Category Archives: Education

Best GIS Software Application of the Year

Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) includes a versatile range of tools and techniques for capturing, analyzing and leveraging spatial information. With each passing year, advances in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) reveal exciting possibilities for urban planning, retail, space exploration, and more. In 2020, experts make the most of these opportunities by staying up to date as new ways of optimizing and employing GIS technology emerge.

By implementing robust GIS software applications, professionals can capture and visualize valuable geospatial intelligence. That’s why it’s vital for GIST experts to possess the combination of theoretical knowledge and hands-on training that comes from attending a forward-looking professional GIS certification program online. Here are some of the ways GIS technology is used to meet complex challenges, including a preview of some of the fascinating changes ahead:

Open Source GIS Mapping Software Empowers Innovation

Open-source GIS mapping software gives users access to powerful tools for creating maps and adding elements such as text, images and video. Particularly in conjunction with initiatives such as OpenStreetMap or the Open Geospatial Data Project, these applications offer endless possibilities for collecting and visualizing spatial information and customizing maps. Users create projects to:

  • Highlight the demographics of a region
  • Trace the availability of natural resources over time
  • Chart crop growth and capture any evidence of disease
  • Demonstrate how changes in environmental conditions affect the preservation of a historical site

The flexibility to assemble maps for diverse purposes has a growing impact in daily life, influencing progress in smart city infrastructure. With extensive locational data, government agencies and private businesses can deliver services more efficiently and strategize sustainable development. Customized maps may be applied to augmented reality projects that provide workers with helpful details tied to a specific location.

Meanwhile, open-source mapping has a huge role in the burgeoning world of navigation systems and automated vehicles. When setting routes, these systems account for a widening range of factors, such as traffic conditions updated in real time and individual preferences. GIS is essential to improving performance in self-driving cars and guiding drivers to their destinations as quickly, comfortably and safely as possible.

Fresh Insights from Geospatial Analytics

The rise of big data and analytics has been one of the most significant shifts for businesses over recent years. Across industries, organizations are constantly seeking chances to turn an ever-increasing volume of data into a competitive edge, and many have found that GIST adds value to these efforts. Geospatial analytics applies geographic information to enable wiser decision-making and agile problem solving.

With GIS data, analytics specialists can create visualizations, identify meaningful trends and make predictions, generating reports that flesh out valuable context for strategy. Decision-makers gain increased visibility from synthesizing spatial information with findings from enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. They can clearly see how crucial data about their organizations is attached to specific times and places.

Geospatial analytics clarifies complicated relationships and points out ways to streamline processes. Businesses and government agencies can:

  • Make more informed choices about building or expanding facilities and stores
  • Track when devices and equipment with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors enter or leave a work area
  • Create apps for retail customers that enrich their in-store experiences (e.g. retail beacon technology)
  • Speed up logistics and reduce costs by running various routing scenarios
  • Find patterns of criminal activity within a region
  • Minimize risks from hazardous location-based events like powerful storms

Bringing Together GIS and Drones

Organizations and consumers employ unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for an ever-expanding list of applications, from entertainment to agriculture, often relying on navigation supported by GIS. For instance, experiments with making deliveries by drone have unlocked possibilities for getting food and other products to customers with unprecedented speed. Other companies are deploying the aircraft to collect information from IoT sensors that monitor industrial sites, hazardous travel conditions, volatile weather patterns or the wellbeing of crops and send real-time updates.

Meanwhile, drones also improve the information that is available for mapping and manipulation with GIS tools. A great deal of spatial data comes from satellite imagery and readings taken by manned aircraft, but drones are a cost-effective means of gathering extensive details on a smaller scale. UAVs thus have a major role to play in making geographic information more readily available for open-source mapping and customizable to fit the priorities of businesses, governments, independent researchers and hobbyists.

What’s Next for GIST?

For professionals with expertise in spatial technology and problem solving, the future looks rich in possibilities. In the years ahead, GIST will likely become an even more prevalent aspect of our daily lives, thanks in large part to the widespread adoption of smart technology and the IoT. As sensors capable of sharing spatial-temporal information appear everywhere from industrial equipment to coffeemakers, the volume of spatial data will grow exponentially.

