Business Analytics: Decision Making with Data

Big data and analytics are more than technology and data science problems to be relegated to specialists. In fact, the hardest part of engaging analytics is not the data science or the technology. The major challenge is first identifying the right business problem to solve, and then determine if analytics can contribute to a solution. Direct leadership involvement in analytics is critical to reaching optimal business outcomes. This is largely possible when decision-makers get a working knowledge of data science that is grounded in practical application and equipped with leadership-focused insight.

This program delivers material in an accessible, easy-to-understand format that is immediately applicable to your organization. Whether this is your first introduction to analytics, or you have some experience in related fields, you can start here. The frameworks in this program will build your working knowledge of data science and improve your data literacy. Additionally, you will understand the intuition behind machine learning algorithms and what artificial intelligence (AI) can accomplish for your business.

This program equips you with:

  • The tools required to put analytics to practical use and solve specific business problems
  • The language and intuition to work effectively with data scientists
  • The necessary insights for leveraging analytics to accelerate growth and increase efficiency and productivity
Online Programs
Business Analytics Program graphic

Who Should Attend

  • Senior management who want to get a practical understanding of the application of analytics and identify the types of strategic business problems where analytics can add value
  • Mid-level functional managers who aim to use analytics to improve performance in their functional area and drive successful business outcomes
  • Senior or top-level executives who want to build an intuition for data science and be more effective in leading a culture that values analytics in decision making

Key Benefits

  • Build a working knowledge of data science
  • Identify where analytics adds value
  • Build the confidence required to operate in a data-driven environment
  • Develop the ability and intuition to judge “good analytics” from “bad analytics”
  • Understand the importance of experimentation platforms to drive business growth
  • Learn how to tell a persuasive story with data visualization tools

Program Content

Leading with Analytics

Learn why analytics is every leader’s problem. Use the Kellogg Analytics Framework — a process for developing analytics-driven business initiatives to help you achieve your business goals.

  • Why analytics must be driven by business problems
  • The importance of planning for analytics
  • What kinds of organizational changes are needed to leverage analytics to solve business problems
  • The three ways that analytics creates value (enabling, ideating and evaluating business initiatives)
  • The Kellogg Analytics Framework to support the use of exploratory, predictive and casual analytics

Exploratory Analytics with Visualization

What makes you a good consumer of analytics? In this module, you will explore how the human visual system works, how to see beyond simple patterns in data, and learn how to tell persuasive stories using visualization tools.

  • Explore how visualization allow analysts to see more complex patterns in their data
  • Create thoughtful visualizations that make it easier to see comparisons
  • Learn how to tell a persuasive story with data visualization tools

Distinguish Good from Bad Analytics

What questions should you ask to help distinguish good analytics from bad analytics? This module will help you make analytics-based decisions on real-causal relationships. You will learn to recognize analytics design flaws and identify errors in reasoning.

  • Understand data which was not generated as a part of an experiment is often presented or interpreted as if they were — which is problematic
  • Apply the causality checklist to diagnose the quality of analytics
  • Determine whether analytics that is presented as evidence of a causal effect is “good” or “bad”
  • Understand if you are drawing the right conclusions from the data presented

Causal Analytics

Analyze the importance of experimentation platforms in driving growth and in analytics

  • Discover why it is important to invest in experimentation platforms
  • Learn why analytics requires an experimental mindset
  • Discuss why true experiments are not always possible
  • Explore the main techniques one can use when true experiments are not possible

Causal Analytics in Action: The CPE Case

Apply the concepts of the program to a real-world problem. Consider the two objectives of the case and analyze the best ways to achieve the objectives.

  • Gain an understanding of why planning your analytics is critical
  • Discuss how analytics can effectively be used to evaluate a business initiative
  • Build confidence to operate in a data-driven environment
  • Practice what to do when true experiments are not possible

Predictive Analytics

Gain an understanding of predictive analytics, how profitable it can be, and how it can enable business initiatives.

  • Identify when causal relationships are necessary when using predictive models
  • Describe how and when to cross over from predictive to causal analytics
  • Evaluate the performance of a predictive model, both from a data science and a financial model

Linking Analytics with Actions

Learn how good decisions are the result of careful planning, anticipating the complexity of real-world optimization problems, and integrating your domain expertise with analytics.

  • Learn why long-term success in analytics requires investment in opportunistic and designed data
  • Understand variability and how it relates to the causality checklist
  • Learn why intuition and analytics are both integral to solving complex business problems

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Understand the logic behind machine learning models and learn how these systems automatically uncover complex data relationships and offer predictions.

