This guide is an overview of all of the opportunities available with a Ph.D. in business analytics. It covers why professionals and students might pursue a Ph.D. in business analytics, the usual steps or processes to get the degree, and potential outcomes or career paths.
For business purposes, professionals interested in executive-level or senior management positions in business analytics or operations might typically need only to obtain a master’s degree in a data-related area to reach their goal. In most cases, a master’s would be a terminal degree for those seeking to reach the highest levels of management within a corporate setting.
But what of those looking for advanced careers outside the business world? Those interested in pursuing a career in business academics or research in big data analysis, data modeling, business forecasting, or operations might consider earning a Ph.D. in business analytics. Doctoral studies in this area will provide a deeper look at, among other areas, statistical analysis, data-driven decision making, probability, and research theory.
Rather than focusing on applying business analytics concepts, a Ph.D. in business analytics will provide more discussions on the “how’s” and “why’s” of this area of study. How are data technologies used to make decisions? Why are statistical analysis methodologies used to analyze data? How is organizational software employed to improve databases and other business systems?
Since most individuals who pursue business analytics studies are of the mind to apply what they have learned in a corporate setting, how common are Ph.D. in business analytics programs? In what format are such programs offered? How long might it take to earn such a degree, and how much might it cost?
These are among the questions you’ll find answered regarding the Ph.D. in business analytics in the following article. There’s also a FAQs section at the end to cover other information, so you’ll come away with a thorough understanding of what you’ll learn, why you might consider such a program, and what you could expect to do career-wise with this Ph.D.
What is a Business Analytics Ph.D. Degree?
Few schools offer a Ph.D. in business analytics program, as the field is still emerging and developing. Of these, even fewer are dedicated business analytics programs; instead, many Ph.D. in business analytics programs pair business analytics with other areas, such as operations and information systems. You might find a few institutions offering data analytics or business intelligence as an area of specialization within the doctor of business administration.
Concepts you are likely to study in a Ph.D. in business analytics program include:
- Data mining
- Data analytics
- Data structures
- Applied statistics
- Multivariate analysis
- Applied optimization
- Advanced decision technologies
- Advanced programming techniques
Other subjects likely to be addressed in business analytics Ph.D. programs include mathematics, operations management, and microeconomics. Some courses in a Ph.D. program might be presented in a seminar format. In contrast, others might give case study examinations to help students better understand the application of concepts discussed in the program.
You can also expect to spend time analyzing and studying research methodologies and applying these to the research and development of a dissertation. The dissertation process typically unfolds throughout the program. You would work closely with a dissertation coordinator or other faculty member as you conduct ongoing research, present a thesis proposal, develop a defense of that proposal, complete the written project, and present the dissertation.
In some programs, you will be required to pass a comprehensive exam that could combine both written and oral formats; this exam is usually administered after completing your coursework and before the final two years of the dissertation process.
While some courses could be taken online, the dissertation might require regularly meeting with a committee or advisor to develop your proposal, argument, and thesis.
In addition to business analytics, you might find doctoral programs in business administration or management courses in data science, data analysis, data mining, business intelligence, or operations that touch upon or delve into key points addressed in a Ph.D. in business analytics program.
Online Ph.D. in Business Analytics Programs
As discussed, Ph.D. in business analytics programs are not conducted 100 percent online due mainly to the dissertation component of the program. Some schools, such as Capitol Technology University, might offer more online courses, while others could be fully on-campus. These programs are flexible, but the vast majority do require at least some in-person work.
Ph.D. in business analytics programs are also typically full-time, 4 to 5 years in duration, so you should be prepared to devote the necessary time to complete these studies. In particular, completing the dissertation over the final two years of the program generally needs a full-time focus. While these Ph.D. programs certainly require much focus and dedication, completing a Ph.D. in this field can certainly help an individual stand out since these programs are rare and challenging.
It can be expensive to obtain a Ph.D. in business analytics, with tuition including fees ranging between $24,000 and $30,000+ per year. If applicable, factors impacting the costs include in- or out-of-state residency and possible distance learning fees. These tuition figures would not reflect the additional cost of room and board and any materials needed for coursework, which would vary between schools and locations. Application fees also apply and also vary among institutions.
Career Paths and Outcomes
If you are applying your advanced skills and knowledge in a business setting, you might have the opportunity to increase your earnings and responsibilities through career advancement. According to statistics supplied by Salary.com, business analytics managers with a Ph.D. could earn between $122,069 – $129,632 per year; the upper range of salary for a business analytics manager is $152,025, also according to Salary.com.
Operations research analysts, who are involved in business analytics processes, are expected to be in demand throughout the next decade, with a 25 percent job growth projection according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS shows that these professionals earn a median annual wage of $86,200, with the upper ten percent realizing more than $144,000 annually. Those holding a Ph.D. in business analytics might also consider pursuing work as a consultant.
As reported by the BLS, the projected job growth rate for all management analysts, including business analytics managers and management consultants, is 11 percent over the 2019-2029 decade. This job growth rate is much faster than average, making it an appealing prospect for young professionals within the field. If a career in academics interests you, the BLS reports that post-secondary business teachers can expect a 12 percent increase in opportunities through 2029. As of May 2020, the median annual wage for post-secondary business teachers is $88,010.
Ph.D. in Business Analytics FAQs
While the above article covers many details regarding Ph.D. studies in business analytics, you might have some additional questions. This section is designed to discuss aspects not covered up to this point.
Since Ph.D. in business analytics programs are not extremely common, it might be possible to find a related Ph.D. program and align the research components with business analytics. Similar degrees include Ph.D. programs in data science, big data analytics, business data science, management science, management analytics, operations, and information management, and business administration such as information and decision sciences.
Yes, a master’s degree in business is often required to enter this type of Ph.D. program. You should also have a strong background in STEM-related subjects, possess strong computer and analytical skills, and be interested in learning about theory.
Some programs might require managerial experience before enrollment. You may also work in the field while obtaining your Ph.D., particularly before beginning your dissertation. Discussing potential employment or work experience with your prospective departments and programs is always advisable.
Most programs require at least a 3.0 GPA. As with many programs, the higher your GPA, the better your chances of getting accepted.
Yes, this Ph.D. program is typically designated as a STEM program.
No, these programs are currently only full-time.