Consumer analytics track offers entry into growing job field

July 7th, 2015 Author: Ivy Odom  |  229-891-4434  |  More about Ivy
Contact: Sheri Worthy  |  706-542-4877  | More about Sheri

FACS now offers a consumer analytics track for students interested in jobs working with big data in government, industry, e-commerce, social networks, health care delivery and non-profit organizations.

Through this track within the department of financial planning, housing and consumer economics, students will learn skills such as gathering and analyzing data about consumers, policies and market conditions using appropriate methods and statistical software.

Students will also learn to convert complex data and findings into understandable tables, graphs and written reports, prepare and present these results to clients and stakeholders and understand and apply tools of microeconomic policy analysis. 

These skills will provide students with the knowledge they need to become consumer analysts, being able to gather, analyze and transform data into practical information that will provide insight into consumer issues and enhance consumer well-being.

Most consumer analysts need at least a bachelor’s degree; top research positions often require a graduate degree.

“There is strong demand in the market for people who can make sense of the massive amounts of data collected by companies, government and non-profits,” FHCE faculty member Dr. Robert Nielsen said. “In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth to be three-times average in the next decade.”  

For students interested in top research positions, the FHCE department offers an accelerated master’s program for undergraduates with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

After being accepted into a graduate program, students are able to work on their M.S. while simultaneously completing their B.S. The accelerated program can take just one additional year beyond completing a B.S., and offers three different concentrations: consumer economics, financial planning and housing.

“The accelerated masters program allowed me to get the most out of my time at UGA,” said Kevin Valentino, the first graduate of the BS/MS program. “The professors in FACS were extremely helpful and accommodating as I balanced two programs. The experience and knowledge I gained from this program has opened many doors for me to start my career.”

The FHCE accelerated master’s program is popular among students pursuing the applied consumer analytics track because of the advantage it gives them in the job market. 

Consumer analyst positions are currently in very high demand, with some starting salaries in the low 70s, according to recent FACS graduates Win Blair, who now works as a marketing research analyst for Southern Company in Atlanta.

“The consumer analytics track is what got me my job, hands down,” said Jenny Andry, a  2015 consumer economics graduate who now works for Cardlytics in Atlanta. “I took Dr. Nielsen’s two-part Research Methods classes where we used statistical software programs like SPSS and SAS. The exposure I had to SAS was my selling point when applying for positions as an analyst.”

“It’s uncommon for new graduates to have experience with the software used by consumer analysts so our students are well-positioned to enter this growing market,” Nielsen added. “Having a M.S. that includes an internship makes graduates even stronger candidates for the best analytics careers.”

For more information on the track, click here.

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Tags: consumer analytics

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