With data fast becoming the world’s most valuable commodity, professionals with the know-how to record, analyze and harness the power of big data are increasingly in demand in the job market. We spoke to Guillermo de Haro Rodríguez, Academic Director of Graduate Programs at IE School of Science and Technology, to gain insight into how the program prepares students to thrive in an ever-changing field.

5 min read

The term ‘big data’ has become a popular part of modern vocabulary over the last few years. For those unsure of what it means, it refers to the vast and often complex datasets generated by various technological sources, particularly large tech companies. The sheer breadth and depth of this newly available data makes it difficult to process and analyze using traditional data management tools. As a result, a whole new industry is growing around it. Big data is now big business.   

As Academic Director Guillermo de Haro Rodríguez tells us, “The last time I reviewed it, there were close to almost one million open positions for data scientists on LinkedIn.” It’s clear that companies are more interested than ever before in this type of profile. But why? As Guillermo explains, “We have never in history dealt with so much data.” 

Data analysts, engineers and more can also find their niche within this sector because “there are so many other career paths and positions available.” 

A new-look program for future data professionals

With such incredible opportunities already available in the labor market, IE University’s Master in Business Analytics & Big Data has been revamped to provide students with the necessary skills to carve out a career in this emerging field. And, in Guillermo’s opinion, this is only the beginning: “In today’s data culture, the knowledge to make decisions based on data is almost a commodity. If you don’t have it, you’re left behind.”

The program boasts an extensive curriculum that includes elements of big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence. It focuses on the specific career paths students wish to pursue while also keeping the industry’s needs in mind, offering them the broadest possible skill set required to move into the field.  

There are many paths to a successful career through this master’s degree program.

Students interested in the cloud can earn certifications in the most popular platforms such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud.

Those who want to focus more on business analytics can focus their efforts on data visualization and data processing for business insights. Alternatively, students who want to learn more about artificial intelligence get to zero in on machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement, natural language processing and more. 

However, all students will have the opportunity to build a strong foundation in the fundamentals of mathematics, statistics, and programming using languages like Python and SQL. 

Upskilling to solve modern problems

As technology continues to advance at a relentless pace, professionals must continue updating their knowledge in order to keep up. Guillermo explains: “I think Web3 could bring great change. 5G has also begun to transform the way companies are doing things.” As more people start to adopt these disruptive innovations, he is sure that “the transformation in society caused by these technologies is going to be mind-blowing in many ways.”

When it comes to innovation, IE University has been at the forefront of educational progress for nearly 50 years—something Guillermo has witnessed firsthand in his two decades here. The program encourages its students to “not only learn and teach but also build and do things that solve problems in a practical way.” For the Academic Director, this is an essential skill in the business of big data. 

The most complete program

Understanding the need for continuous modernization, IE School of Science & Technology studied the strengths of other similar programs worldwide. From their analysis, Guillermo explains, “Right now, the Master in Business Analytics & Big Data is the most complete program in the market. We discovered some have student exchanges and others have professional industrial certifications. Ours is the only program that offers everything.” 

Indeed, the program boasts the IE Venture Lab, capstone projects where students gain hands-on experience, professional industry certifications, international student exchanges and Immersion Week, not to mention an immensely talented teaching faculty. “If students come with the will to learn, we will give them superpowers,” he says.

But the program doesn’t only lead by example in academic terms. Guillermo tells us there are a plethora of clubs and activities where students can develop their unique interests.  

“We have several clubs, from robotics to big data and AI to Google labs and more. The amazing IE Sustainability Datathon is another one and it’s more than a learning process. Students work in groups and compete against each other to solve real problems for real companies.”

Tackling real-world problems

Of course, problem-solving is an essential competence for any business leader, executive or entrepreneur. According to the World Economic Forum, critical thinking ranks highly year after year among the top skills for the future.

Position your career for the future with the Master in Business Analytics & Big Data

The program ensures that students gain both technical expertise and a strong grasp of how to use data wisely as part of any decision-making process.

Throughout their studies, they face real-world problems to hone these skills. And who better to guide them in this process than prominent industry leaders? 

The Master in Business Analytics & Big Data was co-founded by none other than Juan Jose Casado, the Chief Data Officer for REPSOL; and Luis Reina, IBM’s Chief Technology Officer for artificial intelligence. It also features an impressive faculty of experts with years of practical experience in the field. For example, Sebastian Feldman from Accenture is a world-leading authority in the metaverse; he takes students through the course in the program. 

For their capstone projects, students have the opportunity to use data to tackle challenges faced by leading companies such as BCG, IBM, Microsoft, Airbus and many more. Apart from gaining invaluable skills, these projects also place them in direct contact with the companies they may one day work for. This immersion in the world of tech may in fact be one of the program’s greatest benefits—one which prepares students to leave IE University and thrive in the real world. 

As Guillermo underlines, “A specialized program, rather than a generalized one, has the potential to help you at many different points in your career across many different industries.” Consequently, the Master in Business Analytics & Big Data has an array of enriching experiences built into its study plan. “That’s why we came up with the IE Certificate on Foundations of Sustainability and the IE Sustainability Datathon,” he explains, adding, “We want to solve the real problems of the future.”

A word to prospective students

It’s clear that the modern business landscape is one with technology at its heart; naturally, the fields of data and analytics are no different. According to Guillermo, one of the most common concerns about enrolling in the program is potential students’ lack of technical skills or technological savvy. “That’s not a problem, he says. “If you want to learn and are ready to work, we will take care of that.”