Economics + statistics + tech = companies’ new dream programme

Published: 2020-10-16

Big data, AI and machine learning. Tech buzzwords, but also increasingly important for those who want to stand out in the job market – even in professions that were previously not regarded as IT-oriented. Now, the School of Economics and Management is meeting current demand with a new Master’s programme (60 credits) in Data Analytics and Business Economics.

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“I have talked to many companies about the expertise they need. Most of them say they are looking for skilled people in data analysis who understand the economic context and not just the technical side. The people we will be educating will have the expertise that companies want – and which other programmes don’t provide,” says Joakim Westerlund, professor of Economics and in charge of Lund University School of Economics and Management’s new Master’s programme (60 credits) in Data Analytics and Business Economics.

The School of Economics and Management is looking for students who are interested in data, statistics – and economics. Among other things, they will programme machine learning algorithms and visualisations of data, explore databases and data processing law, and think strategically with regard to data. The teaching mainly involves laboratory sessions and cases, in which the students test methods and theories in practical cases within economics.

“The companies say the approach is right on target and ask ‘When can we come and hold guest lectures?’” says Joakim and adds:

“Of course, in some ways I think that we could have had such a programme a long time ago, but now you could say that ‘the dust has settled’ and there is a clearer picture of the skills that the companies value most in new graduates and the gaps revealed in other programmes.”

He hopes – in a positive sense – to see a ‘motley crew’ of students start the new Master’s programme in the autumn of 2021. Students who are passionate about statistics and economics, but whose backgrounds may differ. The students can have studied any Bachelor’s programme at all, but must have accrued a number of credits in statistics to be admitted to the programme.

“I would like to see that some of the students have worked at companies for a few years and are now back for professional development. They can then also provide contacts and inspiration to the younger students.”

Most of the School of Economics and Management’s departments are involved in the programme – from economics and statistics to commercial law, informatics and business administration.

“The entire content of the programme is based on the needs and requests of companies. Above all, the student is to be employable, but of course, I will also be on the lookout for people who could continue to research. This knowledge is needed everywhere, both in companies and universities,” concludes Joakim Westerlund.

More info

Joakim Westerlund
Programme director

Joakim Westerlund is Professor of Economics and is mainly working with panel data, which is one type of “big data”. He develops econometric methods for studying such data, which typically involve machine learning. Joakim has published over 100 articles in this field and has received numerous awards for his contributions.

Joakim Westerlund in the research portal


Data Analytics and Business Economics at the School of Economics and Management is a one-year programme. The inaugural programme will start in the autumn of 2021. The application period is between 16 October 2020 and 15 January 2021.

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