As technology improves, the world continues to change at an exponential rate. To keep up with a world forever changed by computing power, Elon University’s Love School of Business is altering the courses and curriculum for the new school year to teach students how to solve problems and analyze data.
The business school is offering seven new courses, at both the undergraduate and graduate level, to instruct students in data analysis. The courses are not restricted to any particular business major. Raghu Tadepalli, dean of the Love School of Business, said employers across the board are looking for potential employees who can handle data.
“We are coming up with career tracks in analytics to prepare students for any field,” Tadepalli said.
The increasing importance of data has created, as Tadepalli put it, a new set of skills that have to be learned alongside traditional business training in order to stay relevant in the modern world.
“Nowadays, there’s so much data, thanks to the availability of computers,” he said. “Students need to not just write and speak well.”
Another change coming to the business school this year is a revision of the entrepreneurship curriculum to focus less on how to start a business and more on how to “think like an entrepreneur.”
“An entrepreneur needs to be able to deal with unstructured issues,” Tadepalli said. “Let’s say you need to tackle a problem in your work. No one is going to tell you how to fix it. You need to be a problem solver.”
Caralea Prentice, a sophomore Business Fellow at Elon, said she thinks the additional courses are a responsible change.
“I think that it is natural for the focus of business education to evolve over time and to push students to learn skills that are of increasing importance to future employers,” Prentice said.
The new emphasis on teaching data analysis to students comes from feedback Tadepalli said he has heard from employers who will give problems and assignments in interviews to see if potential hires have what it takes.
“What employers now want to know is not just what you know, but for you to show what you know,” he said.
Prentice said the job market she and other business students are looking at requires critical thinking skills and practical technical knowledge in things like Microsoft Excel and data analysis.
“Students should be pushed to develop less easily defined skills, like strong leadership, productive teamwork and critical thinking,” she said.
With this new entrepreneurship curriculum, students can take courses in any discipline and still develop problem-solving skills. Tadepalli said this is the first time entrepreneurship students have been able to take outside courses that count toward their major. This new system is working toward the goal of making students think like entrepreneurs.
“There are certainly students in the business school with different priorities, and a well-rounded education should be expected at a liberal arts school,” Prentice said.
He added that this new focus reiterates the teaching that entrepreneurs must figure out how to reduce, not engage in, risky behavior in business.