School of Business Administration

Taking Charge: Business analytics certificate fuels new career direction

icon of a calendarMay 18, 2020

icon of a pencilBy Alice Rhein

Share this story

Taking Charge: Business analytics certificate fuels new career direction

Woman in a business suit sitting in a dark room with a screen of data behind her.
As a working professional, Michelle (Micki) Rhen found the business analytics graduate certificate the perfect way to expand her skill set.

An emerging interest in the intricacies of data combined with a desire to expand her skill set propelled Michelle (Micki) Rhen to Oakland’s Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics.

An electronic filing manager and a settlement distribution analyst at a law firm, Rhen was already balancing a full load of professional and personal commitments when she began exploring ways to ensure her skill set remained current.

“While I have taken on many different roles at the firm during the past years, my favorite roles have always involved data. Whether I am cleaning and analyzing data provided by other firms or writing complex queries to fill electronic claim filings, I am happiest when I am at the computer manipulating data,” says Rhen.

With law associates retiring and the firm downsizing, Rhen decided to focus on preparing for her next professional move instead of worrying about her long-term prospects at the law firm.

“Employers are looking for analysis, presentation, power Excel skills, VBA, R, Python and so much more,” says Rhen, who began the 15-credit business analytics graduate certificate program in 2018. “Oakland’s graduate certificate program delivers on the promise to expose you to what is hot in the market right now.”

As a working professional, Rhen found the OU business school graduate certificate program was the perfect way for her to expand into new areas and gain exposure to the current software and languages used in the industry. Taking one course at a time in the evenings, Rhen maintained her full-time career while balancing her commitments to her husband, two sons and nearby parents.

The quality of courses is exceptional, Rhen says, adding all her instructors have practical and applied experience and are passionate about the material they present.

“Some classes were pretty intense, especially (Associate Professor) Mark Isken’s Business Analytics, and Practical Computing for Data Analytics, but they were also my two favorite courses,” says Rhen, who waited until her oldest son, Jacob, graduated from high school before entering OU. By then, her younger son, Jackson, was in high school. As Rhen says now, “It’s fun to commiserate with your 16-year-old about homework.”

Admission to the Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics is selective, and OU required Rhen to take a refresher statistics class. She appreciates the requirement, since statistics is the foundation of the program. She says she was initially concerned about how her skills would hold up around traditional-aged college students.

“I found out I had nothing to worry about. I had so much fun collaborating with today’s college students and have learned that shared passion for common interests fuels an exciting learning environment,” says Rhen, who plans to pursue a Master’s in Science in Information Technology Management (MSITM) at OU after completing the certificate program. The credits she earned in OU’s certificate program will apply toward the OU MSITM.

“I can't wait to see where the combination of the skill set that I have developed over the years, along with new tools to analyze and visualize data acquired through the business analytics certificate program, will take me next.”

Share this story