Meanwhile, consumers and businesses will demand greater functionality and integration from spatial software applications. Ride sharing services and navigation apps have shown the public the power of apps that work with GPS and mapping platforms to give them real-time updates. These types of features could have growing uses for enterprises and governments as well when harnessed for purposes such as tracking assets and growing the reach of marketing campaigns.

The proliferation of spatial data and market for software means organizations will have a mounting need for professionals familiar with every layer of the GIS Technology stack. Data specialists will need to optimize their processes for collecting, cleaning and formatting spatial information. GIS software developers must also understand the full scope of the data resources they have available for creating spatial-powered apps to put that information to work.

USC Marshall School Of Business – Online MBA Ranked 5 In US News

LOS ANGELES—The USC Online MBA (OMBA) from the Marshall School of Business has been recognized yet again by U.S. News & World Report in 2020 as one of its top 5 Best Online MBA Programs. USC’s online MBA launched in 2015, and has quickly become one of the most competitive programs in the market. The OMBA program was also ranked among the top three online MBA programs by Poets & Quants, and #4 top online MBA programs by Princeton Review.

“The students’ interaction with their faculty and their classmates via weekly video conferences creates a valuable learning experience, as well as a strong sense of community,” said Patricia Hughes Mills, J.D., L.L.M., Vice Dean of Online Learning and Executive Education, Marshall School of Business.

“In addition to an on-campus week at the beginning of the program where students meet and work with their cohort and team members face-to-face, weekly synchronous video meetings enhance consistent student engagement throughout the program. Our award-winning production of online materials coupled with the ongoing interaction with faculty and classmates ensures that we deliver the highest quality Marshall Education.”

The U.S. News rankings are based on the following five categories:

  • Engagement (28 percent)
  • Student Excellence (25 percent)
  • Expert Opinion (25 percent)
  • Faculty Credentials and Training (11 percent)
  • Student Services and Technologies (11 percent)

USC’s comprehensive online MBA program was built with the future of business in mind. Each course in the OMBA program was designed by USC Marshall faculty members, specifically for online learners, with coursework that is relevant to current and aspiring business leaders.

“As an online MBA student you become a member of the Trojan family,” said Brittany Hawkins, Associate Director, Online MBA Program, Marshall School of Business. ”With over 300,000 alumni worldwide, your connection with USC does not cease upon graduation. Instead you are part of an even greater lifelong and worldwide community that can only enhance your future business relationship.”

The program also provides students with skills applicable to forward-thinking leaders and executives, like managing remote employees on long-distance teams, or utilizing entrepreneurial thinking to drive business growth. USC’s online MBA has been built to facilitate camaraderie and collaboration, enabling students to build meaningful, professional connections that extend beyond graduation.

USC Marshall School of Business alumni have found success in business ventures across the globe. The Trojan alumni network is 390K members strong, including 88K from USC Marshall, giving OMBA students access to an abundance of networking opportunities and other resources.

“The USC Marshall Online MBA program attracts accomplished working professionals who need online flexibility; we are impressed year after year by the quality of our students, their passion for business, their commitment to learning, and their diverse perspectives,” said Sandra Chrystal, Marshall vice dean for online education. “It is very gratifying to provide them with an advanced business education that is personalized, experiential, innovative, and rigorous.”

The OMBA, launched in 2015, has quickly risen to the top of an increasingly competitive online degree market. The number of business schools offering online MBA programs rose from 91 to 140 between 2012 and 2017, according to accreditation body AACSB International.

Marshall built its online MBA to take full advantage of the latest technological learning tools, providing students not only with an exceptionally engaging online learning experience, but also with practical skills in virtual communication and analytics. Program leaders consulted closely with business leaders to ensure the curriculum prepares students for the challenges ahead in an increasingly global and digitally driven business landscape.

Faculty members continually update coursework, introducing new knowledge, collaboration tools, and learning experiences. Students enjoy direct access to teachers and commonly form close bonds with their online classmates, beginning during their residential week and continuing throughout the program.

