Redlands Business & Society Blog

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The Power of Location Analytics in Business

Savvy business leaders leverage location analytics

Location analytics, which entails analyzing the geography of demographic trends with greater precision, is imperative for planning campaigns, minimizing risks, and predicting performance. Savvy business executives who use spatial or location data to capture new opportunities and solve business challenges will be in strong demand. A Dresner Advisory Services study shows that 66% of businesses consider GIS to be a critical business tool for ongoing revenue growth strategies. Leading industries adopting GIS and location analytics include telecommunications companies, federal, state, and government, financial services & insurance, and retail & wholesale. 

Even with the growing importance of GIS and location analytics among industries and businesses, only 9% of business schools incorporate GIS and location analytics into their curricula. 

In response to a growing and unmet need for GIS professionals across industries and businesses, the University of Redlands developed programs, courses, and industry partnerships to blend knowledge of business, strategy, and analytics with hands-on GIS skills. Students in these programs learn the value of collecting, visualizing, interpreting, and analyzing complex location data to aid organizational decision-making, identify new revenue streams and achieve competitive advantage. 

An MBA program with a concentration in location analytics

The University of Redlands School of Business’ Master of Business Administration program is one of the few MBA programs in the country to offer a concentration in location analytics. The Redlands MBA incorporates spatial business learning and geographic information systems (GIS) with a focus on developing technical skills and storytelling to drive business decision-making. In addition to being offered on-campus, the MBA program is offered fully online–an attractive option for working adults. As more companies are looking to recruit employees with strong GIS backgrounds plus a firm grasp of business strategy, an online MBA with an emphasis in location analytics can help set job candidates apart from their competition.

Did you know?

The University of Redlands School of Business also offers the Business Location Analytics Certificate, designed to provide working professionals an introductory overview of business location analytics and GIS. Learn how you can enhance organizational value and effectiveness with the University of Redlands’ Business Location Analytics Certificate.

Karisa Schroeder ‘18, a University of Redlands MBA graduate, first chose marketing as her focus, but started learning about GIS in her classes and decided to switch her concentration to location analytics. “While performing demographic research using the United States census, I was introduced to the power of mapping data for visual storytelling. In previous jobs, when searching for project solutions, developing communication assets, or brainstorming new products, we asked the questions ‘Who? What? Why?’, but it was not until I discovered GIS through the University of Redlands School of Business that I started asking ‘Where?’ In my research, I found GIS to be directly applicable to all areas of the organizational value chain,” Schroeder said.

The importance of GIS in business

The University of Redlands MBA program with a concentration in location analytics stresses the importance of GIS in business and shows students the power of mapping data for visual storytelling. There is a wealth of information in the data generated that is directly applicable to all areas of the organizational value chain.

While few business schools are offering location analytics as an MBA concentration, The University of Redlands School of Business stands out due to its partnership with Esri, the industry leader in mapping software. While scientific processes form the foundation of the MBA and GIS courses, they also provide an exceptional framework for exploration and creativity. The curriculum is designed to enhance strategic thinking and enable the application of the strategies learned in real life business.

“Esri is proud to be a part of this ground-breaking initiative. Education has always been an important part of our mission. The business world is increasingly relying on spatial data today to make better-informed decisions, so it is more important than ever that students have a foundation in location intelligence.” 

— Jack Dangermond, Esri founder and president

According to Schroeder, the most rewarding experiences were the hands-on career growth opportunities offered by the University of Redlands School of Business. “Students are paired with high-performing organizations for on-the-job training and mentorship. Through these opportunities, I managed project teams to create marketing campaigns for local startups, developed a location strategy business plan for an international nonprofit, and completed my MBA capstone by  performing as an on-site consultant for a leading Southern California business,” Schroeder said.

Experiential learning and real-world experience

Redlands is known for the experiential learning it offers to complement classroom learning. The University offers extensive opportunities for students interested in GIS, including weekly group meetings, networking, and experimenting with new technologies. These practices help students to stay informed and up-to-date on industry changes.

As the digital transformation of the business world continues, a blend of business acumen and GIS expertise will be essential to ground data and give depth and context to billions of pieces of information. Learn more about how location analytics can enhance your 21st-century business skills today.