Professionals with an MBA in business analytics are in high demand because of exponential growth in the amount of data created and captured. This glut of data occurs across all industries and businesses due to the continued expansion of computers. Their capabilities have spearheaded the demand for business professionals with an aptitude for analytics.
To help satisfy the growing demand from employers to fill this need for business professionals who can utilize, learn, and understand data, higher education institutions began introducing a specialization in business analytics beginning around 2012, and many have continued ever since. This specialization is offered alongside an already extensive list of specializations that many institutions offer, including more traditional choices, including finance, strategy, marketing, accounting, or entrepreneurship.
What is an MBA in Business Analytics Degree?
An MBA specializing in business analytics offers students the opportunity to expand their business knowledge and acumen while integrating courses that help prepare them to manage, analyze, and integrate data into their business and operational decision-making.
With so many programs and degrees, from MBA with a business analytics specialization to a master’s in business analytics, it can be challenging to determine their difference. Generally speaking, the MBA with business analytics specialization is a more theoretical approach and broader overview of the applications and tools that can help improve business outcomes.
Like most MBA specializations, most credits taken to fulfill the program are allocated to the core business offerings while a subset is allocated to a specialization. As a result, it’s usually unlikely for students to achieve a significant level of depth into the subject matter. Generally, this offer can appeal to business professionals interested in expanding their familiarity and knowledge of data.
Alternatively, a master’s in business analytics program often goes more in-depth, teaching both a theoretical and practical application of business analytics practices. Usually, a master’s program in a single discipline offers the time and credit allocation necessary to dive deeper into the subject matter. It is also more often technically focused and generally appeals to those from technical backgrounds looking to expand their mastery of business and data analytic practices.
MBA with Business Analytics Specialization Programs
An MBA degree program with a business analytics focus often takes 20 to 32 months, depending on whether attendance is part-time or full-time. Usually, the MBA program has a core curriculum with the business analytics focus referenced as a concentration, track, or specialization.
These programs aim to prepare business professionals to analyze data, create models, and utilize them to make informed decisions. While both technical and analytical skills are taught and needed, the main objective is to be able to use these skills and apply them to real-world business situations.
These programs usually require 3+ classes, with coursework spanning disciplines like data mining, data-driven decision making, data visualizations, predictive analytics, decision models, time series, etc. Some programs can include a capstone project, but often it is a broader requirement for the entire MBA cohort versus being isolated to simply those in the business analytics concentration.
For those program formats with an opportunity to break for an internship, there is an abundance of internship opportunity areas that would be well-suited for someone pursuing an MBA with a business analytics concentration. Example role types include business analyst, operations, product analyst, marketing analytics. These roles are present across nearly all industries, particularly finance, technology, healthcare, and retail.
Online MBAs in Business Analytics
Online MBA programs are becoming more popular, with these programs expanding the reach of universities across the globe. This trend to introduce and transition educational programs fully to an online format has expanded the opportunity set for many students who otherwise would not attend a specific university if the offering was not available. At the same time, it’s added another layer of decisions that must be made when contemplating which master level program to choose.
A few of the main benefits of on-campus learning are convenience, hands-on learning, extracurricular activities, and dedicated time and space for learning. On the other hand, online learning comes with a lower cost scheduling flexibility and is often ideal for working professionals. While there is a distinction between online and traditional on-campus programs, there are even more nuances if we go one step further. For example, there is the potential for a combination of asynchronous and synchronous learning opportunities for online programs.
The degree of flexibility differs between these two options. A downfall to this increased flexibility is the need for greater self-motivation. On the opposite side of the spectrum, many on-campus programs are beginning to offer hybrid courses, which introduces more flexibility in this route. With a growing number of organizations introducing an online-only option in addition to their traditional full-time or part-time programs, there are ample options to explore!
Financing an MBA
Tuition for MBA programs ranges from as low as 55k to upwards of 200k, depending on the program’s rank. With this expensive price tag, many seek out alternative financing options to help offset the cost of tuition. Financial assistance can come from various sources, including employer sponsorship, grants, fellowships, or scholarships.
If you’re currently employed full-time and intending to pursue your MBA through a part-time program, check with your company’s HR department to determine whether employer sponsorship is something that they offer.
Grants and scholarships are other great options that require work to locate and apply. Many MBA scholarships are often general or focused on finance, accounting, marketing, etc. Additionally, there are often industry-specific scholarships for those either coming from or pursuing a path in industries like healthcare, technology, or fashion.
Below you’ll find a short list of MBA scholarships/fellowships and additional resources for where to search for them:
Forté Fellowships Program for Women
Military MBA’s Merit Scholarship for Veterans
Orbis Fellowship for Individuals interested in Investment Management
In addition to the examples shared above, scholarships, fellowships, and grants are usually available on an individual school basis. They can be found by going directly to their website or financial assistance office.
Careers for Business Analytics MBA Graduates
Career paths for students who graduate with an MBA and business analytic specialization or concentration can span many disciplines and industries. Earning an MBA focusing on business analytics can offer a path to management-level roles within operations, growth, product, and marketing across various industries, including technology, healthcare, finance, and retail. Learn more in our “What is business analytics?” guide.
Sample job titles commonly filled by those with business analytics specializations include:
- Business Analytics Manager
- Product Analyst
- Business Operations Analyst
- Marketing and Growth Analytics Manager
- Business Insights Manager
- Operations Manager
According to salary.com, the median range for a business analytics manager with an MBA was between 121,064 and $128,596. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth of management analysts or roles that recommend improving an organization’s efficiency is expected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029.
Four Steps to Consider When Exploring an MBA with Business Analytics Concentration Program
- Every institution with an MBA program has its application, but a few general shared requirements are standardized across the majority of institutions. These requirements include at least having a Bachelor’s degree, a minimum undergraduate GPA, and a standardized test score like the GRE or GMAT. Some programs have started accepting additional standardized test scores like the EA, LSAT, MCAT, or DAT, but this largely depends on the individual organization. Additionally, basic application requirements usually include general personal background information, personal and work references, a current resume, college transcripts, and a personal statement or essay.
- This can be a major factor in your decision-making process. While this differs across programs, additional alternatives and financial resources are available through an employer, government, school-specific, or private organizations through grants, fellowships, scholarships, and sponsorships. Additionally, educational loans through government-sponsored and private are available and can be considered.
- Type of program
- Online, in-person, or hybrid. Full-time or part-time. Asynchronous or synchronous learning. Programs come in various formats and combinations of the above, so it’s important to evaluate which works best for you and your current situation. Many institutions have multiple offerings that enable students to still enroll in their desired discipline but through a format and timeline that works for them.
- School offerings
- How do the schools you’re looking at compare versus one another? Does one have a better reputation, stronger alumni network, or better outlook for future job opportunities? Specific programs across institutions differ and rank differently, so it’s important to research and identify what best suits your needs and goals.