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Analytics for Competitive Advantage

Spring 2012 MBA Course

B8834-001: Analytics for Competitive Advantage

R - Full Term, 02:15PM to 05:30PM
Location: URI 142

Instructor: Omar Besbes

With the ability to collect new types of data and the explosion of the amount of data available, analytics has become a key element of competitive advantage for organizations across all sectors. Analytics is concerned with exploiting data to gain a better understanding about the business environment one faces, and from there, design an action plan. The objective of the course is to study the process of going from data to decisions. In particular, the course is not context specific and will focus on a host of applications where analytics have been successfully applied to gain a competitive edge. The industries we will cover include financial services, retail, online search and advertising, supply chain management, recommendation systems and healthcare management. We will study some of the tools underlying the success of companies in the areas above, and attempt to understand how analytics has provided them with a competitive edge.


The course is organized around cases, lectures, experiential activities, and guest speakers from industry. The intended audience for this course is fairly broad but the course is quantitative so students should feel comfortable with concepts developed in the core, e.g. in statistics and decision models. In your professional careers, you are likely to be implementing such tools. If you are managing a business, you will probably be a customer of analytics-based solutions as you will be faced with opportunities to capitalize on data you are collecting. If you are planning to invest in early ventures, more and more of those are analytics-based, and you will need to understand how such companies create value.