The School of Business is making significant changes to one of its undergraduate programs, modernizing it to increase the emphasis on data analytics and creating a more direct pipeline to employment.
Beginning in the Fall, the Management Information Systems (MIS) program will become Analytics and Information Management (AIM). The new major will offer four concentrations: Business Intelligence, Application Development, IT Security, and Supply Chain Management.
“We are making the change to better align the major with changes we are seeing in industry and society, especially the importance of analytics,’’ says Professor Jon Moore, who led the team that revised the curriculum. “These four new concentrations will allow our students a deeper focus on their area of interest and to graduate with a more specific skillset.’’
Professor Cuihong Li, head of the OPIM department that includes the new major, says the restructuring and upgrading of the program comes at the right time. Advanced technology has made vast amounts of data available, enabling new business models and fostering more intelligent decision making. At the same time, increased digital connections among machines, humans, and devices have made systems more vulnerable to cyberattacks.
“The AIM major will provide students with much sought-after knowledge and skills at the front of business technologies, analytics, and IT security. It will prepare them for a successful career using technologies, and information generated by the technologies, to address business needs in a secure environment,’’ she says. “AIM has a well-thought design that provides not only the breadth of coverage but also depth in different areas.’’
There are close to 200 students in the program today and, even during the pandemic, the graduates of the program had 100% job placement within three months of commencement, Moore says.
Professor Craig Calvert, who also helped redesign the curriculum, says adding a supply chain concentration and minor is a significant addition to the OPIM curriculum.
“Companies regularly contact me looking for students who have skills in supply chain management, while students are consistently listing supply chain in their career interests,’’ he says.
One of his former students, now a supply chain coordinator for a small company, took the class on a whim because it sounded interesting, and ended up finding a career.
A strength of the new UConn supply chain curriculum is the strong emphasis on quantitative analysis and analytics. “This will make our students some of the most competitive for jobs and allow them to have a strong long-term impact on the companies that hire them,’’ he says.
Professor Stephen Fitzgerald says over the last year, faculty have worked on the redesign, consulting alumni and professionals in various industries, and studying professional, organizational and regulatory trends.
“It has been exciting to revisit our core courses and reimagine our more advanced courses,’’ he says. “This work allows our students to deepen their focus on their areas of interest inside the AIM major while simultaneously opening doors for students outside of the major to minor in an area of interest to them. ”
“Students will be able to differentiate themselves by highlighting the area they are interested in, and have invested in, which will help them stand out among applicant pools and within their current positions,” he says.
Students who are now juniors in the program will have the option of remaining on the MIS track or adopting one of the new concentrations. The OPIM department is working closely with the Office of Undergraduate Advising to help students determine their path.
All the MIS courses, names, are registration numbers are being rebranded and new courses are being added including, “Risk, Trust and Modern Security,’’ “Managerial Supply Chain Management,’’ and “Supply Chain Logistics.’’ The department will provide an equivalency table to help students navigate course and credit requirements.