“Camaraderie has been a common theme since the program’s inception,” said Miriam Burgos, OMBA academic director and associate professor of clinical marketing. “Each student brings their own area of expertise to their cohort and leverages their strengths to help their fellow classmates succeed.”

Networking is another central component of the OMBA, and distance learners become full-fledged members of the Trojan Family, which is more than 412,000 members strong and includes 89,000 Marshall alumni in 90+ countries.

About the USC Marshall School of Business

USC Marshall is one of the premier business schools in the U.S. and internationally recognized as a home for path-breaking research that emphasizes entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership and social responsibility. The USC Online MBA from the Marshall School of Business is built to help students succeed in the digitally driven business landscape, providing a curriculum focused on the practical skills expected of today’s global leaders. Marshall brings undergraduate and graduate students a unique perspective on the world, including global opportunities for experiential learning. The vibrant and active Trojan alumni community includes more than 89,000 people in 92 countries.

Consistently ranked among the nation’s premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, leadership, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world’s leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities.

How Six Sigma Can Beneficial Finance & Accounting

The international financial environment is more interconnected than ever, with the effects of unstable or inconsistent monetary policies being felt far beyond a single organization. In today’s globalized economy, policy and operational problems in one country’s financial organizations can have severe economic consequences across the world.

As these ripple effects become more and more noticeable, the ability to critically analyze and improve processes across an organization is an increasingly valuable career skill. While management techniques like Lean Six Sigma (LSS) have roots in manufacturing, there are numerous applications for LSS in finance and accounting that can help to correct operational inefficiencies and minimize risk across an organization.

Benefits of Six Sigma in Finance and Accounting

Applying the principles of Lean Six Sigma in finance and accounting can create competitive advantages for organizations in nearly every industry.

The case studies highlighted below offer a detailed look into how these methodologies and tools can be used to do more than streamline operations—they can also improve organization-wide culture.

Examples of Six Sigma in Finance and Accounting

Error Reduction

Lean Six Sigma allows for more focused and efficient operations in departments that are not entirely focused on manufacturing. One particular case study that focused on billing reconciliation found that billing errors resulted in customer accounts being charged less than the amount due approximately 60% of the time. After implementing LSS, however, the organization nearly eliminated this issue completely.

Problem Identification

One of the strengths of LSS is that it uses quantitative methods to identify key points of impact (KPI). Once efficiency issues within these KPIs have been identified, LSS can be used to discreetly and specifically tackle those problems.

One of the essential tools in LSS for identifying KPIs and any associated issues is the process map. By defining the boundaries and needs of the current process, professionals can identify issues with existing procedures and use these findings to improve them or remove processes that aren’t generating value.

This is a key element of LSS and is referred to as the “DMAIC” or Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control methodology. Pairing DMAIC with these LSS strategies offers a powerful way to objectively analyze and improve operations within an organization.

When applying Lean Six Sigma in accounting, for example, the Accounts Payable department is a key area of opportunity. Imagine a company needs to process a higher volume of invoices. They can use LSS to define the guidelines for successfully processing a completed invoice, measure the current success rate based on those guidelines and analyze the data gathered to identify where and how waste is occuring. The results may show that while the invoices are completed in a timely manner, the wait time for managers to approve payments is too long. Once a bottleneck has been identified, the approval process can be improved to control the future success of the process.

For a similar application of Lean Six Sigma in finance, the processes associated with loans are key opportunities. For example, a bank that wants to streamline its credit processing operations can start by tracking every loan it processes for three months. The important factors to consider for this exercise are the time and effort required to fully process credit.

High variance in the amount of time it takes to complete these tasks is a sign that efficiency improvements can be made. From there, LSS can be used to build a process map that identifies all the steps, as well as the relationships between them. Common areas for improvement related to loan processing include reducing the amount of manually processed data and standardizing how loan applicant data is collected and stored.

