Exploring Analytics and the Online MS in Business Analytics Degree with UC’s Michael Platt

In the age of information overload, businesses are navigating a complex landscape where data reigns supreme. The strategic interpretation of this data isn’t just a skill — it’s a necessity. Enter business analytics, a discipline that transforms raw information into actionable insights, driving informed decision-making across industries.

With a surge in demand for professionals adept in business analytics, the University of Cincinnati’s (UC) online Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program stands at the forefront. As businesses worldwide strive to harness the potential of big data, this program can equip individuals with the skills to decipher patterns and trends and derive value from the ever-expanding sea of information.

Meet Michael Platt from UC

Assistant Professor and Academic Director Michael Platt has strong connections to Ohio, business analytics and the MSBA program. He’s a Cincinnati native and UC graduate with a BS in Mathematics and an MS in Quantitative Analysis from the renowned Carl H. Lindner College of Business.

Michael understands the real-world application of how data analysis and understanding can transform a business. Before joining UC full-time, he spent 14 years working in supply chain and healthcare analytics — most recently as a Senior Analyst at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

In a candid and engaging conversation, Michael talks about his path from a high school math teacher to a career in the corporate world to a new chapter in academia. He explains why the MSBA program is attractive to people from various backgrounds, discusses in-demand careers, and highlights the integral role of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and real-world business analytics in UC’s online MSBA experience.

(UC) What was your initial career choice after earning your undergraduate degree from UC?

(Michael) My degree was in Mathematics from UC’s School of Arts and Sciences, and I was also certified for secondary education. I learned fairly quickly that teaching high school math was not for me. But I wondered what else I could do with my love of math.

Based on a recommendation from a friend from my undergrad days, I returned to UC to earn a Quantitative Analysis (QA) master’s degree — now referred to as Business Analytics — which led to a long corporate career in supply chain and healthcare analytics.

Tell us more about your corporate career and how your UC education informed it.

When I moved into the QA master’s program, math and math data were booming. Computers were faster, social media was arriving, and every industry had data — they just didn’t know what to do with it. The potential with data was a real selling point for the program. And data’s continuous, exponential growth over the last 20 years revealed the value of this business specialty area.

In 2009, when I started at Cincinnati Children’s, they were transitioning to electronic medical records. There was an enormous amount of data collected by this single hospital, and everyone was still learning what to do with all of it. That was part of the reward of working for the hospital — to grow along with it and understand how to use all  of the data being collected to inform decision-making at the hospital.

What drew you to the academic world and, in particular, to UC’s MSBA program?


I was asked to teach a class on campus while still working at Cincinnati Children’s. I found it to be much more rewarding educating students who chose to be in class. (Thinking back to my high school teaching days.) By 2018, I was full-time at UC. I eventually became the Academic Director for the undergraduate business analytics program. When the previous director for the master’s program stepped down, I was asked to assume the role. As an alum, I saw it as an opportunity to promote a program I enjoyed, and that served me well in my career. There are a lot of complexities to the master’s program director role, and I’m enjoying it

What makes being the director interesting in a time where so much decision-making is data-driven?

One of the exciting yet challenging aspects of analytics is that it’s changing all the time. Algorithms are improving, and we’re figuring out better ways to store and access data. As an academic institution, UC must stay on top of these changes.

Other exciting parts of my role is making sure our curriculum evolves to capture things like AI and ChatGPT and figuring out who will be a good fit for the MSBA studies. We do everything we can to make sure students are successful, and our early interactions with them help us know what they want to achieve from the program.

What differentiates University of Cincinnati’s MSBA program from others?

Three things make our program unique — whether you study on campus or online, or full- or part-time: The affordability, the length of time necessary to complete it, and maybe most importantly, how UC’s program responds to changes in technology.

For example, we quickly added a ChatGPT and AI machine learning courses for Spring 2024. Currently, these are “special topic courses” from the program, and we’re hoping to make them a permanent part of the curriculum. And, of course, our curriculum will evolve further in accordance with changes in the industry. (View MSBA curriculum at a glance.)

What is your strategy for keeping the curriculum current?

I meet regularly with the Assistant Director of the MSBA program, and we reach out to our department head and program faculty to discuss what they’re doing. We have a tremendous faculty, some of whom are adjuncts working in companies on these very topics. As educators, they’re enthusiastic about AI and machine learning and constantly read, research, and learn everything they can about it. We’re all nerds, and this is an exciting topic for nerds!

We maintain a connection to UC’s Center for Business Analytics, a consulting group of about 20 members, primarily local companies. The center hires graduate students to work on analytics consulting projects for these companies and does a lot of training, as well. These real-world connections keep us focused on what’s happening in business today.

Who is UC’s online MSBA ideal for?

One of the great things about working with data is that every industry has it. So, whichever industry interests you will likely need data and analysis professionals. Even within industries, there are numerous and varied projects that require analytics. And while it’s not the most critical factor, these jobs tend to pay well. Companies hiring for business analysts, data scientists, or data analysts would find candidates with this degree appealing.

On another note, math teachers — or people like me who love math — can find expanded career growth and higher pay with this degree. We also attract a lot of engineers to the program who want to broaden their career opportunities. But any student with a business background, including in finance, accounting, or marketing, will find that UC’s program can help further their career or set the groundwork to make a career shift.

Explore the real-life value of an MSBA degree and meet UC graduate
Ankush Morey, a senior data scientist at NBC Universal.

A Career in Business Analytics

Michael mentioned some of the data analytics-focused roles, including business analyst, data scientist, and data analyst; here are 12 more companies are hiring for:

  1. Business intelligence (BI) analyst
  2. Data engineer
  3. Independent consultant
  4. Healthcare data analyst
  5. Machine learning engineer
  6. Marketing analyst
  7. Operations analyst
  8. Product manager
  9. Quantitate analyst
  10. Research analyst
  11. Risk analyst
  12. Supply chain analyst

(View median wages and projected growth for several positions mentioned above, and see the names of leading companies who hired graduates from UC’s Business Analytics master’s program.)

Take the Next Step to Learn More

UC’s online MSBA program at The Carl H. Lindner College of Business can open the door to a wide range of job opportunities in various industries. The skills, education and confidence you gain can position you for roles that involve AI, data analysis, statistical modeling, data interpretation, business decision-making, and more.

If you’re ready to explore the program more fully, your next best step is to connect with a UC Enrollment Services Advisor. You can send them a message or call (833) 556-7877 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Michael and the MSBA master’s program instructors and staff look forward to meeting you and hearing about your goals for a career in business analytics.

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