From Digitalization Minister Nikolai Astrup’s comments at AmCham’s annual member reception to headlines in all national newspapers, one thing is abundantly clear: the future is digital – and Norway has tremendous ambition to be global leader in this digital future.
For Norway to realize it’s digital ambitions, however, it will need a digitally competent workforce, a workforce capable of mining, developing, and analyzing large amounts of data – a resource many are calling the world’s new oil.
Despite this future demand, however, unemployment among recent master’s students graduates in fields related to information and communication technology (ICT) is paradoxically nearly double that of the average for Norwegian master’s students, according to a 2018 report from the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU). One possible explanation noted by the report was a lack of work relevance in theory-heavy ICT master’s programs, a trend that has led ICT students to demand more internship opportunities and learning programs that prepare them to immediately enter the workforce.
In response to this increasing student demand and growing employer need for job candidates with sophisticated data analytics skills, AmCham member organizations SAS Institute and BI joined forces to form a strategic partnership aiming to create global analytics leaders through BI’s bachelor’s and master’s programs in business analytics.
“Everyone’s talking about AI, machine learning, and advanced analytics – and we were looking for a partnership with a company that really knows what it’s doing in these areas. Through our new cooperation with SAS Institute, our students will develop their analytical skills in a highly applicable business context,” notes Pål Berthling-Hansen, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the Master of Science in Business Analytics Program at BI.
The collaborative program will offer students services tailormade to prepare them for tomorrow’s digital, data-based economy. With direct access to SAS software and e-learning courses, students will be able to qualify for internships and awards for thesis projects, participate in Hackathons, and access SAS Learning Labs, which will allow them to practice with real data sets and AI projects.
“BI is at the very forefront of developing leadership and analytical skills that will be truly relevant in the business world going forward. We are truly happy to play our part in the education of future leaders that will possess the digital competence crucial to the competitiveness of our society and for customers,” adds Jørn Seglem, Managing Director for SAS Institute Norway.
Indeed, the Creating Analytics Program is not just a positive for BI and SAS but rather for the entire digital ecosystem in Norway. Through the program, master’s students at BI will be invited to participate in customized internship programs with SAS Institute’s clients and partners, enabling them to gain highly relevant work experience while simultaneously allowing the business community to get to know the next generation of analytics leaders – something crucial to the future success of the Norwegian economy.
It is a sentiment that truly resonates with BI’s Berhling-Hansen. “There is tremendous demand from employers for talent that unlocks the potential of new technologies – not to mention the perpetually growing mass of data out there. Through an internship in the “SAS ecosystem,” our students will be better prepared for the large transformation projects they will work with after they complete their studies,” he concludes.