Continuous Improvement

Lean Six Sigma is designed to be a continuous improvement system, so training in LSS continues to be useful well past its initial introduction. By implementing the DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify) process, organizations are able to apply it to the creation of new workflows and processes in addition to improving existing ones.

While the initial application of the methodology often focuses directly on specific product and process improvements, companies such as Capital One have found that applying lean six sigma in banking yields results that go far beyond their day-to-day work.

Studies that have looked at the long-term effects of applying Lean Six Sigma in large companies have found improvements across many areas of business. For example, throughout Capital One’s restructuring, one study identified the following LSS-driven benefits:

  • Reduction in the rate of keying-in errors
  • Increase in customer satisfaction
  • Greater employee buy-in for LSS tools such as DMAIC

The Key to Successfully Using Lean Six Sigma in Finance

While Lean Six Sigma offers a powerful framework for improvement, effectively leveraging tools like process mapping often requires a culture shift in the organizations that adopt them. One of the key traits of successfully leveraging Lean Six Sigma in finance and accounting is the ability to step back and look at existing processes objectively to recognize that, even if a process has existed for decades, it may not be the most efficient way of doing things.

Another key element to success is recognizing how internal department processes may impact other stakeholders throughout and outside of an organization. For example, inefficiencies in processing invoices could make it more difficult for other departments to work with external vendors.

For processes with far-reaching ripple effects, like those in finance and accounting, it is helpful to have a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification professional to lead the project. This can ensure that key stakeholders are aligned toward a common goal and that teams can effectively manage the complexity of large-scale or company-wide process change.

Career Benefits of Learning Lean Six Sigma

As research has shown, the application of six sigma in finance provides benefits when managing existing processes as well as when pursuing innovation. The methodology has expanded far outside of the manufacturing sector and is now used across virtually every industry.

Developing expertise in six sigma for both finance and accounting environments can help aspiring or current managers take their careers to the next level. PayScale shows the average salary for a Continuous Improvement Manager with a Black Belt Lean Six Sigma Certification is more than $93,000, compared to a salary of less than $83,000 for that role overall.

About Purdue’s Online Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Certificate Program

Purdue University offers comprehensive online Lean Six Sigma (LSS) certificate programs designed for working professionals with varying levels of Lean Six Sigma experience. The online Lean Six Sigma certificate courses prepare professionals to satisfy the immense demand for Lean expertise, skills and certification.

Purdue offers the following courses 100% online:

  • Lean Six Sigma Green Belt
  • Lean Principles
  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
  • Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Refresher

Factors to Consider While Joining MBA Programs

Is Earning an MBA Worth It?

Earning an MBA remains one of the most direct ways to advance a business career. From increased earning potential to networking opportunities offered by class cohorts and alumni networks, the value of an MBA in today’s business market is well-documented.

MBA Return on Investment (ROI)

A 2016 study by the Graduate Management Admission Council reports that professionals who hold a graduate degree in business earn from $500,000 to $1 million more over a 20-year career than do their colleagues without MBAs or advanced business degrees.

Nevertheless, some people may ask: With the proliferation of both MBA programs and MBA degree holders, is an MBA still worth it in 2017? Reputation matters, according to U.S. News & World Report. Though employers may no longer view an MBA as a distinguishing factor, they recognize that a top-tier MBA program provides an up-to-date and relevant curriculum that prepares students for today’s business challenges.

Career Paths and Opportunities Available to MBA Graduates

There are many high-demand positions and no prescribed career paths for MBA graduates. Since having an MBA can help set the stage for advancement into a management position for professionals from accountants to engineers, career opportunities for an MBA graduate are highly diverse and dynamic.

What Kind of MBA Program is Right for Me?

The most pressing question for people considering an MBA may be: What’s the best way for me to earn one? Today, there are a variety of programs and formats from which to choose, which helps prospective students determine how to maximize their return on investment on an MBA and find the optimal fit.

Part-time MBA

Part-time MBA programs are a good option for students who must continue working or balance multiple obligations. Since part-time students enroll in fewer courses than do full-time students, they may spend just a few hours each week in the classroom. Part-time programs offer more flexibility than full-time programs but take longer to finish, typically three years.

