Cost: £33,500 tuition, or approx. $43,550, as well as an application fee of £120 ($156)
London Business School has been growing apace in recent years, launching a Global Masters in Management degree and, in 2016, a Masters in Financial Analysis. That growth will continue next fall with the recently announced Masters in Analytics and Management.
Analytics hasn’t been absent from the LBS campus. Notable elements of the school’s MBA program and the MiM have included considerable analytics components. But as more recruiters in more sectors discover a need for B-school graduates with management skills to go with their quant mindsets, LBS saw the need for analytics to get a degree all its own.
“We’ve been consistently seeking to grow our overall size in terms of the number of students and graduates that we have, and also to grow the number of different degree offerings,” says Gareth Howells, executive director of the LBS MBA and MiF. “Like many schools, what we do is, we’re in constant dialogue with our employers, our alumni, and even our current students, but particularly with recruiters about what are the skills and knowledge that they want London Business School graduates to have to be successful in the workplace. And also we’ve been growing quite significantly over the last few years our Early Careers, or our non-MBA, master’s portfolio, first of all when we launched our Masters in Management, then we launched our Master’s in Financial Analysis.
“But as we’ve had these conversations with employers, the number-one priority that employers told us about was even greater skills and emphasis on analytics. And so in addition to not only increasing our analytics content in all of our programs — from our Masters in Management, finance programs, and even our MBA — we also found that there was a need for a more specialist program, with the depth and breadth to cover such an important and wide-ranging area as analytics.”
‘OVERWHELMING FEEDBACK FROM RECRUITERS’
Gareth Howells. LBS photo
There was clearly a need, Howells tells Poets&Quants, for a degree that produced graduates qualified to work in analytics across sectors. Thus was born the MAM, a 12-month degree that will welcome its first cohort in August 2019. Applications are open now.
“We saw that we could have a brand-new program that specifically focused on the depth and breadth of this topic, but also that we could create something that would meet the needs of recruiters as well,” Howells says. “Because we found that the need of our analytics was almost sector-neutral — a lot of people normally will assume that it’s just tech-related firms that do all of this in terms of the role of Big Data. But it’s across all sectors now, it is transforming, it is disrupting, and it really is happening in every single sector — from finance to consulting to tech to healthcare, retail, energy.
“And so with that kind of overwhelming feedback from recruiters, that was what essentially drove us toward seeing that there was a need in that market.”
STUDENTS — AND POTENTIAL STUDENTS — MAKE THEIR WISHES KNOWN, TOO
It wasn’t only recruiters driving the new degree. Incoming and potential students have chimed in, too.
“We were hearing a lot from the input side for business school,” Howells says. “Future students of business school, candidates asking us about how much analytics we were covering, because of course for graduate management education now obviously finance and consulting have been some of the more dominant outputs of a B-school, but as things become much more fluid, much more diversified with those loud voices of candidates, future students want analytics as a component or as its own offering.
“Analytics is transforming the way the world does business. We need students who are going to be adaptable, who are going to be agile, and be able to be comfortable with ambiguity. What we want to do is give them those tool and frameworks with which to manage ambiguous situations, get their hands round the data, but go that next step — turn that insight that they gain from data into business transformations and genuine business action and improvement.”
Tolga Tezcan. LBS photo
Adds Tolga Tezcan, associate professor of management science and operations, who will teach on the program, says: “There is huge demand from the top recruiters for managers who are not only data-literate, but who also have the vision to see how big data can be used to create real competitive edge, product or service transformation. That’s why we’re combining subjects like machine learning and data visualization with organizational behavior.”
How will this program distinguish itself from what else is on the market? “When we look at the programs in the UK specifically, most of them are very technically oriented,” Tezcan says. “We don’t want to train programmers, if you will. We want to train people who can apply this stuff and can identify how to add value with the machine learning and data mining. That is missing in the UK, I can tell you for sure. In a global scale, if you look at London, we have a Facebook and Google presence in London, and we have a lot of tech startups, but we’re also the financial center of Europe. In that sense we are very unique. You look at New York or the West Coast, you can find one or the other, but we have both.
“I’ve been teaching a data mining course for the last two years, and we have a sizable alumni now who have been working in this sector, and one of the things we realized was there is a huge opportunity here to train people who understand the business side as well as the technical side. And that’s why I think we’re going to be able to offer a unique program.”
