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SHU Graduates First Cohort in SAS Joint Certificate Program in Digital Media

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Sacred Heart University has announced the first cohort of students to complete the SAS® joint certificate program in digital marketing. To earn their certificates, students took on additional specialized courses and a capstone project as an extension of the University’s master’s in digital marketing program at the Welch College of Business & Technology. 

SAS, a multinational software developer based in Cary, NC, develops and markets analytic software that helps users access, manage, analyze and report on data to aid decision-making. The company has collaborated with colleges and universities around the world to launch more than 300 joint programs. With more than 83,000 SAS customer sites worldwide, people with SAS skills are in high demand.

Sacred Heart’s master’s in digital marketing prepares students for successful careers, with courses that cover digital marketing, social media marketing, digital advertising, marketing analytics and big data marketing, said Jose Mendoza, program director and assistant professor.

“This is a natural outgrowth of SHU’s focus on science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM),” said Mendoza. “We’re combining advanced topics such as artificial intelligence marketing and big data marketing with cutting-edge tools such as those offered by SAS. The SAS joint certificate in digital marketing reinforces the strength, quality and relevance of our master’s program in digital marketing and sets graduates on a path to successful and financially rewarding careers.”

According to Mendoza, digital marketing remains an essential skillset for those wanting to become professional marketers. Today’s marketing managers who earn higher-than-average pay use analytics to clarify and amplify digital marketing efforts, helping them properly interpret consumer behavior and other data. Industry projections anticipate that growth in this field will top 19 percent through 2024, he said.

The students’ capstone projects addressed marketing challenges using real data and digital software tools included in the SAS suite. For student Ayman Abedelmawla, that project plus the extra courses were well worth his efforts.

“Studying advanced analytics helped me better understand strategic marketing strategies and tactics,” Abedelmawla said. “I already had a B.S. in general management, IS and strategic marketing, and an MBA, but I was drawn to this program for its real-world applications and opportunity for hands-on, practical experience. Specifically, it strengthened my ability to locate and use data far more effectively.”

For his capstone project, he created a predictive model for gauging sentimentality of customer reviews on Yelp. He used SAS® Enterprise Miner™ for research and practice.

Lauren Delgadillo, who serves as a graduate assistant in SHU’s international admissions office, completed her capstone project using predictive analytics with data from the 2019 World Series to forecast winners. She echoed Abedelmawla’s sentiments about the program’s value. 

“Many companies are requiring a knowledge of SAS as part of their hiring criteria,” observed Delgadillo. “SAS has been a truly defining skillset for me, and I get contacted by recruiters on a weekly basis from many different companies. I am very grateful SHU enabled me to develop SAS skills and pleased to receive the SAS joint certificate, which adds these valuable qualifications to my resume for future job opportunities.”

“SAS partners with universities to equip students with relevant credentials that send a strong signal to employers,” said Dan Mitchell, director of the SAS global retail and consumer packaged goods practice. “Retailers and marketers are investing heavily in analytics, hoping to gain an advantage in highly competitive environments. Sacred Heart students earning this joint certificate get a leg up in pursuit of rewarding careers in analytics.”

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About Sacred Heart University

As the second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, and one of the fastest-growing in the U.S., Sacred Heart University is a national leader in shaping higher education for the 21st century. SHU offers more than 80 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs on its Fairfield, Conn., campus. Sacred Heart also has satellites in Connecticut, Luxembourg and Ireland and offers online programs. More than 9,000 students attend the University’s eight colleges and schools: Arts & Sciences; Communication, Media & the Arts; Computer Science & Engineering; Health Professions; the Isabelle Farrington College of Education; the Jack Welch College of Business & Technology; the Dr. Susan L. Davis & Richard J. Henley College of Nursing; and St. Vincent’s College. Sacred Heart stands out from other Catholic institutions as it was established and led by laity. The contemporary Catholic university is rooted in the rich Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts, and at the same time cultivates students to be forward thinkers who enact change—in their own lives, professions and in their communities. The Princeton Review includes SHU in its Best 385 Colleges–2020 Edition, “Best in the Northeast” and Best 252 Business Schools–2019 Edition. Sacred Heart is home to the award-winning, NPR-affiliated radio station, WSHU, a Division I athletics program and an impressive performing arts program that includes choir, band, dance and theater. www.sacredheart.edu

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