SAS joins top analytics education program (and celebrates with some tips)

Now that SAS has entered the QTEM (Quantitative Techniques for Economics and Management)* network, we thought it would be nice to provide some useful tips to students considering to pursue an analytics career. And while we’re at it: we have some tips for the organizations looking for the best analytics talent as well.

The QTEM* program aims for the best students and enlists some of the best analytics organizations to create top analytical talent. So the agreement with SAS should come as a surprise to no one. But before embarking on this journey, we can already share some expert advice with students who are considering to pursue a career in analytics.

  1. Don’t be intimidated by the complexity of everything there is to learn as an analytics professional; your learning path will continue for the rest of your career.
  2. Share your knowledge and absorb what others are willing to share with you. 
  3. Spend at least as much time learning about the business processes that generate the data as you do acquiring the skills to analyze the data. Some of the most valuable insight come from being able to identify how those processes influence the data that get recorded and how those processes may be changed to make data more accurate and useful.
  4. Visualize the data and think about what the picture is telling you before running any analyses. A wise statistics professor once told me that the PLOT procedure is the most powerful procedure ever programmed.
  5. Strive for simplicity over complexity in communicating your findings; you can always provide more detail later as long as you hook your audience with the simplicity of your message first.

And while we’re at it: here are 3 tips for organizations looking for experts in analytics:

  1. The No. 1 characteristic of a good analyst is intellectual curiosity. Good analysts are always looking for new problems to solve and new ways to solve them. Analysts want opportunities to learn and utilize new methods. Good analysts flock to organizations that provide those opportunities, and leave those that don’t.
  2. Secondly, analytics is not reporting. Reporting is showing how many widgets were sold. Analytics is understanding who bought the widgets, why they bought the widgets, who is most likely to buy another widget and when, which channels do customers prefer to buy the widgets, will they buy something other than a widget, and many more questions.
  3. Finally, good analysts want to be involved in the organization’s decision making process. They want to know that their input is valuable and their work crucial to the direction of the organization. They don’t want to produce an analysis that leadership will use to make decisions; they want to be at the leadership table explaining the findings of the analysis and working with leadership on how best to act on these findings.

Good luck to all!

*For those of you who are not familiar with QTEM, this is a joint initiative of 15 universities worldwide. They have created a network program allowing students to obtain a local masters degree as well as a QTEM Masters Network Degree.