A business analytics master’s degree will prepare you to use various methodologies, including data management processes, statistical analysis, and forecasting, from data mining to data visualization. Those methodologies allow you to determine a business’s performance, predict or anticipate market trends, analyze production and productivity, and make sound business decisions.
Master’s in Business Analytics or MSBA
A master’s in business analytics program (also known as an MSBA) helps prepare you to delve deeper and more precisely than other analytical practices, such as data analysis or data science, into making predictions about future processes and trends that could affect business decisions and other areas of operations, such as production or marketing.
While business analytics is most closely associated with business intelligence analytics, it differs in that the latter tend to rely more on making decisions based on known data. At the same time, the former employs forecasting and data modeling to predict future outcomes.
The practice of business analytics has its origins in the Industrial Revolution of the 1700s, which saw advancements in manufacturing and production techniques leading to analyses of systems for continued improvements in these areas. Today, business analytics relies on artificial intelligence, analytics software, and real-time data analyses to help business leaders make more informed decisions regarding current and future practices.
As companies turn more and more to business analytics for successful growth and competitive advantages, the role of professional business analysts has become increasingly important. While in some cases, a bachelor’s degree might be sufficient to begin working in this field, a master’s degree is typically preferred, and advancement to senior management or executive positions almost always requires a graduate degree. Many top universities in the United States offer master’s degrees in business analytics.
Are master’s degree programs in business analytics or MSBA programs available online? What career options might be open to one who holds a master’s degree in business analytics? What types of courses might one expect to take in the curriculum of a graduate program in business analytics? How long might it take to complete this degree program?
You’ll find the answer to these and other questions regarding business analytics master’s degrees here; hopefully, this information can cover everything you need to know if you’re considering pursuing this advanced degree and a subsequent career in this growing field.
Those interested in earning a business analytics master’s degree could enter a master of science in business analytics or master of business analytics (MSBA) program. Some schools offer business analytics as an area of concentration in their master of business administration (MBA) program. You could also choose to pursue a master of science in data science specializing in business analytics.
Some master of science in business analytics programs offer areas of specialization or tracks focusing on a single area of business analytics, such as financial analysis, supply chain, cybersecurity analytics, data science, accounting analytics, marketing analytics, technology, or data analytics.
With or without taking a specialization or specific track of study, you are likely to take courses addressing:
- Big data management
- Database management
- Data visualization
- Data mining
- Data warehousing
- Predictive analytics
- Prescriptive analytics
- Applied statistics
- Predictive modeling
- Business communications
Full- and part-time options are available in many cases for those pursuing a business analytics master’s degree. Part-time studies are most convenient to professionals who cannot commit to a full-time school schedule.
Online Business Analytics Master’s Degree Programs
For even more convenience and flexibility than part-time on-campus programs can offer, there is the option to enroll in an online business analytics master’s degree program. Top universities such as Arizona State University, Penn State University, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst provide online MSBA studies.
For the most part, classes are the same online as those taken in an on-campus program. Programs can be 100 percent online or taken through online and on-campus (or hybrid) courses, depending on the college or university offering the program. Some schools state that the same instructors are used for online and on-campus courses.
The benefit of enrolling in an online business analytics master’s degree program is online learning is often compatible with other responsibilities such as a job. More and more professionals enroll in online learning degree programs to keep advancing their careers while preparing for the next move.
While the ability to take asynchronous courses (often in video lectures) is helpful for working professionals, attending in-person classes is important for networking and building contacts. If you are considering an online degree program, investigate networking and career development opportunities and take advantage of them.
Another feature of online master’s degree programs geared toward working professionals is that they also allow self-pacing options. The business analytics master’s program at the University of Massachusetts will enable students to break the 31-credit degree up over four years, with a minimum requirement of three credits per semester. This system can accommodate other schedules or allow working professionals to avoid other scheduling conflicts.
Business Analytics Master’s Program Cost
Obtaining a master’s degree in any area can be expensive. Still, the value to your career as far as advancement and new opportunities outweigh the tuition costs of a business analytics master’s degree.
Of course, tuition costs for an MSBA, master of business analytics, MBA in business analytics, or any master’s degree in business analytics will vary from school to school. Are you commuting or living on-campus? Taking two or four classes per semester? How much are the fees (which will vary from one school to another)? These will be all factored into how much you will pay for a business analytics master’s degree.
