New lab at Schulich to focus on business analytics

The Schulich School of Business at York University and Deloitte announced Monday, Oct. 2  plans to create the Deloitte Cognitive Analytics and Visualization Lab, an innovative laboratory, supported by a leading data scientist, to foster advances in the visualization and interpretation of big data.

The new Deloitte Cognitive Analytics and Visualization Lab and the Deloitte Data Scientist position at Schulich will be established in partnership by Schulich and Deloitte as part of their joint commitment to building tomorrow’s leading talent in the field of analytics. The Deloitte Data Scientist position will support the lab and was made possible through a significant private investment from Deloitte. The lab and data scientist will be housed within Schulich’s future Centre of Excellence in Business Analytics, one of several Centres of Excellence to be located in the school’s new $50-million Rob and Cheryl McEwen Graduate Study & Research Building, scheduled to open in late spring 2018.

“Ever since Schulich became the first business school in Canada to offer a management degree in business analytics, our school has been a global leader in analytics research and education. Deloitte, meanwhile, has been at the global forefront of utilizing data analytics to help businesses gain a competitive advantage,” said Schulich Dean Dezsö J. Horváth. “Establishing the state-of-the-art Deloitte Cognitive Analytics and Visualization Lab at Schulich will enable both of our organizations to continue providing world-class expertise in business analytics.”

An artist’s concept drawing of the new building where the 800 square foot Deloitte Cognitive Analytics and Visualization Lab will be situated.

“Deloitte is committed to helping Canada understand and leverage analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and cognitive computing against a rapidly changing and complex business and economic environment to deliver financial, social and economic value,” said Anthony Viel, managing partner, Financial Advisory at Deloitte in Canada.  “By sharing our industry experience, our globally recognized analytics team, and our ecosystem of resources, like our Greenhouse and relationships with Schulich we know we can together develop the next generation of business analytic talent and business leaders faster to make Canada better.”

“By taking a leading role in business analytics education and research, we will equip Canadian leaders with the in-demand skills they need to grow their businesses,” said Frank Vettese, managing partner and chief executive, Deloitte Canada. “Business analytics is a rapidly expanding field and the Deloitte Cognitive Analytics and Visualization Lab will uncover the insights and innovation we need to not only distinguish our leaders on the world stage but also drive Canada’s future prosperity.”

The approximately 800-square-foot lab will be designed to support teaching and research goals, as well as explore advances in predictive analytics, natural language processing, machine learning, analytics design and visualization, and data-based story-telling. It will be equipped with cognitive, data analytics and visualization technology, available to students and faculty in Schulich’s Master of Business Analytics program, Master’s-level programs, Executive MBA and MBA programs, as well as undergraduate business programs.

There is a high demand now for business leaders with the expertise to analyze and communicate trends, patterns and insights, quickly understand and navigate industry shifts, as well as to influence and drive change. Visualization techniques are the easiest way to translate very complex data into a form that is ready to be used by business executives to solve problems and plan for the future.

“Schulich is excited to work with Deloitte’s pioneering data analytics team to prepare future business leaders to visually interpret and communicate insights generated by big data collections,” said Murat Kristal, director of Schulich’s Master of Business Analytics Program. “Business analytics and data visualization are a potential game changer for every industry.”

The future Schulich Centre of Excellence in Business Analytics, of which the Lab will be the major component piece, will provide a focal point for industry outreach, collaboration, research and practical teaching. Once established, the Centre will be the business school’s fourth centre of excellence. Other centres at Schulich, which will all be located in the new building as of spring 2018, include: the Brookfield Centre in Real Estate and Infrastructure; the Centre for Global Enterprise; and the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business.

Schulich was the first business school in Canada to launch a graduate-level business analytics program in 2012. Graduates of Schulich’s business analytics program are in high demand and have been recruited by a wide range of companies, including Deloitte, Aimia, TD, Bell, Labatt, CIBC, and Statistics Canada.