A degree in business analytics looks different in today’s world than it did a decade ago. In its most current application, business analytics uses modern data science and capabilities in machine learning (ML). The magic comes into play when these are leveraged for the purpose of strategic planning.
What is a Business Analytics Degree?
In practice, an advanced degree in business analytics teaches you how to put to use tools and software to resolve key business problems. In contrast to other branches of STEM, business analytics is not as “techie.” This makes it enticing for an array of student types.
While business analytics has elements of math, you don’t have to be a math guru to excel. Instead, applied statistics is an important piece of the program, i.e., methods like R and Python. It’s the perfect fit for those who tout business savvy and seek the big picture.
The use of business analytics is gaining traction from all corners of the globe. In many industry groups, leaders are focused on how to make the best use of analysis to streamline their operations. Prashanth Southekal, business analytics author, professor, head of the Data for Business Performance Institute explains, “Companies have tons and tons of data, but [success] isn’t about data collection, it’s about data management and insight.”
Business analysis stands at the helm of uncovering the data gems that make a difference in the short and long term. These nuggets of intel can transform an organization and earn you kudos in your career.
A Career in Business Analytics
The question that many poses are how will a master’s in business analytics help to prepare for a new position or brand-new career. Whether already entrenched in analytics or changing tracks, plot the pathway to your dream job. As a prospective graduate student, you need to dig further into the gains.
Without a doubt, a master’s in business analytics can make you a more attractive candidate for a job. When it comes to a higher degree in business analytics, there are three distinct value-adds. With this specialty, you will hone in on:
- advanced data analysis
- management skills
- decision-making abilities
If you are looking for more responsibility or clout, gaining such know-how can position you well within your workgroup.
Online Master’s in Business Analytics
In this Digital Age, it is incumbent upon the ambitious to think ahead at all times. Tools stale quickly as invention grows and expands. Professionals have to keep up with developing trends in tech.
Zvika Krieger, Head of Technology Policy and Partnerships Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution weighs in at the World Economic Forum. He contends that “The shift to life-long learning is absolutely essential. As the pace of technological change quickens, we need to be sure that employees are keeping up with the right skills to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Regardless of the industry that you’re in, there is a definite need to learn cutting-edge tools and concepts. It’s no easy task. Nowadays, workers must ramp up with new skills to maintain their competitive edge.
Online degree programs are popping up in droves, with the worldwide shift to all things remote. Business analytics is part of the trend. In order to manage work and family life, aspiring professionals want to acquire know-how in a convenient way. For many, the answer is online learning.
It’s essential to be up to date on all that is offered with the online platform. The structure and format are ever-changing. The top three pros to consider are as follows:
Time-saver: Less time commuting. More time to choose how you spend your hours.
Money-saver: Tuition is typically reduced with an online program. However, even if this is not the case, students save on gas, parking, meals, and textbooks (digital formats are cheaper).
Flexibility: This is the #1 benefit. The student stands as the CEO of the learning experience. You are in charge of the when, where, and how of class time and schedule.
It is easy to be enticed by the advantages of an online degree, but you have to think about the cons as well. Remote learning is not for everyone. Be honest with yourself when you reflect on the disadvantages below:
Self-discipline: Flexibility can be tough for some. For those who procrastinate or are distracted by the environment at home, this may be a no-go.
Lack of face-to-face contact: It can be difficult to communicate with professors and peers in online mode. When it comes to the discussion of complex subject matter, this can be a drawback.
Reputation: Some employers may bring into question the validity of an online program. While this sentiment is changing, be cognizant of the credentials of the institution that you choose.
Getting an online master’s degree can be the ideal solution for those who know what to expect. Keep in mind that if the format is not right for you after a semester, most programs will allow you to switch. Universities have a vested interest in a student’s success. They want to offer that which works well with your individual learning style.
Online Master’s in Business Analytics Degree Requirements
The subtitle, “degree requirements” is a misnomer here. Internships and networking may be encouraged by schools, but these are not necessarily requirements for earning a degree. That said, making connections and gaining real-world experiences are must-haves for taking your hard-earned degree and being successful with it.
Even though you will be taking your classes “alone,” you should not feel alone in the online learning environment. It’s important to point out that remote education is not confined to your laptop. Reaping out-of-the-classroom experiences is a key feature.
