A Brief Overview of Business Analytics
When a person performs studies on data via the use of statistical and operations analysis or both, this is known as business analytics. As a result of these studies, business analysts are able to form predictive models as well as apply a variety of optimization techniques, which can then be used to communicate the findings of the studies to the appropriate entities; business partners, stakeholders, clients, customers, etc.
Much of the time, business analytics is performed using Big Data. In fact, because Big Data has seen such a massive explosion over the past few years, the need for qualified business analysts has increased too. When using Big Data, it will either come in the form of structured or unstructured. A business analyst can structure it according to the objective at hand. As analysts analyze Big Data for their employers, they are able to acquire valuable insights and use them to fuel strategic data-driven decision making.
Business analysts with a master’s degree are highly-favored because they can use their knowledge and expertise in the field to perform a wide-range of analytics, including those that relate to:
- Data mining
- Statistical analysis
- Quantitative analysis
- A/B testing
- Multivariate testing
- Predictive modeling
- Predictive analytics
All of these forms of analytics reveal valuable insights that can forecast future results, which is vital to the implementation of proactive decision making. More so, it allows companies to form solutions that boost the success of automation and real-time responses.
Benefits of Masters Degree In Business Analytics
Raw data, to most of us, simply looks like a bunch of garbled letters and numbers. To a business analyst, though, raw data looks like a goldmine. An analyst can dive deep into the world of analytics and perform a variety of analytical processes that make meaningful use out of the data, which can then be used as a form of actionable intelligence.
Many experts believe that the best way to acquire hidden insights from raw data is to earn a master’s degree in business analytics. While associate’s and bachelor’s programs are valuable in their own ways, a master’s program dives much deeper into the field of analytics and provides graduates with a much more extensive understanding of raw data and the insights that it can provide.
According to the University of Tennessee’s business analytics program director, Melissa Bowers, companies are extremely eager nowadays to hire graduates who have an extensive amount of knowledge and specialized skills in analytics. She says, “We’re generating data at a phenomenal rate. The businesses are realizing that they can use this data to make more money.”
She goes on to say that 100 percent of the students who graduate from her master’s program secure employment within three months of graduating; this rate has been occurring since the program’s first class graduated back in 2011. This statistic alone goes to show you how valuable a masters degree in business analytics can be.
Data is now the backbone of companies all across the world. By 2020, it is expected there will be a major shortage of professionals who can fill data-related roles. In fact, this shortage is estimated to be nearly three million. And with 48 percent of business leaders admitting it is difficult to find and retain professionals who have a deep understanding of computer analytics, it makes sense that earning a master’s degree in this field of study is an almost guaranteed way to secure stable employment.
Job Opportunities with a Business Analytics Degree
One of the most notable aspects of business analytics you need to understand is that advancements in technology constantly cause of the world of Big Data to change. Just because one analytical method is valuable right now does not mean it will be good for implementation six months down the road. This is why data scientists need advanced degrees. These types of credentials teach graduates how to stay up-to-date in the ever-changing world of analytics.
A masters degree in business analytics will open many career doors for you. In fact, you may even find that you don’t end up in a career that is directly related to business analytics. Regardless of the career you pursue, however, you will be fit for a number of senior-level management roles, especially those relating to:
- Fact-based decision making
- Quantitative analysis
- Predictive analysis
According to the Business School at the University of Colorado Denver, some of the more popular roles pursued by business analytics graduates include:
- Data analyst
- Data scientist
- Project manager
- Management analyst
- Management consultant
- Supply chain manager
- Big Data analyst specialist
- Manager of services
- Manager of manufacturing operations
- Data architect
- Research analyst
- Market research analyst
A report released by the World Economic Forum states that the three most highly-valued skills needed in today’s employment sector are:
- Critical thinking
- Complex problem-solving
- Judgment and decision making
When you earn a master’s degree in business analytics, you will be sharpening these three skills.
Expected Salary Range for Business Analysts
There are two obvious career paths for graduates of a business analytics master’s program — management analyst or data scientist. Both of these positions can be found in any industry, giving you plenty of opportunities to choose a career path that suits your interests. No matter the exact career path you choose, however, with a degree in business analytics, you will likely fill a role that has you completing tasks relating to:
- Collecting Big Data
- Interpreting Big Data
- Performing quantitative analysis
- Use analytics to predict future forecasts
- Inform appropriate entities of your findings
- Many of the tasks will be used to improve decision making in various departments, including marketing, human resources, finance, customer service, finance, and operations
With a masters degree in business analytics, you are going to make a pretty hefty salary, even when securing an entry-level position. Through the year 2026, there is an expected 12 growth rate for management analysts, who have an average salary exceeding $81,000 a year as of 2016. If you choose to pursue the position of a logistician, you’re still going to have a cushy salary of nearly $75,000 a year; this job role has an expected growth rate of seven percent through the year 2026.
Five of the most popular companies to work for with a master’s degree in business analytics are:
- NCR Corp: you can expect to make about $61,000 a year
- International Business Machines (IBM) Corp.: you can expect to make about $114,000 a year
- Ernst & Young: you can expect to make about $97,000 a year
- Cardinal Logistics Management Corporation: you can expect to make about $80,000 a year
- The Coca-Cola Company: you can expect to make about $60,000 a year
Here are average salaries for various positions you can secure with your master’s in business analytics:
- Management consultant: $84,516
- Analytics manager: $90,155
- Financial analyst: $60,998
- Marketing analyst: $60,780
- Data analyst: $57,512
- Business systems analyst: $68,662
Best Schools to Earn a Masters Degree In Business Analytics
When you go to earn a master’s in business analytics, you will have two options to choose from — you can earn this degree as part of a Master’s in Science curriculum or a Master’s in Business curriculum. Regardless of the program you choose, though, each curriculum is unique. Some schools will even allow you to choose a variety of electives to enroll in, including those related to economics or communications. For now, here is a look at five of the best schools to earn your master’s in business analytics degree.
1) Syracuse University
This school offers several master’s programs for those wanting to study business analytics:
- Online Master of Science in Business Analytics
- Online Master’s in Data Science
- Online Master of Science in Information Management
The master’s in data science program can be completed in as little as 18 months.
2) University of California-Berkeley
US News ranks this public university #1 and it is here that you can earn your Master of Information and Data Science all online.
3) George Washington University
This school offers an online MS in Management of Health Informatics and Analytics. If you are wanting to pursue a business analytics degree that allows you to work in the healthcare field, this is definitely a school you will want to consider enrolling in. Even better is that there is no GMAT/GRE required.
4) Massachusetts Institute of Technology
This program is centered around a curriculum that combines expertise from both the MIT Operations Research Center and the Sloan School of Management. If you are wanting to enroll in the program, you will need a GMAT or GRE; there are no waivers available for this requirement.
5) The University of Texas at Austin
Offering a Master of Science in Business Analytics, this program focuses on risk management, applied stats, decision theory, and consumer behavior. You’ll attend various networking events while earning your master’s here as well as speak with highly-respected industry representatives.