Making Data the Base for Progress; Having a Grasp of How to Make Those Quintillions of Bytes Work for Businesses Is Now a Key Requirement for Anyone Hoping to Rise to Senior Management, Writes Niki Chesworth

The Evening Standard (London, England), October 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Making Data the Base for Progress; Having a Grasp of How to Make Those Quintillions of Bytes Work for Businesses Is Now a Key Requirement for Anyone Hoping to Rise to Senior Management, Writes Niki Chesworth


Byline: Niki Chesworth

HE figures are hard to grasp.

TEvery day an estimated 2.5 quintillion data bytes of "big data" are moving among us. Each time we use Facebook, Twitter, Google, go online, use our mobiles, email or make a purchase, we are manoeuvring a virtual tsunami of data bytes.

But what does this mean for business? Companies realise that if they are to grasp the potential benefits of big data, they need managers with the ability to sift through information, solve business problems and strategise. So it comes as little surprise that there is increasing demand in both private industry and public policy arenas for MBA and master's graduates with the analytical and decision-making skills needed to process and evaluate these multiple information streams.

A Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) survey of corporate recruiters found that nearly all (97 per cent) of employers said the ability to make decisions from data analysis or "Integrated Reasoning" skills are important for their graduate business new hires. In addition, the vast majority of business school alumni are using integrated reasoning skills on the job.

In response to this, GMAC has added a 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section to its GMAT exam so that graduates can demonstrate they have the requisite analytical training and knowledge needed to grow and succeed in a datarich world.

Julia Tyler, vice-president at GMAC, says: "If you think back 20 years ago with the beginning of the internet, nobody knew what to do about it. They were unsure. Roll on and now it is integrated into every business and we cannot imagine life without it.

"Big data is the next wave of that and businesses are realising that they can do things that are significantly different such as being able to pick up on human behaviour. For example, you can track spending patterns and the highly technological companies are exploiting this while others are only just waking up to this. …

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