Why Women Are the X-Factor in the New Working Environment

New ways of working and leading are desired in today’s business environment.  In order to succeed in that system, organizations will need two fundamental sets of skills. The first being digital skills for which many organizations are actively hiring software developers, data scientists and analysts, experienced designers, and people with critical digital skills. The second skill set, however—is just as important: human-centred skills in areas such as communication, collaboration, motivation, emotional intelligence, creativity, and imagination.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, its economic disruption and uncertainty, has only underscored the need for these skills. Over the next decade, these leadership skills will become must-haves as traditional, top-down approaches decline in the face of fast, highly collaborative, agile organizations. Nonetheless, today’s leaders will have to navigate uncertainty and comprehend the needs and challenges of various stakeholders in the ever-changing scenarios. Leaders must be empathetic and able to encourage others, inspire teams, develop relationships, and learn with humility, in a business world with increasingly differentiated, multi-functional teams that operate independently.

A NEW LEADERSHIP MODEL

While algorithms can perform standardised processes and make straightforward decisions much faster, cheaper, and more accurately than humans, other skills – which only humans can leverage, such as empathy, imagination, and judgment—are essential for complex problem-solving.

That’s why, in today’s agile organisations, leaders don’t just issue orders based on their own expertise or experience instead, they identify a problem and then support autonomous teams that do the actual work of solving that problem. Such leadership necessitates a level of vulnerability, such as someone who encourages and supports people who have better knowledge about a given subject than their superiors and are more likely to find a solution. 

Then, the question arises – How can women leaders contribute to this change? Something that many people already know – women tend to be highly empathetic, with strong emotional intelligence, active listeners who solicit ideas, collaborate, share credit, and change course when necessary. It has also been observed that when there are more women on a team, the collective intelligence of the groups tend to increase. Moreover, gender-balanced teams are how diverse leadership teams boost innovation than their competitors, and perform better. While empathy and relationship-building skills appear to be uncommon among leadership candidates, most organisations will find them in their own untapped pools of women employees and managers.

GROWING EVIDENCE OF WOMEN’S ABILITY TO LEAD IN THE NEW WAYS

Empirical evidence suggests that many of the essential leadership qualities are more likely to be displayed by women.  For example, a recent study published in Harvard Business Review found that women in leadership roles were ranked higher than men in a variety of key competencies, such as encouraging and motivating others, building partnerships, cooperation, and teamwork.

When looking at more granular skills, researchers from a German university discovered that women, in general, can accurately decipher emotions from people’s faces. Another research discovered that women are better at reading body language than men. According to a third study, men detect subtle signs of emotion like depression just around 40% of the time, while women can notice them 90% of the time. Furthermore, a study published in the journal Science found that having more women on a team improved the collective knowledge of the groups. Rather than attempting to dominate a conversation or a task, women are more likely to consider others, elicit feedback, listen actively, and take turns contributing. As a result, women-centric organizations have become more collaborative and better able to tap into the potential.

For organizations that understand the need to work and lead in new ways, and the imperative of diversity, the message is clear: workplaces need to identify people with these skills and put them in leadership roles. That was true even before COVID-19, but the pandemic has emphasised the relevance of empathetic, collaborative leadership. Companies that wish to reap the benefits of these leadership skills must increase their efforts to recruit, retain, and encourage women.

About the Author:

Payal Singh, a Production Engineer by qualification is currently pursuing MBA (Analytics) from IIM Kashipur.  She is a part of  Team Insite- Admission Support Body at the prestigious institution. You can connect with her on Linkedin.

Scope of MBA in Business Analytics – IIM Kashipur

Analytics is a booming field right now and there is a heavy demand for analytics professionals. An MBA in Business Analytics will give you an overall understanding of how the analytics industry works as well as what role you would be required to perform. You may want to tap into this challenging and demanding field if you have an analytical mindset or an interest in statistics. The multidisciplinary MBA in Business Analytics covers technical, corporate, management, leadership, and communication training as well as business-analytical qualifications.

The MBA (Analytics) program at IIM Kashipur is a two-year full-time residential program which aims to prepare managers and future leaders who will shape the increasingly technology-oriented and data-driven world. It focuses on grooming its students to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes for leadership profiles so that they can seamlessly navigate the ever-changing business landscape. The primary objective of the institute is to nurture the students through a balanced mix of academics, industry exposure and co-curricular activities. Here is an overview of why and what all parameters one must consider before giving a thought of pursuing MBA in Analytics.

What to Learn?