Materials needed for any course are also not typically included in tuition costs.
Some payment options include per-credit or flat rates per semester. For example, the tuition for Michigan State University’s MSBA program is $36,000 for in-state residents and $39,000 for out-of-state residents, paid in three installments at the beginning of each semester, while the University of Minnesota charges per credit ($1,020 per credit for in-state, $1,450 per credit for out-of-state). Payment plans are an option at many schools.
Students can offset the tuition costs of a master’s degree in business analytics with financial aid or scholarships. Merit-based scholarships for students of business analytics master’s degree programs can be found at many universities, such as The University of Utah and the University of Minnesota; funds for these scholarships can come not just from the school but from donors, corporations, and other external organizations.
A master’s in business analytics can be earned in as little as three semesters or 10 to 12 months. Credit totals typically range from 30 to 36 credits, though some may be 39. Part-time studies could take up to two years to complete.
Not all MS in business analytics or similar programs contain internships, but of those that do, some provide paid internships! The master of science in business analytics program at the University of Louisville and The University of Texas at Dallas include paid internships; students have interned at such companies as Amazon, GE, Brown-Forman, IBM, and Southwest Airlines.
Instead of internships, students of a business analytics master’s degree program may be required to complete a practicum or capstone course. They apply methods and practices learned throughout their studies to complete a project that reflects their understanding of the material.
Career Path and Outlook
After you’ve earned your master of science, MBA, or master of business analytics, what opportunities could you expect to pursue?
As a business analyst, you could seek employment in nearly any industry. Business analysts are vital to healthcare, manufacturing, technology, finance, insurance, or marketing. You would be prepared to apply decision-making, analytical, collaborative, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills likely developed through your studies in a business analytics master’s degree program.
In addition to becoming a business analyst, relevant job titles in this field include:
- Analytics consultant
- Senior data analyst
- Management analyst
- Quantitative analyst
- Project manager
- Business intelligence analyst
Suppose you focused on a specific track in your business analytics master’s degree program. You could be prepared to fill a senior or executive role as a marketing business analyst, financial analyst, IT business analyst, operations research analyst, or accounting analyst.
Based on the information provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), management analysts earned a median annual wage of over $87,000 in May 2020, and projected growth for this job title is 11 percent between 2019-2029.
The BLS also reports on the following job titles in the area of business analysis (median annual wages are based on info from May 2020; job growth rates are projected between 2019-2029):
- Financial analysts: $83,660 median annual wage; 5 percent job growth rate
- Market research analysts: $65,810 median annual wage; 18 percent job growth rate
- Budget analysts: $78,970 median annual wage; 3 percent job growth rate
- Operations research analysts: $86,200 median annual wage: 25 percent job growth rate
According to O-Net Online, business intelligence analysts earned a median annual salary of $94,280 as of May 2019, with a projected job growth rate of 8 percent between 2019-2029.
Based on these statistics, the importance of business analytics is underscored by the positive projected job growth rate for all job titles.
Business Analytics Master’s FAQs
The details discussed in this article are designed to address many of the main topics regarding a master’s degree in a business analytics program. However, you may have other questions about these programs that may not have been addressed here. The following FAQs contain additional questions and answers that might give you the further details you are looking for concerning business analytics master’s degree programs.
The following master’s degree programs may cover business analytics or similar topics. They could prepare you for an advanced career in the field: master of science in data analytics, master of science in business intelligence, master of science in applied data analytics, master of science in information systems and business analytics, master of business administration – strategic management, master of science in applied statistics and decision analytics.
This depends on the school. For instance, the MS in business analytics program at Georgetown University is STEM-designated, while the same program at New York University is not.
Again, this depends on the school. Wake Forest University has a master of science in business analytics program designed for those with little or no work experience. But the MS in business analytics program at the University of Virginia requires two years of work experience before starting.
Most schools require only that students seeking to enroll in an MS in business analytics program have a bachelor’s degree, but this degree can typically be in any undergraduate major.
Required courses before enrolling in a master’s degree in business analytics can vary from school to school. Some schools might not have prerequisites, while others have very specific requirements. Typical prerequisites include math (such as calculus or linear algebra), statistics (such as statistical analysis or business statistics), computer programming, and finance.
Some schools will waive GRE/GMAT requirements for those with a specific number of work experience.