Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Business Intelligence Chronicles Part 5: What They Don't Teach You At Any Business School?

What They Don't Teach You At Any Business School?

The answer is "Business Intelligence"

By that I do not mean the oxymoron phrase - given the state of the economy today and what actions led it there many people think that the words Intelligence and Business cannot be put in the same sentence together.

I mean Business Intelligence , the discipline all BI professionals are practitioners of. I made enquiries at a few Business Schools and surprisingly it is not a part of the course curriculum for the MBA program. I would have thought that given the importance this field has in the actual real-life business environment ; it's inter-disciplinary, cross-functional nature pulling data and information from various sources together; and more importantly it's role in presenting information in a manner which facilitates decision making it should have been an apt candidate for inclusion in Business School curricula.

Seems like Business Schools are more fascinated by course options like Stochastic Modelling, Pricing of Derivatives, Game Theory, etc. etc. (many of which contributed in creating the pseudo-expertise which led to the current economic fiasco) than to consider more practical, real life day to day usable options like Business Intelligence.

If more would be CEO's , business leaders of the future are introduced to "Business Intelligence" as they pursue their MBAs would we have more "Intelligent Business" ?

Maybe the onus is on us BI professionals to sound a wake up call. What do you think ?


raseek said...

It was surprising to know that BI is not taught in B schools. but what exactly to teach in BI? would n't data modeling too technical?

Nitin Gadhe said...

Hi Deepak

As of my knowledge DW & BI is taught in IIT's and Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research (SICSR). Even I have taken some private session for SICSR students on DW BI and tools like cognos, BO and informatica.

Pune University has some small topics on Datawarehousing and Business intelligence in there MCM (Masters in computer Mgmt) syllabus.

Many Thanks
Nitin Gadhe

Shyam Krishna R said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shyam Krishna R said...

Hi Deepak,

Right thought at the right time.
Interestingly tools like ER Diagrams and Use cases are in the course content of most B-Schools. They do tend to get a little too technical. When this digression is tolerated well, I guess BI at some level, will be much useful to gain a perspective on management processes.

Shyam Krishna R
Student - IIM Shillong

Nate said...

I helped design and teach a Business Intelligence course at BYU's Marriott School of Business that is required for Master of Information Systems Management students and is open to all MBA students.

The course, however, was not very technical because we wanted to attract MBA students. The course mainly focuses on data mining which really is a subset of Business Intelligence.

We're working on possibly developing a course that would encompass the entire BI lifecycle from requirements gathering, DW design, ETL development, data mining, and data presentation.

I really do think, however, that BI needs to be taught in Business Schools.

Kapil Singhal said...

Dear Deepak,

I am in favour that BI and DW concepts should be incorporated in curriculum of B schools. It is not necessary that we should teach them only technical aspects related to programming or modeling but we can atleast teach them concept of BI and How somebody can evaluate the need of BI within the particular organization like wise that of ERP we can teach how to Make a BI project a success and useful for everybody.

Dr. Kapil Singhal

The Edge said...

The current climate of "it's not polite to ask" and the concerns over "privacy" in this country (USA) are hobbling this kind of intelligence (and competitiveness on a world stage.)

"I'll ask anything you want me to ask." ~ Maureen Sharib

Anonymous for now said...

Drexel's LeBow Techno-MBA program teaches a lot about BI. The names have changed over the years. Dr. David Gefen ( is a good person to talk to about this area.

Anonymous said...

I was not surprised to read your comment that Business Intelligence is not included in business school's curriculum, but I must add that a limited number of BSchools do include it. The technical aspects are often offered by vendors, so why should a business school offer that in detail?

The main reason why BI is not frequently included in education programmes is - too my opinion - often because BI requires a very specific expertise that is limited to only be mastered by few good professors in the world. Think of Thomas Davenport and colleagues.

I just attended a 3-day BI Workshop at a European management school that included to some extent an introduction to the technical aspects, but mainly focussed on the managerial aspects of BI. Which was exactly what I was looking for.

I am now looking to extend that 3 day course and follow a longer programme, probably on more managerial aspects of information management.

FYI: Link to BI Workshop =


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