Full-time MBA

Top schools commonly design their full-time MBA programs to be immersive educational experiences that demand a significant time commitment each week. Most students take a full course load, making it difficult to simultaneously hold a full-time job. These MBA programs often are the fastest track to earning an MBA.

Executive MBA

These programs are geared to professionals with more than 10 years of experience, who are looking to move into executive leadership positions. Executive MBA (EMBA) programs focus on the challenges of high-level administration for an entire organization and usually offer few or no opportunities for specialization. Students in these programs may be given the opportunity to complete a portion of the coursework online.

Online MBA

Earning an MBA online provides students with both flexibility and an opportunity to earn their MBA in less time than it typically takes to complete a part-time MBA program. Advances in online learning and virtual collaboration technology enable schools to provide students with an engaging, interactive, state-of-the-art online learning experience. In programs that employ a cohort model, this technology can pave the way for seamless collaboration with classmates from all over the country and the world.

Choosing an Online MBA Program

Beyond Quantifiable Benefits

Numbers aside, there are distinct advantages with financial implications to obtaining an online MBA at USC Marshall, beginning with the quality of our education and reputation. Additionally, the online format empowers individuals to pursue an intensive, comprehensive business education without giving up their current positions and salaries or incurring the expenses and disruptions of relocation.

Why Choose USC Marshall?

The USC Online MBA (OMBA) from the Marshall School of Business is an innovative program that capitalizes on the potential of the online format and welcomes students into the greater Trojan Family that is more than 380,000 members strong. The OMBA holds a top 5 percent ranking from U.S. News & World Report, tying for 12th place overall and earning 2nd place for selectivity among more than 250 participants in the 2017 Best Online MBA Programs ranking.

Benefit from a curriculum developed specifically for online delivery

The USC Online MBA program takes advantage of a full range of media and technological learning tools to give online students a distinctive educational experience. Every course is designed top-to-bottom specifically for an online learning format and led by several members of the Marshall faculty. Interactive lectures, faculty-led discussion modules, and the latest virtual collaboration technology provide an engaging experience to students, wherever they live or study. Though the curricula for the online and on-campus MBA programs are different, USC confers the same MBA degree to graduates of both programs.

Connect with your cohort

Students benefit from a cohort format that offers numerous opportunities to connect with classmates from a diverse array of professional backgrounds. The program begins with a best-in-class residential week on-campus in Los Angeles, during which students form strong bonds with program faculty and each other. This experience sets the stage for successful, collaborative online learning throughout the program, as well as lifelong friendships.

Learn from leaders

Courses are designed and taught by the same innovators and bold thinkers who teach our on-campus programs. Students easily interact and connect with faculty members through online collaboration and discussion tools. They also can schedule one-on-one faculty sessions via webcam.

Complete real-world business cases

Students develop strong problem-solving skills by engaging in contemporary, practical exercises and timely real-word discussions. The integrated MBA curriculum also provides a holistic understanding of how organizations work. Graduates exit the program with an e-portfolio highlighting the work they have completed as a student—a valuable resource for future professional opportunities.

Gain in-demand skills

Students acquire skills that are expected of global leaders in today’s digitally driven business landscape and can give them an edge in a competitive job market. These skills include:

  • Thinking like an entrepreneur to drive business growth
  • Communicating with international team members and external stakeholders
  • Interpreting and acting on digital analytics and metrics
  • Managing remote employees and other long-distance teams
  • Developing a global perspective
  • Using social media to strengthen brands

About the USC Marshall School of Business

USC Marshall is one of the premier business schools in the U.S. and internationally recognized as a home for path-breaking research that emphasizes entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership and social responsibility.

The USC Online MBA from the Marshall School of Business is built to help students succeed in the digitally driven business landscape, providing a curriculum focused on the practical skills expected of today’s global leaders. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Marshall brings undergraduate and graduate students a unique perspective on the world, including global opportunities for experiential learning. The vibrant and active Trojan alumni community includes more than 89,000 people in 92 countries.

Call (877) 779-6643, In order know more about this program and to get benefit.