Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) has a top notch Decision Analytics Program that furnishes Masters grads with competitive skills and experience to analyze and solve business questions. The program produces 30 top tier data scientists per year that are ready to tackle real-world company problems.

With all of this talent being bred in Richmond, why look elsewhere? Here are 9 reasons why VCU’s Analytics grads are a massive asset for Richmond businesses.

1. Companies look no further for analytics talent! Plenty of companies is headquartered in Richmond. As the trend of using data analytics to solve everyday business problems continues, companies have a talent pool of skilled and knowledgeable grads right here. You don’t need to move to NoVA/Raleigh to find analytics talent when it’s already here;

2. Inspired talent with experience. The caliber of talent is complemented by the fact that most VCU Analytics grads are already working in professional settings. VCU’s program acts as a kick-starter for their inspiration in looking at business problems through a data science lens. If any of your current employees are in this program, they are bound to come back to you with forward thinking solutions. The existing experience of students allows them to fit your business into the analytics world, and gives Richmond employers an experienced talent pool;

3. Tight-knit alumni. The nature and size of VCU’s program cohorts turn its grads into a closely linked network of experts. By working with a VCU grad, you are gaining access to the experience and expertise of other talented data scientists in their developed network. This also bodes well for finding future data science talent – if you have a VCU grad on your team, you essentially have a recruiter for future openings.

4. Program designed from an employer standpoint. The VCU program was designed by industry locals based on the growing need for new data scientists to join their teams. With such an employer-focused lens, you know grads are being trained in relevant skills needed in Richmond;

5. Smarter local businesses. Every year, new grads enter the market and take up positions in a variety of local companies and industries. These new employees constantly provide value and influence how Richmond uses data science to do better business, making our businesses smarter and more competitive;

6. The mid-sized business market needs data science. Tons of mid-sized companies have their headquarters or operations in Richmond. While small companies may not have the capacity to implement data projects, mid-size companies are perfectly positioned to enhance their data staff and implement usable data science projects;

7. Richmond’s successful software engineering community goes hand-in-hand with data science. Richmond boasts a strong and growing software engineering industry. As our tech engineers churn out custom software and tools, the amount of data at a company’s fingertips continues to increase. This sets the scene for achievable data analytics reinforced by our existing local market;

8. Local data governance trends need VCU grad’s expertise. Local companies like Data Blueprint, Impact Makers, and others have paved a path with their data governance initiatives that aim to use data, and not just organize it. VCU’s grads are carefully trained in how to use data to further business goals and are the perfect complement to the objective of this local trend;

9. Data scientists just fit in Richmond’s business scene. Richmond is big on entrepreneurship. This shows in its start-up community, Virginia Biotechnology Research Park, and networking scene. Data scientists are trained to think in an entrepreneurial sense, and automatically jive with Richmond’s business mentality. Not only do VCU grads enrich the expertise available in the scene, but they have an automatic opportunity to keep their finger on the local pulse, learn from others and bring it back to their employers.