Ryan Grentz likes facts. He has always considered himself to be a fact-based person—analyzing the world around him to take in as much information as he can. “It’s hard to accept an idea if I don’t know the reason why it happened,” he said. “I like figuring out the cause and connecting results together.”
Now as he pursues a career in health care information technology, Grentz will be the first Union College student to graduate with a new business minor that suits him perfectly—data analytics.
“Improving patient experience is really big in health care right now,” explained the senior business major who has spent the last two summers working in health care internships. “The best way to tell if we’re actually improving year after year is to take patient surveys. You look for and group together trends that are good, and compare them to the areas that need improvement. This is doing it on a low level, but this is using analytics—analyzing data and making use of it, then acting upon those areas to improve what needs improvement. Analytics is important to businesses because it helps find and solve problems.”
Grentz first became interested in a data analytics minor in spring semester of his sophomore year while taking Advanced Excel and an introductory Information Display class—which have become part of the new minor’s curriculum. “I learned that looking at ‘big data’ and learning how to manipulate and make valuable use of data was really a matching point for me,” he said. “I realized it was a great skill to sharpen and a good minor to pursue.”
True to his nature, Grentz began researching business analytics and found a growing market. In fact, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek report, nearly all companies with sales over $100 million use business analytics to guide their decisions.
“Analyzing masses of hard data and making use of it is something I’m passionate about,” he said. “If you learn to do it right, it helps you think smarter without working harder.”
According to Jon Turk, assistant professor of marketing and management, the new minor consists of a statistics course and five analytics classes, including Information Display for Decision Making. He said the Division of Business and Computer Science launched the new minor because current research suggests far more business analyst jobs will be created in the next few years than there will be trained analysts to fill them. An article in Fast Companymagazine this year indicates that data analytics is one of the top 25 jobs for 2016.
Union College is now the only Adventist college to offer an analytics program, and Turk says the Division of Business and Computer Science hopes to integrate the minor into other programs such as math and science, psychology, international rescue and relief or most any major that requires research.
Grentz aims to work somewhere where there is a crossroads of people and technology, and hopes to fulfill this dream by pursuing a career in health care IT leadership. He predicts that business analytics will be practical in his job role in making IT decisions, which will hopefully positively affect his career plans in the future. “In a position like that, there are many initiatives that include taking in large amounts of data and making decisions based on the findings within that data. I believe that choosing this minor is a beneficial choice for my future.”
By Kaylin Thurber, student writer