introduces programming for predictive analytics utilizing popular software languages. Programming concepts of, data structures, input-output, & flow control will be covered, as well as techniques applied by analysts to organize & interpret data that varies in type, volume, & rate of change.

CIS 3640 – Visual Analytics
This course is designed to give students w/ foundational analytics experience comprehensive skills, and in-depth knowledge in analytical problem solving w/ particular focus on visualizing analyses. Students will learn visual representation techniques to transform data into insights. Tools, techniques, & theories w/i the realm of BI & data visualization will be explored, utilizing productivity/specialized software.

CIS 4640 – Business Data Mining
Students are introduced to the state-of-the-art data mining applications software such as SAS Enterprise Miner or SPSS Clementine for their class assignments and term project.

Supply Chain + Data Scientist (thousands of unfilled jobs on LinkedIn!), orgs place a premium ($) on- 1. Advanced Excel (power query & pivot) & macros; 2. Data visualization (Tableau, Power BI & python w/ seaborn & matplotlib);
3. Data mining/RapidMiner, machine learning & data science;
4. Python & Jupyter notebook (data analytics & statistical libraries such as pandas, numpy);
5. Relational data models (Excel data model);
6. Graphic & statistical libraries (Seaborn, Matplotlib, Pandas, & Plotly).

Is Python a must-have skill in the supply chain? How much Python do I need? I had a SCM professional ask: “I don’t even know basic python yet . I want to get to the more advanced items but I am not ready yet . I’ve done research into different courses but there are so many basic courses, I’m not sure which one is actually useful for someone looking to do supply chain analysis.”

Some options: You could try one of those intro python classes at Coursera or Udemy. Just a word of warning, the lack of interactivity and support at those MOOCs usually causes a super low retention rate (9% – 16%). The person needs quite a bit of dedication to successfully finish it. After that, look for a second course in analytics, data science or machine learning using python. This assumes they are interested in using python for those. Otherwise, invest time in pre-built specialized software packages (e.g., Rapidminer, XLminer, Knime, SAS, SPSS, etc.).

I kind of like these bootcamps from high profile schools but it seems to be an aggressive design. Each of the topics listed under their “Market-Driven Skills” is usually a semester-long course. I am not sure if they are targeting people with some experience in these areas. But, yes, they seem to be interesting programs. The same thing applies to analytics certificates offered through MOOCs, such as Coursera, EdX and others.

One caveat that SCM grads should know is that many of these online programs lack the required hand-holding experience. This is why the retention rates of MOOCs are usually in single digits. We find that this hand-holding experience is essential to motivate students to complete the training.

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. It is an online course that is designed to be open and accessible to a large number of participants. MOOCs offer a flexible learning environment, allowing participants to learn at their own pace and from anywhere in the world. MOOCs are typically delivered through an online platform that provides access to course materials, videos, quizzes, and discussion forums.

MOOCs are usually free and open to anyone who wants to enroll. Some MOOCs may also offer a paid option to receive a verified certificate of completion or academic credit. MOOCs are offered by a variety of institutions, including universities, educational organizations, and private companies.

MOOCs have gained popularity in recent years because they offer a convenient and cost-effective way to learn new skills and advance your career. They cover a wide range of topics, from computer science and engineering to business and the humanities.

Tips/advice from this college professor (aka, educated idiot):
1. Read. People that read a lot make more $ (2.3 times more?!)
2. Learn the job saving technology. &

3. Learn to interview well. and
How to prep for virtual career fairs:
Being job ready…
4. Learn to negotiate ($). and
5. Learn to network & use LinkedIn. & &

6. Delay graduation for experience.
7. Learn to problem solve – &

8. Double Major? &

9. Get a grad degree? Earn $3M more than someone w/ only a bachelor’s degree. &

10. Job rotations?
11. 10 college majors that earn the most money: &
12. Free tool for calculating degree ROI: &

13. Get certified as a subject matter expert: &

14. Learn to talk CFO talk:

Industry 4.0:

Recent observations & career advice (videos/podcasts):

What is SCM?…

Contact me for more material. Thank you. Sime

Sample Lectures & Should You Major in Supply Chain Management?

Dr. Sime (Sheema) Curkovic, Ph.D.
, Professor, Operations/Supply Chain
Western Michigan University, Haworth College of Business

“WMU Integrated Supply Management (ISM)…Nation’s best undergraduate SCM program (Gartner 2014); 2nd in SCM technology (SoftwareAdvice 2015);  2nd in top global SCM talent (SCM World 2017)”

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