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University of Maryland: Embracing AI in business

The business landscape is undergoing a profound transformation, and at the heart of this revolution lies artificial intelligence (AI). With its potential to reshape industries and drive economic growth, the technology is no longer a distant concept but a tangible force that demands attention. A recent study by PwC proves this, predicting AI has the capacity to inject US$15.7 trillion into the global GDP by 2030.

With this in mind, business graduates must understand the power of AI and how to leverage its benefits. The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business (Maryland Smith) has a postgraduate programme that nurtures these competencies and more — the Master of Science in Marketing Analytics (MSMA). On this route, machine learning and artificial intelligence are just some key topics explored. It also uniquely covers analytic tools for marketing consulting, consumer journey analysis, ethics and analytics, eye tracking analysis, micro segmentation and targeting, and more.

The STEM-designated programme was designed to train students to interpret chunks of consumer data with analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Hadoop/MapReduce, Python, R, SAS, and SQL. In the process, they help businesses target the right audiences and launch cost-effective campaigns that yield results. It’s also an apt choice for those looking to take on roles that require knowledge in strategic marketing and back-end data analysis.

The Master of Science in Marketing Analytics (MSMA) explores the power of AI and how students can leverage its benefits. Source: Maryland Business School

Imparting this relevant knowledge are seasoned marketing and data experts that double as educators. Their aim is to help learners boost their marketing strategy, programming, and technological skills. Under their supervision, students who have completed certain courses also have the opportunity to earn their Tier 3 SAS Academic Specialisation digital badge, which is certainly a valuable addition to any resume or LinkedIn profile — as are achievements gained through competitions.

MSMA students are encouraged to apply knowledge through opportunities like the Adobe Analytics Challenge. Friendly contests are just one of the many ways learners network with industry experts and potential employers — thanks to the fact that the University of Maryland collaborates with organisations of all sorts.

“The university has a strong national profile,” attests Jacob Marmol, an MSMA graduate. “As a student, I was able to connect with employers who have offices throughout the US. Some of the nation’s top companies regularly host events at Smith and are genuinely interested in connecting with Smith students — which is incredible.”

Hence why an impressive 69% of MSMA students have secured employment six months after graduating. A majority make a killing, considering the median salary for data scientists in the US stands at US$101,000. The best part? This 30-credit degree ensures optimum versatility, unlocking a range of lucrative roles such as consumer insights or strategy consultant, data scientist, digital campaign analyst, social media analyst, and web analytics manager, amongst many others. These professionals are needed across a range of sectors and organisations, too — even the National Basketball Association (NBA). The league’s higher-ups understand the power of data-driven decisions.

As many as 69% of MSMA students found jobs six months after graduating. Source: Maryland Business School

Benjamin Eidelberg was just a high school senior when he realised this. At the time, he was interning for the Washington Wizards’ video department. Determined to one day do more for the team, Eidelberg enrolled at Maryland Smith to receive the excellent education the institution was known for delivering. Immediately, he joined the university’s men’s basketball team as a student manager, assisting with tasks ranging from filming practices to equipment management and on-court performance support. Once he gained a solid foundation with a BS in Business Management, Eidelberg felt that taking on an MSMA was a no-brainer.

“Just seeing the word ‘analytics’ and knowing where sports were headed at the time was really the stimulus of my decision-making process,” he says. “I was very interested in creating any opportunity to distinguish myself. I wanted to give myself an edge at a time when analytics could give me an edge.”

An edge, he got. Upon graduating in 2016, Eidelberg returned to the Washington Wizards and worked his way up from video analyst to director of basketball strategy and analytics. His role revolves around using data to support roster building, contract negotiations, free agency, trade deals, and providing the coaching staff or other organisational departments with more information to enhance their decision-making.

University of Maryland

Benjamin Eidelberg, NBA player and MSc Graduate of Marketing Analytics, applies learning in his role as director of basketball strategy and analytics for Washington Wizards. Source: University of Maryland

Never forgetting the school that got him to where he is today, Eidelberg is a proud member of Maryland Smith’s alumni advisory councils. He actively participates in discussions with students, aiming to give back the mentorship and networking that he believes greatly influenced his own career path.

“I love helping undergraduate students accomplish their goals or learn about what opportunities exist for them,” he says. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without people helping me along the way. These are relationships and connections that will benefit them, the University of Maryland and maybe one day the Wizards too.”

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