Master of Science in Data Science for Business

Humans needed behind the machines

Is human intelligence threatened by digital intelligence? Or will human thinking power be required in the future?

"There's a lot of talk about machines and artificial intelligence taking over the world, but I think it's the combination of humans and machines that really makes things happen."

Jo Saakvitne

Lead Data Scientist at Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

In addition to his job in the consulting company BCG, he is also an advisor for BI Norwegian Business School's master programme in Data Science for Business. In other words: Few know computers better than Saakvitne. And he's not afraid they're going to take over the world. "There's always going to be a need for human intelligence," he says.  

Need for something real 

He believes that even though technology moves faster than its own shadow, it still works best with thinking people. "We see it time and time again in the work we do. We can develop an algorithm that works well under the situation we programme it into, but the world is not programmed. Suddenly, something arises that completely turns the situation upside down, and then something real is needed that can intervene."

He cites the current topic of artificial intelligence (AI) as a good example. "It shows the importance of combining data science with a broader understanding of strategy, organisation and competitive conditions. Many see great potential in AI, but also ask themselves questions about how they can use it."

He points to a study conducted by BCG in collaboration with Harvard University. It showed that 90% of participants did a faster and better job when using GenAI for creative and innovative tasks, compared to those who did it without support. However, for tasks related to commercial problem solving, the quality was noticeably poorer when using ChatGPT than if the task was solved completely independently.  

"This shows that as with any other technology, there are great opportunities – but also limitations and risks. To understand the difference, we need subject matter experts who are able to lift their gaze!"

Jo Saakvitne

Lead Data Scientist at Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

With the evolution we are facing, it is more important than ever to educate people who understand machines. Job market demand in the field of computer science is steadily increasing. 

High demand 

Student Augusta Alfnes (24) understands that the education is appealing. She is in the second year of the master programme in Data Science for Business at BI.Aususta Alfnes "I've noticed that the expertise we gain here is very interesting for many companies. The mix of understanding business and technology is important for the future," says the 24-year-old.  She herself was actively looking for just this combination, but found no good study programmes for this in Norway. That was before BI's Data Science for Business appeared. "It's exactly this combination of subjects I was looking for, so I jumped on as fast as I could."

Alfnes has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from NHH and Informatics courses from the University of Oslo before starting her master's degree at BI last autumn. 

Tailor-made subjects

“It is a focused and customised plan. All subjects feel relevant to the education. We build up technical knowledge, but also learn to speak the language of business.” This language is quite an important key when students are going out in an international labour market.

Saakvitne has also emphasized this when he was advising BI in the planning phase of the master programme. BI has put a lot of focus on making the study programme as international as possible. The language of study is English, and there are good opportunities for exchange. “There is no problem sitting in Oslo and working for a company in Silicon Valley. That was one piece of advice I took to BI: to organise the programme so that students who are educated can work all over the world” says Saakvitne.

Like building with Legos 

For Saakvitne himself, his interest in the subject came early. Coding and technology were hobbies from his adolescence while growing up in Bergen. "It's a bit like building with Legos, except that you can make your own Lego bricks and use them to create any structure. It's really only creativity that sets the limits.”Jo Saakvitne

He describes it as an intellectually creative process. And even though he has now built up a generous competence with two master's degrees and a PhD from BI since then, he can still have working days where he recognizes the childish joy of programming. "If I have time to spare, I like to spend hours building blocks and letting my creativity flow. It's one of the most fun things I know.”

Higher demands on technology

Technology is all around us in everything we do, whether we open our mobile with facial recognition or have finished watching a series on a streaming service and get suggestions for a new one. "The technology around us may become smarter, but in line with that we place higher demands on technology.” And that is precisely why we need more people who are educated in data science and who can contribute to further development. 

MSc in Data Science for Business

This programme is designed to give you advanced expertise in the data science field combined with a broad business understanding. Get the knowledge and skills needed to create business value from data and pursue a career in data-driven organisations.