It is expected that you will take advantage of the opportunities like these to expand your horizons:
Internships: These give students the opportunity to apply their classroom learning to tackle problems in real-life. There are countless short and long-term opportunities from which to choose. Check out what is currently available on any number of internship search sites. Indeed has one of the largest pools.
Networking: Follow the advice of the experts. Entrepreneur and Ellevest CEO, Sallie Krawcheck proclaims that “Networking is the number one unwritten rule of success in business.”
Explore everything that is out there. These include events and “connects” with alumni. To build relationships with faculty and students, be sure to use online interactions like chat rooms and web-based forums. Don’t miss out on career counseling and mentoring.
Capstone: Some programs will conclude with a final project. This may be in the form of a thesis or a comprehensive assessment of a real-world company.
Coursework and Curriculum
Each institution has its own set of courses and requirements. Speaking in general terms, requirements range between 30 to 48 credits or 10 to 16 courses. Most programs are made up of groupings of classes. These are foundational, core, and two types of electives, i.e., business analytics and general business.
Course titles can be unique, but fall into this line of subject matter:
- Analytics tools (R, SQL, Tableau, Python, Hadoop)
- Data visualization
- Data mining/modeling
- Big data
- Machine learning
- Statistical computing and modeling
- Project management
- Marketing analysis
Even in the STEM arena, leadership and team focus is vital. With business analytics, soft skills are essential as well. These are part of the coursework and may touch on ethics and communications.
The tuition for a master’s in business analytics varies across the board. Degree costs range from as low as $4,719 to as high as $53,450. To determine which program is fit for you, check out research websites. Some will assess the best overall ranking and most affordable.
When it comes to financial aid and scholarships, it pays to investigate. Choose from grants, student loans, public/private loans, and government aid. You will want to be sure to check out everything there is to know regarding FASFA support of remote learning. US News and World Report put together an excellent financial aid how-to. It is targeted to online programs as well.
Keep in mind that while the research process may feel like a full-time job, it’s smart to do your due diligence. It will pay off in the end.
What Can You Do With this Kind of Degree?
Are you serious about an online master’s program or just starting to do your research? Either way, it makes sense to delve into common career paths for graduates. You need to know precisely how a master’s in analytics will propel you in the marketplace. With an advanced degree, the world is your oyster.
It seems like almost any industry is in need of professionals with a strong background in analytics. Some of the sectors that stand out are HR, IT, and Finance/Accounting. There are distinct needs in Computer Science, Quantitative Modeling, and Data Analytics. You may be surprised to learn that business analytics has a place in Healthcare, Supply chain, and Real Estate as well.
Where ops are intricate, there is a need for business analysis. The field lends itself to a wide range of talent. Marked job titles are:
- Operations/market research
- Data architect/scientist
- Analyst (computer systems/programming/financial/business/quantitative)
Keep in Mind Salary
Salary is all-important when deciding whether or not to go to graduate school. In the field of business analysis, just like the cost of a master’s in this area, compensation does vary. For example, look at the stats at MIT Sloan School of Management. Tuition cost is among the highest, but the average salary is $127,750.
If you want to drill down to salary figures at the geo level, check out Salary.com’s Salary Wizard.
The type of work that you do is directly correlated to the pay, and there are plenty of choices. Job specialists in the area of compensation tend to be at the lower end, with an average of $69,840 whereas managers reach an average of $134,210. Industry, experience, and the number of direct reports may also impact payouts.
Keep in mind the words of Julia Cameron in making your decision. Her sentiment holds true across any kind of job in business. The author of The Artist’s Way says, “What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.”
A master’s in business analytics is the perfect fit for those who are driven to research the root cause of a problem. Central to any program is how to interpret real business data. The end goal is to draw conclusions that are vital to top-tier decision-making.
Jonathan Haskel, economist, author, and professor at Imperial College Business School quips, “I’ll often joke that when people ask what is business analysis, I say: You know all those times that people say ‘somebody should look into that?’ I’m the person that looks into that.”
Can you envision being “that person?” The task of business analysis is an important one. Based on the above “analysis,” you decide if leveling up your education is right for you.