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The Power of Location Analytics in Business

As businesses continue to analyze and leverage big data, there is a growing realization that adding geographic location information to the data can dramatically enhance their insights. This practice is known as location analytics or geographic information systems (GIS), and it plays a significant role in making sound business decisions today. The location analytics market is expected to double by 2023, becoming a $10 billion industry. The increasingly global and virtual nature of business has, in turn, paved the way for many GIS business opportunities.

Location intelligence, 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, and yet only 9% of business schools incorporate GIS or spatial analytics into their curricula.

The University of Redlands’ Master of Business Administration program is one of the few MBA programs in the country to offer an emphasis in location analytics. The Redlands MBA incorporates spatial business learning throughout the courses, regardless of which concentration students decide to pursue. In addition to being offered on campus, the MBA program with location analytics emphasis 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.

Karisa Schroeder, a University of Redlands MBA graduate, first chose marketing as her focus, but started learning about GIS two classes into her program 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 University of Redlands MBA program with location analytics emphasis 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 a few schools are offering GIS as an MBA concentration, The University of Redlands’ MBA program 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.

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.

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 the billions of pieces of information. Learn more about how location analytics can enhance your 21st-century business skills by speaking with an admissions counselor today.