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If you’re a fan of problem-solving and number-crunching, a master’s in business analytics may be in your future.
Graduate school is an investment that deserves thorough research and analysis. That said, with a high industry growth rate and demand for data analysis across all industries, enrolling in a master’s in business analytics program is a wise move for many. Here’s what you need to know before you enroll.
What is Business Analytics?
Every business and organization uses qualitative and quantitative data to make informed decisions. But raw data is not enough. Organizations need someone who is well-trained to translate that data and turn it into actionable insights.
Business analytics is the real-world application of data to decisions regarding finance, sales, operations and management. As our systems and technology grow more and more complex, professionals with a master’s in business analytics are critical to helping organizations use innovative analyses and modeling to solve problems.
To succeed in business analytics, you need to balance one foot in the technical, data-oriented space and the other in practical business application.
Master of Business Analytics Admission Requirements
Admission requirements for a master’s in business analytics are similar to those for other graduate programs. Business analytics is a competitive field that’s experiencing growing demand. Check your chosen programs’ application dates, and submit your application as early as possible.
The most common master’s program admission requirements include a resume, letters of recommendation, a bachelor’s degree, GMAT or GRE scores and a personal essay.
For any competitive degree program, admissions officers and professors look for related experience, interest in analysis and problem-solving and strong interpersonal skills. Highlight your curiosity, future goals and collaborative abilities in your personal essay or statement. Prior courses or certifications in data analytics, programming, statistics and math don’t hurt, either.
Each program has its own unique requirements. Be sure to read through all the fine print and ensure you meet the criteria and align with the program’s mission and goals.
Courses in a Master’s in Business Analytics Program
A master’s in business analytics usually takes one or two years to complete, depending on your course load. Each program has its own course titles, descriptions and requirements. However, core courses remain similar across schools.
Statistical Models or Methods
All business analytics programs offer statistics courses, ranging from the introductory level to more complex modeling and probability.
Business analysts must use advanced-level statistics to make accurate predictions and find new opportunities for their organizations. Statistics courses also teach you to use and apply tools such as generalized linear models, sampling and support vector machines.
Business analytics professionals must not only interpret data but also figure out how to improve their organizations’ functions and capabilities. A course in optimization methods provides the information and tools you need to problem-solve and uncover new methods for a variety of business problems.
Many organizations work with customers or clients and use data to improve their business functions. Customer analytics is a valuable course that teaches learners how to provide accurate and insightful data while also making the data clear and presentable to a lay audience.
A specific subset of business analytics, marketing analytics uses statistics and quantitative analyses to predict customer behavior. This course teaches learners to determine which marketing strategies are most helpful to marketing managers as they make informed decisions.
Other courses that are part of a business analytics master’s program include project management, programming, data mining and financial analytics.
Careers with a Master’s in Business Analytics
Believe it or not, there are many job options available to you beyond the title of business analyst after graduation. Strong analytical skills are valuable in every industry, from consulting and academia to healthcare and retail. You may find yourself leading a team of analysts or working your way up to a senior leadership position.
Machine Learning Engineer
Average Annual Salary: Machine learning engineers can earn about $113,000 per year.
Machine learning is a fast-growing field for professionals with backgrounds in analytics, computer science or math. These professionals work with computers, robots and other self-automated programs.
Machine learning engineers work with computer scientists to find and use data to help machines learn and perform certain tasks. They also develop automated programs that use machine learning to perform data mining and data interpretation.
Median Annual Salary: $98,860
Projected Growth Rate (2020-2030): +8%
If you love pouring over numbers and diving deep into databases, you may be well-suited for a career as a data architect. Data architects work with organizations to build frameworks that manage and store accurate data and create data-use policies. Familiarity with technical language and attention to detail are necessary qualities to succeed in this role.
Median Annual Salary: $100,910
Data scientists pull meaningful information out of raw data. They use data-oriented visualization software and programming languages to do this job. These professionals imagine, translate and report their data findings, and in some cases, they create data reports to detail their findings.
Data scientists may work in computer systems design, company management, scientific and technical consulting management or scientific research and development, among other industries.
Technical Project Manager
Average Annual Salary: Technical project managers can earn about $95,300 per year.
Project managers are assets in all industries, often taking on titles like IT project manager, marketing project manager and technical project manager. With an eye for detail and an understanding of data, technical project managers should be able to oversee tech teams and prepare budgets and apply complex analyses to improve processes and team functionality.
Market Research Analyst
Median Annual Salary: $63,920
Projected Growth Rate (2020-2030): +22%
Market research analysts are part of a fast-growing field that combines advanced data analysis and marketing strategy. These analysts perform quantitative consumer research, study sales trends and use a variety of tools (from spreadsheets to statistical analysis) to provide insights to stakeholders and marketing managers.
Frequently Asked Questions about Business Analytics
Is business analytics a good career?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in data and business analytics are growing at an above-average rate. An advanced degree in business analytics opens doors to individuals who have an aptitude for interpreting complex data and translating it into innovative business practices.
What is the highest-paying analytics job?
On average, machine learning engineers earn the highest salaries of all business analytics professionals. That said, salaries vary by organization, industry, location and managerial level.
What do you do in business analytics?
The day-to-day responsibilities of a business analytics professional vary by role and industry. Tasks include creating reports for stakeholders, making predictions about the market to support sales goals and recommending improvements to internal and external processes.