Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Benjamin: Just how do you mean that, sir?
When Mr. McGuire famously whispered the word plastics to a young and confused child of the suburbs played by Dustin Hoffman in the classic movie The Graduate, the idea was that plastic was the future and young Benjamin should get with the program.
Well, if The Graduate were remade today, the new buzzword for the young could be “analytics.” Thanks to the Internet, the world has become a swelling ocean full of data. One grand challenge of our age is to find a way to harness that data. And that’s where the burgeoning field of analytics comes in. Companies as large as IBM and as small as Twitter are looking to hiring people who can boil down this ocean of data into knowledge and insights that can help improve the performance of their businesses.
But the field is so new and growing so fast that there just aren’t enough qualified workers who can do these jobs. IBM currently has over 2,500 job postings for analytics-related jobs, and 60% of its new hires come from universities.
So IBM is taking the matter into its own hands. On Dec. 9, Big Blue announced that it was working with Fordham University’s School of Business to create a new business analytics curriculum to help prepare students for jobs in the field. IBM is currently working with several other schools on similar initiatives, but this is the first program that IBM has announced.