What’s the application process? Are GMATs or GREs required? An essay? LBS accepts both the GMAT and GRE for the new MAM degree, with waivers available on a case-by-case basis. There is also an essay, and two “referees” — “individuals who know you well and who can provide specific feedback on their interactions with you either inside of the classroom or in the workplace” — are required.
Who is the ideal applicant and student for the MAM? The immersive 12-month programme is designed for top graduates with a quantitative degree or work experience, who want to combine a detailed knowledge of data analytics, with the ability to translate big data into bold visions and profit-maximising business strategy.
Tiago Martinho, admissions director for the LBS Early Careers portfolio, writes on the LBS admissions blog that “it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ scenario — we accept new graduates and professionals with up to two years’ experience from any sector. The broader the profile of our class, the more learning you take away from your peer group. But what you do need is high levels of numeracy, so graduates with an undergraduate degree that includes a strong quantitative component — courses like business, science, finance, accounting, economics, computing, engineering or similar — are likely to do well on this program. We welcome applicants from other backgrounds, but outside of these areas you’ll need to demonstrate your quantitative ability through a high GMAT score or relevant work experience.”
Adds Howells: “We really think we have the unique position, bringing the analytics and the management as well as our London location. And obviously we’ve been doing some market research and market testing and we’re confident that we can get a very strong class.
“(Our ideal candidate) is quite broad. The blend that we’re going for between a very rigorous quantitative analytics core but also a management core, obviously we’re expecting candidates to come with a strong quant background, an analytical mindset, which is why we’re requiring a kind of quant-based undergraduate degree. If someone doesn’t;t have that, if they’ve got experience working in a quant basis or doing analytics work, that’s great, then of course we’ll be looking for a strong GMAT as well. Passionate, really — we really want people to embrace this area. It’s such a big area of business that we need people to be passionate and committed to everything that they do. But also intellectually curious. We don’t expect people to know everything, but we have put together a really rigorous curriculum that really will stretch them beyond their comfort level. Obviously they are going to be learning many new things, so they must be adaptable and agile in this very fast-moving environment.”
What are the application deadlines? The first intake will start in August 2019. Applications are now open.
Applications received after May 1, 2019 will be considered on a rolling basis. Spaces are expected to be limited. The target for the first cohort is about 80 students, Howells says.
What will students learn in the program? What’s the program format? The core analytics curriculum covers Data Analytics, Applied Statistics, Data Visualisation and Storytelling, Data Management, Digital Marketing, Data Science for Business, Machine Learning for Big Data, and Decision Technology. It is blended with applied management training in strategy, finance, and economics, and practical training in programming capabilities. Students will have the opportunity to learn more about performing in teams, access a wide variety of electives (choosing three from a range of subject areas, including Elements of Machine Learning for Business, New Technology Ventures, Managing a Digital Organisation, and Fin Tech and World Economy: Problems and Prospects), and take part in a Global Immersion Field Trip.
A live company-based project is a critical component of the MAM, enabling students to put newly acquired theory into practice. In Terms 2 and 3, they will capitalize on LBS’s strong links to businesses in London and abroad, using real data to tackle real business problems.
How can students prepare themselves before the program begins? Books to read? TED Talks to watch? “We expect people to come already being quant-literate, but of course what we’ve done across all of our programs is make sure the students will get access to a series of online pre-program courses in the quant area that have been developed by LBS faculty, so they can sync with the core courses. The core course will pick up where the online pre-courses leave off.
“But obviously what we’re also doing through our faculty and also our practitioners is, developing a series of skills-based courses around a lot of the basics around programming courses like Python and R, and making them more familiar with that. Our core is integrated across many different courses, so we want every course that follows the last one to be building on what they’ve learned, so they can apply what they’ve learned.”
Adds Tezcan: “In the process of designing this program, we decided to stick with R, so we’re going to have an intense course in R before the whole program starts. All the subsequent courses will be taught in R. In parallel, we hope to cover Python as well, and we’re going to have workshops that implement what they’ve learned in Python.”
What do you expect student outcomes to be? For 2017 LBS Masters in Management graduates, 96% accepted a job offer within three months of graduation. It was an equally rosy picture for 2017 Masters in Financial Analysis grads, 99% of whom received offers within three months, and 96% of whom accepted. Howells says LBS expects similar outcomes for the new MAM degree.