What you can learn about data mining and predictive analytics

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Group of data scientists analyzing charts in front of a big holographic screen

More data is being created than ever before, thanks to intelligent software and systems used across every industry sector. With so much data at our fingertips, it’s no wonder that stakeholders want to make the most of this information, and support their outlook on the future and their emerging strategies.

No matter what career opportunities might unfold for students after graduation, it’s important for professionals to have a foundational understanding of data mining and the ways in which this process enables predictive analytics. Initiatives involving data and its associated analysis will only become more imperative in the near future, making experience in these areas invaluable.

The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business Online Master of Business Administration curriculum includes a Data Analysis course within its Foundation I studies, as well as a Data Mining and Predictive Analytics course within Foundation II selectives. Let’s take a closer look at these courses, as well as the types of skills University of Maryland Online MBA students can expect to learn.

Defining data mining and predictive analytics

Before we delve into the specifics of the Maryland Smith Online MBA, we must first ensure we understand the concepts of data mining and predictive analytics. Chances are good that students and professionals have at least a basic awareness of these types of activities, now that big data analysis is utilized increasingly frequently.

As Techopedia notes, data mining goes beyond simple information gathering. It includes the process of analyzing patterns and trends within data sets and organizing information according to certain perspectives or categories. Data mining is also known as data discovery or knowledge discovery and can help enable the establishment of data warehouses for future, more in-depth analysis later on.

Data mining includes processes like extracting information from its original sources and loading it into a data warehouse, managing data warehouses or other databases, enabling secure access to this information for analysis, and presenting analysis results in an engaging and understandable way.

The process of predictive analytics, on the other hand, takes place after data mining has been completed. As Predictive Analytics Today notes, predictive analytics involves the analysis of data sets to make forecasts about the future. These insights can be incredibly valuable for an array of projects and operations, including to support future business strategy.

“Predictive analytics models capture relationships among many factors to assess risk with a particular set of conditions to assign a score or weightage,” Predictive Analytics Today explains. “The data mining and text analytics, along with statistics, allows the business users to create predictive intelligence by uncovering patterns and relationships in both the structured and unstructured data.”

In this way, predictive analytics enables organizations to make the most of their available information and to prepare for emerging future risks or opportunities.

Skills and concepts taught in University of Maryland’s Online MBA

Students have the opportunity to expand their skills and learning in the areas of data analysis, data mining and predictive analytics.

Within the program’s Foundation I courses, students will participate in the two-credit Data Analysis course. This required class will explore the ways big data and its analysis is used to support managerial decisions, including through the lenses of analytical and quantitative data review.

The Data Analysis course includes several key learning goals for students, such as:

  • Introducing foundational statistical strategies, including the ability to summarize large data sets and present findings in a way that is digestible and makes sense to other stakeholders
  • Enabling analysis skills like confidence intervals, hypothesis tests and regression analysis
  • Supporting the necessary knowledge to complete different types of analyses using digital spreadsheets

In addition, the Data Analysis course allows students to become active users of data and enables them to leverage analysis results and critical thinking skills in decision-making.

Students also have the opportunity to participate in the two-credit Data Mining and Predictive Analytics course as part of their Foundation II Information Systems and Business Analytics selective curriculum. Students who take this class will expand upon the skills they gained during the Data Analysis course and delve deeper into big data and analytics concepts. This includes growing students’ ability to work with large quantities of information, organize data into specific categories or subsets, and identify the patterns or trends therein.

Within the Data Mining and Predictive Analytics course, students will learn about the methods used to classify and analyze data, as well as how this analysis can enable them to make predictions based on available information. This class will be centered around data mining and the use of predictive analytics within industries like marketing, finance, health care and enterprise business operations.

Through this course, students will achieve learning goals like:

  • Making effective use of large data sets
  • Establishing a robust understanding of concepts like regression, data classification, association and causation
  • Leveraging the above described strategies to enable decision-making
  • Avoiding common missteps often made with predictive analytics

Upon graduation, students will be able to utilize big data to their advantage and apply insights to improve their work on future projects.

The ability to make use of available big data will be key across every industry moving forward. To find out more about the skills you can learn through these and other courses, check out the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business Online Master of Business Administration course descriptions and reach out to one of our expert enrollment advisors today.


Recommended Readings:

What is the Online MBA from University of Maryland? 

Why should your MBA focus on data? 



Maryland Smith Online MBA

Maryland Smith Online MBA Curriculum


Predictive Analytics Today