Skip to main content

Microsoft, an internet pioneer, turns to Kelley, an innovator in online business education

New dual certificate program addresses a global skills gap and a need for data professionals

Jun 21, 2017
Keith Boyd and Eric Kinser
Keith Boyd, left, director of business programs, Microsoft Learning & Readiness; and Eric Kinser, senior lecturer in the IU School of Business, explained the certificate program at the Microsoft Academic Conference for Higher Education on June 19 in Redmond, Washington.

This week, Microsoft – a pioneer in information technology – announced that it has turned to Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business – a pioneer in online business education – to create a new dual certificate program in cloud-based analytics.

The program will provide graduates with job-ready skills needed to participate in the digital transformation occurring across industries and companies worldwide.

Microsoft already offers training and certification to IT professionals and developers using both technology from Microsoft and from the open-source community, but the company was looking for a way to attain a deeper understanding of its uses within business settings.

The new yearlong, 12-credit-hour certificate program will be integrated with the Microsoft Professional Program’s current curriculum for data science.

With a proven ability to teach well online and create successful specialized programs for Fortune 500 companies, Microsoft saw Kelley as a “progressive” strategic partner, said Chris Roy, Microsoft’s senior director of channels, engines and product strategy in the Learning & Readiness team.

Woman typing on computer laptop
Kelley School students will also have the option of transferring credits into other online degree programs, including Kelley Direct, Kelley’s top-ranked online MBA program.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Microsoft and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business are collaborating on a new dual certificate program in cloud-based analytics. The unique program is designed to provide graduates with job-ready skills needed to participate in the digital transformation occurring across industries and companies worldwide.

The Kelley School of Business has created a yearlong, 12-credit-hour certificate program in cloud-based data analytics that uses Microsoft Professional Program’s curriculum for data science.

Upon completion of the online program, students will receive a certificate from the Kelley School and be prepared to successfully complete the data science track of the Microsoft Professional Program.

Kelley School students will also have the option of transferring credits into other online degree programs, including Kelley Direct, Kelley’s top-ranked online MBA program, and master’s degrees in business analytics and IT management.

The announcement was made June 19 as part of the Microsoft Academic Conference for Higher Education in Redmond, Washington.

Chris Roy, Microsoft’s senior director of worldwide go-to-market and product strategy, said the unique approach will couple Kelley’s experience in delivering online and blended learning with Microsoft’s quality skills program and robust platform.

“This is an exciting opportunity to partner with Indiana University, a category leader in high-quality, blended learning, who will provide a challenging and focused curriculum that will better equip students entering the workforce,” Roy said. “The leaders at the Kelley School of Business share our goal of addressing the current skills gap in the global economy with new and unique approaches.”

Cloud-based computing architects and developers are in high demand as companies in a variety of industries see how digital transformation can lower costs, increase the speed of taking products to market and bolster productivity. This new certificate is expected to enable graduates to increase their value to their employers and in the market.

Kelley School leaders share Microsoft’s enthusiasm for delivering a high-quality, blended learning experience to best equip students with job-ready skills.

“We are thrilled by this opportunity to collaborate with Microsoft,” said Idalene “Idie” Kesner, dean of the Kelley School and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management. “We look forward to working with our colleagues at Microsoft to generate real career momentum for students increasing their value with a certificate in cloud-based analytics.”

In addition to learning the tools and technologies associated with the Microsoft Azure platform, students in the certificate program will receive a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts and learn how to apply concepts in a business setting. They’ll also get a thorough grounding in open-source technologies used in cloud-based analytics like Apache Hadoop, R and Apache Spark.

Kelley has been an innovator in online education for nearly 20 years, offering top-ranked degrees that help professionals worldwide to accelerate their careers. They include a general MBA, seven Master of Science degrees, five certificates and 15 customized partnership programs.

In January, U.S. News & World Report ranked the school’s online Master of Science degree programs No. 1 – including its master’s in business analytics – and ranked its online MBA third. Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Kelley No. 1 in student satisfaction earlier this year.

“With technical skills requirements in the modern workplace constantly evolving and growing, we are delighted to support this model collaboration with Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business to help prepare graduates with leading-edge data science career knowledge and hands-on skills for their futures,” said Anthony Salcito, vice president of Microsoft Worldwide Education.

“You don’t get a lot of industries partnering at this level with academic institutions,” Roy said. “Part of our reason for reaching out to the Kelley School was because it is the top online school out there. They’ve been at this for 20 years. We’ve had many opportunities to talk with senior leaders and the Department of Education, and with this joint partnership between academic and industry, we think you are kind of on the cutting edge.”

Talks between the company and school came to fruition Monday, when the dual certificate program was announced at the Microsoft Academic Conference for Higher Education at the tech giant’s headquarters.

Richard Magjuka, who chairs both the school’s Kelley Executive Partners and Executive Degree programs, said the Microsoft partnership is a natural progression from the school’s other efforts to deliver business education online. He helped create Kelley Direct, which in 1999 became the first fully online MBA program offered by a nationally ranked business school.

“I’ve been at this business for 20 years and I have developed partnerships with many companies, but this was the first time that a corporate partner recognized our skills in teaching online as an important factor,” Magjuka said. “They would always say, ‘It’s a really good degree from a top university’ … but it turns out that with 20 years of practice – like everything else – our faculty are getting really good at teaching online.”

Today, more than 2,000 students are served by Kelley’s online programs, which also include seven respected Master of Science degrees, five certificates and 15 customized partnership programs. Kelley also developed specialized programs for other companies, including Cummins, General Motors, John Deere, United Technologies and Ingersoll-Rand.

Kelley is well known for its teaching, and its professors are ranked No. 1 by the Princeton Review. Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Kelley first in terms of student satisfaction.

Roy praised the Kelley School’s ability to deliver an enriching curriculum in a way that enables learners to quickly become practitioners, to apply course skills immediately in their daily work lives. He was equally effusive about the school’s responsiveness to helping Microsoft solve a crucial issue.

“Lots of schools we can talk to for two years and not have an action plan,” he said. “Look at how fast we turned this around, and it’s because you’re a progressive, innovative school that has that deep, long history of online innovation. For us, that was key.

“This global skills gap and the need for data professionals is growing on a regular basis. We can’t afford to wait two years while we convince them about the merits of the online model and go through curriculum approval processes. Technology changes too quickly,” he added.

Roy said Microsoft has spent the past 25 years building content around its products, “and that used to be good enough.” People could get certification from a major vendor and get a job. He said the company realizes that it needs to play more of a role in helping its users find career success.

“The job roles that are being created because of technology like Microsoft’s are constantly changing,” he said. “We’ll be inventing new job roles in the next couple of years as the technology is continuing to evolve.’

He said Microsoft wants to bring users’ validation of understanding of tools such as Azure closer together with real-world application and concepts, through the courses taught in the Kelley-Microsoft dual certificate, “so it stays with you.”

Magjuka, who is also the Fred G. Steingraber Chair in Distributed Education, said he and his faculty peers have accepted the company’s challenge to develop students into business people “who have this magnificent skill set to accomplish bigger and better things for their companies once they complete the program.”

“The certificate has its own value, and we expect that many students will stop there and it will be all that they need to further their careers,” Magjuka said. “On the other hand, there are two different degrees that the certificate prepares students for, should they wish to develop even greater expertise in applying cloud-based analytics to business issues.”

Students will have the option of transferring credits into other online degree programs, including Kelley Direct and master’s degrees in business analytics and IT management. Tuition for the dual certificate program in cloud-based analytics is $1,200 per credit hour for a total cost of $14,000.

Media Contact

More stories

News at IU