New Program Spotlight: Business Analytics

Certificate program teaches high-demand Tableau and Alteryx skills

The Business department at Inver Hills Community College is offering a new certificate program, Business Analytics, starting fall semester 2020.

“The certificate is unique within the Minnesota State system,” said Don Cassidy, the business faculty member who created the certificate and teaches two of the four courses within the program. “Now students, whether traditional or working adults seeking to upgrade skills, have a cost-effective option for acquiring business intelligence skills using industry-leading applications such as Tableau and Alteryx. Indeed, a three-day Tableau training course can cost as much as $1,100.”

Don reported this more expensive method of training, although in many ways excellent, leaves a large gap in the market as there are many students, both traditional and nontraditional, who simply can’t afford it. Also, for those new to applications like Tableau and Alteryx, cramming so much information into a three-day course is ineffective.

“You can’t learn the piano, even at a basic level, in three days,” Don said. “Same thing with business intelligence applications. It takes time—about four months—to begin making music with the applications so to speak.”

The 16-credit Business Analytics certificate delivers four courses:

  • BUS 1100: Introduction to Business Applications and Computing: 4 credits
  • MATH 1103:  Introduction to Statistics: 4 credits
  • BUS 2004: Principles of Marketing: 4 credits
  • BUS 2400: Business Analytics Applications: 4 credits

For returning adults with Excel skills, BUS 1100 can be waived upon Don’s approval. MATH 1103 and BUS 2004 can also be waived for those who have already taken similar coursework at other institutions.

The core of the certificate is BUS 2400: Business Analytics Applications.

“There’s a natural progression,” Don said. “We start out with the basics, and then ramp up from there. For those with decent Excel skills, and a desire to learn more advanced, in-demand applications, the course can be transformational.”

More about Tableau…

It began with three guys from Stanford¹

It started with a brilliant computer scientist, an Academy-Award winning professor and a savvy business leader with a passion for data. They came together to solve one of the most challenging problems in software—making data understandable to ordinary people. These were the fundamental ingredients for Tableau.


More about Alteryx…

What makes the Alteryx platform different²

We are a leader in the self-service data analytics movement with a platform that can discover, prep, and analyze all your data, then deploy and share analytics at scale for deeper insights faster than you ever thought possible.


What is business intelligence?³

Your guide to BI and why it matters

Business intelligence (BI) combines business analytics, data mining, data visualization, data tools and infrastructure, and best practices to help organizations to make more data-driven decisions. In practice, you know you’ve got modern business intelligence when you have a comprehensive view of your organization’s data and use that data to drive change, eliminate inefficiencies, and quickly adapt to market or supply changes.

It’s important to note that this is a very modern definition of BI—and BI has had a strangled history as a buzzword. Traditional Business Intelligence, capital letters and all, originally emerged in the 1960s as a system of sharing information across organizations. It further developed in the 1980s alongside computer models for decision-making and turning data into insights before becoming specific offering from BI teams with IT-reliant service solutions. Modern BI solutions prioritize flexible self-service analysis, governed data on trusted platforms, empowered business users, and speed to insight.


Business faculty: Don Cassidy

Don Cassidy

Don Cassidy began teaching at Inver Hills as part-time faculty in 2003. He was hired as a full-time faculty member in 2006. In 2010, he led the Business department’s efforts for full accreditation through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs(ACBSP) and continues to serve as the department’s assessment liaison.

By developing new courses and processes, he also lead the department’s effort creating the Inver Hills A.S. Business Transfer Pathway, which offers students the opportunity to complete an Associate of Science degree whose course credits directly transfer to designated bachelor’s degree programs at Minnesota State universities and several local private universities.

Don’s teaching style emphasizes tangible skill development, and many of his courses utilize technology such as social media, simulations and software to enhance student learning.

Don has nearly 20 years of corporate marketing and sales experience, including serving as a senior marketing manager for Tyco and as a pricing analyst for Sprint. He has an undergraduate degree from St. Cloud State University and an M.B.A. from Drake University. You can learn more about Don’s teaching philosophy by reading his blog, Required Mistakes.

Business Intelligence Analysts

On the Job

Business intelligence analysts gather financial and market information, which is often called “intelligence.” They look for ways to gather, combine, and understand market trends. They also create reports.

Business intelligence analysts stay current on critically important business trends by consistently communicating with customers, competitors, suppliers and colleagues in professional organizations.

Typical Work Tasks
People who work in this career often:
  • Collect data about customer needs
  • Update knowledge about emerging industry or technology trends
  • Analyze market or customer related data
  • Update computer database information
  • Create databases to store electronic data
  • Provide technical support for software maintenance or use
  • Develop information communication procedures
  • Document operational procedures
  • Document technical specifications or requirements
  • Prepare analytical reports
Typical Working Conditions
  • Using e-mail
  • Sitting
  • Working with a group or team
  • The importance of being accurate or exact
  • The freedom to determine tasks, priorities, and goals
  • Working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions
  • Freedom to make decisions without supervision
  • Meeting strict deadlines

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

Learn more about the new Business Analytics certificate program at Inver Hills by contacting:

Don Cassidy
Business Faculty

Learn more about the Business department at Inver Hills, including the Business Transfer Pathway A.S.Contemporary Business Practice A.A.S. and eight certificate programs, by contacting:

Hamid Kazeroony
Business Faculty

¹ Courtesy of Tableau
² Courtesy of Alteryx
³ Courtesy of Tableau

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