About the program

Thanks to light-speed development of computer and information technologies, many organizations are capable to store vast amounts of data in their information systems. In today's business world, more and more companies are depending on valuable information derived from such large-scale business datasets to gain competitive advantage and to make better business decision.

As a result, analyzing business data and turning the data into useful business knowledge is becoming a necessary responsibility in a variety of job positions. On the other hand, there is a shortage of business professionals knowledgeable about data analysis, and the demand for skilled data miners is high. In order to fulfill the gap, especially for businesses in Alaska, the College of Business and Public Policy (CBPP) and SAS Institute offer a joint education program in data mining.

Our program provides you with the opportunity to improve your skills at analyzing massive business datasets, turning data into business knowledge, and eventually making better business decisions. After successfully completing the program, you will earn a certificate that is widely recognized in the industry.

Program Details

This program consists of six graduate level courses. MBA students must complete 12 credit hours of core courses and 6 credit hours of business elective courses (many of the courses are also part of the requirements for the MBA degree). After successfully fulfilling the requirements, students qualify for the Data Mining Certificate jointly issued by SAS and CBPP. Brief descriptions of each course included in this program are given below. In addition to the coursework, the student must complete independently a data mining project, ideally based on a big real dataset, using SAS Enterprise Miner and give a public presentation of the project to general audiences.

Core Courses

(Complete all four courses with grade “B” or higher)

BA A633 Problem Formulation and Decision Analysis - Identification and formulation of business problems with alternative approaches to modeling and analysis. Students will undertake data collection and utilize appropriate software tools for optimization, regression, forecasting, and simulation of business processes. Focuses on formal quantitative modeling with strong recognition of the behavioral and political contexts of decision making in complex organizations.

BA A648 Business Intelligence and Data Mining - Covers basic business intelligence and data mining warehousing and querying. Focuses on applying business intelligence and data mining techniques including marketing campaigns, fraud, and terrorism detection. Popular data mining software will be sued to illustrate decision trees, classification algorithms, and other data mining techniques. This is a core course for SAS Data Mining Certification.

BA A697 Advanced Business Statistics and Data Analysis - Data identification, collection, and analysis and presentation of results. Basic statistical tools and models for problem analysis and decision making are presented in the manager's role in the organization. Emphasis is on the appropriate selection, use and interpretation of statistical models using statistical software (i.e., SAS). A data mining project independently completed and presented to general audiences is required for the SAS certificate.

CIS A692 Management Information Systems Seminar - Analysis of current and future implications of information systems (IS) and emerging technologies for managers and decision makers. Focuses on the interaction of technology with business organizations including e-commerce, enterprise IS, and globalization issues.


Business Elective Courses

(Choose two courses in different fields from the following courses, e.g. BA A636 and BA A635, and complete with grade "B" or higher.)


BA A686 Management Simulation - Provides the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience in running a business as a member of a senior management team. Students define strategies and apply strategic concepts and techniques within a practical decision-making framework. The simulation demonstrates how a firm's production, marketing, R&D, HR, and financial operations interact, and how key decisions impact business performance within a competitive market. Students compete simultaneously with fellow classmates and student teams from universities around the world.

BA A655 Strategic Management Seminar - Analysis of the strategic environment; formulation and implementation of strategy. Role of top management and other stakeholders in setting the organization's fundamental direction. Structure and control system design for strategic support.


BA A692 Investment Seminar - Provides coverage of the products, analytical techniques for valuing investment securities, and quantifying their exposure to changes in economic conditions, as well as portfolio strategies for achieving an investor's objectives.

BA A636 Financial Decision Making - Advanced course in financial decision making presenting analytical techniques and concepts. Includes multifactor asset pricing models; free cash flow and corporate valuation; capital budgeting risk analysis and real options; working capital management, capital structure theory, mergers, and corporate bankruptcies.


BA A640 Global Marketing - Examines the role of marketing in international markets and a global economy

BA A635 Current Marketing Issues Seminar - Explores the origin, nature, and ramifications of current issues in marketing that are redefining the role and scope of applied marketing management practices in contemporary organizations. Discusses the major ongoing socio-cultural and technological issues and trends impacting marketing research, competitive strategies, product/service design, pricing, promotion, and distribution.



Program Coordinator

Dr. Yonggang Lu

Assistant Professor of Quantitative Methods
Office: RH319E
Phone: (907) 786-4177
Fax: (907) 786-4115
College of Business and Public Policy
University of Alaska Anchorage