The latest AMSTAT NEWS, which is the monthly magazine of the American Statistical Association has an interesting article by Bonnie Ray, a statistician at IBM Watson Research Center. She describes the wealth of activities (sections, conferences, etc.) by the sister organization INFORMS that are aimed at bringing together academics with industry professionals. In particular, she mentions the huge gap in the field of business and the burning need for quantitative and “statistically literate” experts in businesses.
I believe that one GREAT resource is the MBA program. Some of the students who take (in addition to a core statistics course) a hands-on, business-oriented data mining/analysis course have a big advantage: they not only understand and tried out some analysis, but they are well versed in the business world, in their field of concentration (marketing, finance, etc.) Some of my top students would be an incredible asset to any company.
It is prime time for the statistics community to embrace MBA programs and not only teach statistics, but also learn more about its use, challenges, and real applications in the business context.