Master Executive in Business Analytics and Data Science, an interview with Elisa Montaguti

17 May 2023

Elisa Montaguti, Ph.D. in Marketing at London Business School (UK), EU Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, INSEAD, (Fr), lecturer at Warwick Business School (UK), is a Full Professor of Marketing at the University of Bologna and in Bologna Business School Academic Director of the Executive Master in Business Analytics and Data Science.


What gave rise to the idea of a Master’s in Business Analytics designed for professionals?

It stems from the importance of the digital revolution: a transformation that is already affecting all business processes and that is now a widely spread topic available to profiles in training, but little guaranteed for professionals who want to be able to ride this moment of change.
The importance of digitization can also be grasped by people already in their careers, who need new tools to operate in the transformation with awareness.
By asking all faculty to think about processes, but also to apply them, we can offer a high-level educational synthesis that empowers professionals to govern digital transformation.


What professionals do you specifically target? And which profiles does it train?

It is aimed at professionals who have a great interest in technical-procedural aspects, but are also fascinated by business dynamics: it is a study path dedicated to managers who want to be full players in the digital transition. Excluding the extremes, those who have strong resistance to the technical part and those who come from a vertical path and have no interest in the managerial part, this Master’s course fits heterogeneous experiences and different backgrounds. It has a strong applied orientation and it naturally modulates to those who attend it.
As for what concerns the professionals that it trains, we can start with what it does not train: digital creators. It is a curriculum dedicated to managerial figures who know how to manage the new digital world, in its infinite applications. This Master’s degree is a push to change a path already in place, in the direction of systemic knowledge that will allow people to aspire to top positions in the management of digital transformation at various levels.


Is it necessary to have a strong technical background to pursue an MBA?

No, there has to be a willingness to learn in a complex, rich and asymmetrical area in terms of skills. The heterogeneity of the class is a perfect example of the business world development model and it can also be an incubator for individual growth in close contact with new experiences. A personal enhancement that immediately translates into expendable skills in digital management.


From which industry areas is the greatest request for highly specialized data analytics professionals?

The request is strong and transversal, and it is across all areas: HR and human resources, for recruitment processes on platforms.  Marketing area, for new tools, digitized interaction with the communications world.
On the flip side, operative roles: manufacturing integration, and logistics. Today there is no business area that is not touched – and transformed – by the digital transition. Increasingly, even finance and public administration need managers able to understand, use and improve digital tools and the new scenarios generated.


What are the most characterizing lessons of this educational path?

There is an operational part, aimed at knowledge of the most current software programs: coding languages such as Python are one of the topics of study in the Executive Master in Business Analytics and Data Science at Bologna Business School. The foundation is an applied focus on a new kind of teaching experience and learning methodology based on learning by doing.
Then there is the residential part, in which students are always very satisfied with team-building experiences, and networking and a sense of belonging develop naturally in the in-person sharing moments. Different cultures and backgrounds blend, creating new perspectives and learning opportunities, thanks also to the International Faculty, which fits well with the multicultural nature of the class. An important added value that enriches an already dense and engaging course of study.


In conclusion, a question we have to ask in this context is: why is data so important today?

Today, the availability of structured and unstructured data is making a difference in all market areas. We have seen a real revolution in the concept of data, and its importance, and companies need to think about the information we can extract from structured and unstructured data today. We see the constant celebration of big data, but then companies often have difficulty using it. Data speaks, but it needs to be known for it to say something useful, for it to speak the truth. The most revolutionary part of this path is the idea of building decision-making upon information assets and, therefore, using information to drive evidence-based choices, on the knowledge we can extract, in great quantity and quality, from the data we have.


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