  • Identify business problems that AI can help resolve
  • Learn the three basic types of machine learning
  • Explore the types of data that are used by AI systems
  • Discuss the several types of machine learning model and applicability to business problems


Eric T Anderson - Academic Director; Polk Bros. Chair in Retailing; Professor of Marketing

Florian Zettelmeyer - Academic Director; Nancy L. Ertle Professor of Marketing; Faculty Director, Program on Data Analytics at Kellogg

Steven Franconeri - Professor of Psychology, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; Director, Northwestern Cognitive Science Program; Professor of Leadership, Kellogg School of Management (Courtesy)

Kris Hammond - Bill and Cathy Osborn Professor of Computer Science, McCormick School of Engineering


What is the program about?

Business Analytics: Decision Making with Data is a program that provides learners with a working knowledge of data science. This program delivers material in an accessible, easy-to-understand format that is immediately applicable to your organization. Whether this is your first introduction to analytics, or you have some experience in related fields, you can start here. The frameworks in this program will build your working knowledge of data science and improve your data literacy. Additionally, you will understand the intuition behind machine learning algorithms and what artificial intelligence (AI) can accomplish for your business.

What is the learning experience?

Your learning experience offers accessible, easy-to-understand content via video lectures, live webinars, real world examples and case studies. You will participate in discussions, complete knowledge-checks and assignments and workbook activities.

What is the program format?

The program consists of 8 modules delivered over 9 weeks online. Learners can expect to dedicate 4-6 hours per week to watch videos, complete assignments and workbook activities and participate in discussions. Modules are opened at the beginning of each week and have quizzes at the module’s conclusion. Learners may choose to engage with the program module all in one sitting or in smaller segments of time throughout the week. While the modules do not close, access to assignments is closed each week.

Could a learner choose to opt out of some topics?

No. This is an online program in which a topic module is introduced each week and the learner is expected to watch the video lectures, participate in the live webinars, complete the exercises/activities and take the mastery quiz at the end of each week to progress to the subsequent week’s topic.

Are any of the sessions delivered in real time (live)?

There will be live webinars, led by faculty and/or subject matter experts, delivered during the course of the program via a video conferencing platform. These sessions provide learners an opportunity to listen and ask questions, and while they are valuable in enhancing the overall experience, attendance is not mandatory. All live sessions are recorded for later viewing.

What methods will be used for grading and evaluations?

Program tutors and success managers will review assignments, discussions and exercises to determine participants’ understanding of the material, as well as ensure a positive learning experience in the online learning platform.

How much time is allocated to complete assignments?

The due date for submitting assignments is typically within 7 days of the module opening, but can be as long as 14 days, depending on the scope of the assignment. However, learners may request deadline extensions to accommodate for business and personal conflicts that may arise during the program timeframe. Reach out to the program leader to discuss any challenges you may have in completing assignments.

Can participation in this program be counted as credit toward a degree, either at Kellogg, Northwestern University or another academic institution?

No. Executive Education offers only non-degree programs and each participant receives a certificate of completion at the end of the program. This certificate does not count as credit toward a degree. In addition, at this time, our online programs do not count as credit toward a Kellogg Executive Scholar Certificate.

Does the program offer community engagement for learners?

Yes, participants can create a profile, connect and collaborate with peers. In addition, in the live webinars, participants can interact with the head tutor and other content experts.

What are the requirements for accessing the program?

Participants will need the following to access the program:

  • Valid email address
  • Computing device connected to the internet (Mac/PC/laptop, tablet or smartphone)
  • The latest version of your preferred browser to access our learning platform (though not required, we recommend using Google Chrome when accessing the Online Campus for optimal experience)
  • Microsoft Office Suite (PowerPoint, Word, Excel) and PDF viewer to access content such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations, PDF files, and transcripts
  • Additional software and resources may be required for certain programs – this will be communicated upon registration and/or at the beginning of the program
  • PLEASE NOTE: Google, Vimeo and YouTube may be utilized in the program delivery.

Do the programs offer a certificate?

Yes. Participants will receive a digital certificate of completion from Kellogg following a successful conclusion to the program. Since this program is graded as a pass or fail, participants must receive 70% satisfactory feedback on submitted assignments and assessments in order to obtain the certificate. This digital certificate can be shared with colleagues and posted on LinkedIn. (PLEASE NOTE: We do not provide reports of assessments, or “transcripts,” since this is a non-degree program.)

Who is Emeritus and what is their relationship with Kellogg Executive Education?

Kellogg Executive Education is partnering with Emeritus Institute of Management, an online education provider, to develop and deliver this program. By working with Emeritus, we are able to provide broader access to Executive Education, beyond our on-campus offerings, in a collaborative and engaging format that is consistent with Kellogg’s standard of quality.

Additional questions?

Please contact us by calling 847-467-6018 or email us at

Upcoming Sessions

June 26 - August 28, 2024

Start: July 3 at 12:00 AM

End: August 28 at 12:00 AM

Accepting registrations through July 2


September 12 - November 14, 2024

Start: September 19 at 12:00 AM

End: November 14 at 12:00 AM

Accepting registrations through September 18


Kellogg School of Management

James L. Allen Center
2169 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208