An MBA trains business leader, including managers, and your primary area of education in business and management. Your MBA program, including “hard” and “soft” business skills, gives you a strong understanding of business fundamentals. This is taught in a fixed sequence of necessary courses or “core courses.” Some of the classes you may encounter as part of your MBA core include:

· Accounting

· Finance

· Marketing

· Ethics

· Operations

· Macroeconomics

· International Business

· Microeconomics

· Human Resources

· Leadership

Your concentration on business analytics will delve into specific business analytics and data expertise and also teach you to understand business issues via a data-driven lens. The most advanced business analysis tools, case studies, and projects, including real-world data, allow you to practice practically. Some of the classes you may see offered as part of a business analytics MBA concentration include:

· Spreadsheet Modelling

· Accounting Analytics

· Marketing Analytics

· Financial Analytics

· Business Statistics

· Applied Regression

· Principles of Management Science

· Data Mining

· Forecasting and Modelling

· Business Computing

Data science vs Business Analytics are separate disciplines, which are quite often  used interchangeably. A layman may not be so concerned with this interchangeability, but professionals have to use the words appropriately, since they have a broad and immediate effect on the company.

Is Business Analytics and Data Science the same?

A Business Analyst’s job includes researching and extracting useful information to clarify business performance (present and future) from data sources. The correct plan to develop the organization is often decided by a Business Analyst. Whereas, Data scientists gather, analyze, and interpret broad data sets and use their analytical, mathematical, and programming skills to decipher valuable insights for solving difficult business problems. The three major factors that differentiate business analysts from data scientists are overall responsibilities, skill sets, and user interaction.

  • Overall responsibilities: The functional requirements that inform IT system design is provided by business analysts. On the other hand data scientists derive significance from the data generated and processed by such systems. Data scientists may also simplify the activities of the company analyst and be able to provide some of the market insights. Taking monetary benefits into consideration business analysts are slightly paid more than data analysts.
  • Skill Sets: Business analysts need data science expertise as well as skills related to communication, critical thinking, negotiation, and management. Whereas, data analysts need similar skills with a more in-depth emphasis on technological data manipulation.
  • User interaction: Business analysts also have more direct contact with system users, clients, system developers, and others as project facilitators and managers than data analysts do. That’s because market analysts will also interview individuals and learn more about how to enhance technology to help business processes. During the course of a single project, they work collaboratively with others. While data analysts can initially collaborate to define important data sets with internal subject matter experts, the majority of their work is performed independently.

Considering business analytics and data science domain, the former attracts the target base more owing to its business coherence and state of the art application-related job role. Apart from these there are few more benefits of pursuing business analytics which are as follows:

  • More informed decision making: Business analytics can be a valuable resource when approaching a substantial strategic decision. For example, when the company needs to analyze its product line update, business analytics can be applied to determine whether the updated product has resulted in faster service, more precise recommendations for resolution, and higher scores of customer satisfaction are achieved.
  • Improved operational efficiency: Analytics, beyond financial benefits, can be used to fine-tune company processes. Business analytics can be used to forecast business operations and assist the company by more effectively timing maintenance, enabling it not only to save operating costs, but also to ensure that it maintains assets at optimum levels of performance.

Is Business analytics a good career option?   

As digitization has become a buzz in recent times with technology and data being utilized from local grocery shops to well-sophisticated malls, the demand for business analysts also has increased significantly. Moreover, as per the statistics, for every hour, terabytes of data are generated by 6 billion connected devices. With this increasing demand, there is an insufficient supply of professionals.

From the above-mentioned courses offered by MBA institutes, one can get the knowledge of the following skills: Python, SQL databases, and R, Survey/query software, Business intelligence, and reporting software, Data visualization, Database design, Problem-solving skills, Effective Communication, Creative Thinking and Industry Knowledge. These help them to be the best fit for diversified job roles, which include data analyst, supply chain analyst, big data analyst, business analyst, marketing analyst, finance analyst, HR analyst, etc. The increasing demand for MBAs with analytical skills has made Business Analytics a relatively new and popular specialization in the management domain.

What is a Business Analytics MBA Job Market?

There is a shortfall of 1.5 million analysts, according to a report by the McKinsey World Institute. With an MBA in Business Analytics, you are eligible for a large range of careers, including popular C-suite jobs. This is because MBA graduates are qualified to hold leadership positions in a number of business environments. In all types of businesses, health industry marketing, supply chain management, data-driven decision-making is increasingly in demand. Based on their domain knowledge, skills and work experience, companies typically offer these job roles to candidates. The high demand for professionals with an MBA in Business Analytics is generated by MNCs, retail and manufacturing companies, IT companies, e-commerce companies, consultancies, telecommunications companies and business analytics and intelligence companies. MBAs are hired not only by MNCs but even by startups. As an MBA is primarily a business degree in Business Analytics, you will not be looking at data science work. You’ll be eligible for data-driven positioning instead. You will also have the advantage of competing with a background in analytics for more general positions in business management.

To conclude, the MBA in Business Analytics is an upcoming field of expertise in all sectors of the industry that is gaining increasing traction. The specialization demonstrates a positive and promising outlook, and you can go ahead and begin your MBA journey in Business Analytics for those of you who have long been skeptical about choosing this career path!

Deshmaa RT and Sakshi Poddar

MBA (Analytics) 2020-22

Indian Institute of Management Kashipur