Here they are: 25 top universities with programs in business analytics! There are a few things you should keep in mind.
1. What is a Master’s in Business Analytics Degree?
Business analytics aims to turn big data into actionable intelligence. To that end, business analysts use a variety of statistical and quantitative methods, computational tools, and predictive models – as well as their knowledge of finance, the corporate world, and the economy – to make data-driven decisions.
Unlike Business Intelligence (BI) degrees, which are often concerned with measuring past performance, Business Analytics (BA) programs tend to focus more on prescriptive and predictive techniques (e.g. “what should we do?” and “what happens next?”). Unlike MS in Data Science programs, MS in Business Analytics degrees usually concentrate on mining data in order to achieve specific business goals (e.g. more profits).
2. There is a Difference Between the MBA and the MS
MBA programs—even ones with business analytics concentrations—are often geared towards those who make decisions about data. These folks may not be as interested in developing models or wrestling with applications. If you want to get stuck into the technical side of things, look at programs with “science” in the title.
3. Every Program is Unique
Most MS degrees include standard foundation courses in analytics. However, to give the MS a business edge, schools love to tweak the curriculum. They may have economics & communications electives. They may include industry projects or competitions. They may even offer interdisciplinary programs (e.g. Master of Business and Analytics). You have loads of options.
4. Admissions Criteria Are Important
Some MS programs want applicants with a bachelor’s degree in engineering or stats; some are happy with a few prerequisites. MBA programs may prefer candidates with a business background or extensive work experience. Explore the Class Profile to see if you are a good fit and choose your degree accordingly.
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
George Washington University
Southern Methodist University
Need more tips? One good resource is our article on the Life of a Business Analyst.
We evaluated U.S. News & World Report rankings across multiple areas related to analytics, business and graduate studies, including:
- Quantitative Analysis
- Computer Science
- Business School
Rankings were weighted across these categories. We then selected the top performers by overall average rank and organized them in descending order.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT’s focused analytics program blends expertise from the Sloan School of Management with hard-hitting support from the MIT Operations Research Center. It’s intended to help recent graduates and career changers—including engineers, computer programmers, physicists and IT professionals—build a life in data science.
MIT usually perches at the top of the list in technical rankings, including computer science and quantitative analysis, so it’s packed a lot into its one-year degree. In addition to a real-world capstone in the summer, there are various software tool modules and a pro seminar addressing ethics and leadership concerns.
What’s more, the Sloan School is located in Cambridge, among a massive hub of biotechs, start-ups and research labs. Students have access to research centers like the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) and Action Learning Labs are integrated into every degree.
Candidates are expected to have a strong mathematical, computer science and/or statistical background, as well as a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. The GMAT or GRE is required of all applicants.
This is a relatively new program, so please see the website for details on class profiles and career info.
Carnegie Mellon University
The MISM-BIDA is a blended program for folks who are interested in the intersection of data analytics, management, strategy and IT. These are the managers, entrepreneurs, consultants and CIOs of the future.
180 units are the equivalent of 15 semester-length courses, so this is a 16-month commitment. Students on this track must also complete a 10-week summer internship.
Carnegie often battles with MIT for the top place in tech rankings, and Heinz College has a huge number of resources at its disposable. Students work on real-world, interdisciplinary projects in the iLab, the Living Analytics Research Center and the Center for the Future of Work. Everyone participates in a team-based capstone in the third semester. Heinz also runs entrepreneurship competitions and ongoing exchange programs.
Applicants tend to have degrees in engineering, IT, physics and related disciplines. All students are required to have completed at least one college-level course in object-oriented computer programming (with a grade of B or better). Over 70% of admitted students in the BIDA concentration have relevant work experience.
The MSIT-BIDA is a part-time program specifically targeted at mid-career and experienced IT professionals who want to get ahead in their careers.
Like the MISM-BIDA, its analytics concentration is intended to prepare graduates for high level jobs in the field of data science. Electives depend on the student’s business focus (e.g. defensive hacking, tech startup, global IT management, etc.). 144 units are the equivalent of 12 semester-long classes. Evening and online options are available.
Distance learning doesn’t mean a drop in quality. Students who opt for the online degree have access to the same Heinz faculty and course content as campus learners. Students can also take graduate-level courses from other Heinz College departments across campus. In 2016, Heinz College was ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report for Best Graduate Schools: Information and Technology Management.
Ideal candidates are IT professionals with a minimum of three years, full-time work experience, evidence of leadership skills and a bachelor’s degree.
Carnegie’s MBA is focused on leaders who wish to incorporate big data principles into their business strategies.
The Tepper School prides itself on its reputation for applied analytics—students are immersed in real-world projects and have access to programs across the university (e.g. engineering, robotics, life sciences, etc.).
In addition to being master managers, Tepper also wants its graduates to be agents of change. MBA students in the Accelerate Leadership Center receive leadership coaching/mentoring, participate in immersion workshops and develop a targeted action plan. Recruiting and networking events are built into the degree framework. The MBA also includes a summer internship, capstone courses and study abroad opportunities.
Applicants should have a strong interest in analytical approaches to management, with aptitude in areas such as probability and statistics. Most candidates have 2-8 years work experience.
University of Texas at Austin
A judicious blend of technical training and applied learning, UT’s 10-month degree is aimed at students who want a thorough grounding in all aspects of business analytics. Think applied stats & math, consumer behavior, decision theory, risk management and more.
Throughout the year, students can choose electives from various fields (e.g. supply chain analytics, quantitative trading, social network analytics, etc.). The spring semester finishes with team-based, real-world capstone project.
The MSBA is run through the McCombs School of Business, so students have the chance to attend networking events, visit local companies such as IBM and chat to industry representatives. McCombs also organizes a number of career & recruitment events for budding graduates.
Applicants are expected to have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution and an upper-division GPA of 3.0 or higher. Mathematical aptitude and quantitative and/or technical training coursework is expected, but no work experience is necessary. A GRE or GMAT score is required.
University of Chicago
Flexible in all of its sinews, the MSA is a full-time (12 months) or part-time program (up to 4 years) for future analytics gurus.
The curriculum emphasizes core tools and methodologies, including a large range of applications (e.g. risk analytics). Students work for three quarters on a capstone project and have the option to take workshops and short courses in R, Hadoop, Python, etc. Graduates have ended up as data scientists, senior analysts and strategy directors.
In 2016, UC was #5 in U.S. News & World Report rankings for Best Graduate Schools: Statistics. MSA students contribute to the Polsky Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Chicago Innovation Exchange, and participate in networking events throughout the year. Industry employers and UC research partners have unfettered access to student resumes; two career fairs are held in autumn and spring.
UC is interested in candidates who have strong love for analytics. That includes recent BS graduates (science or social science) with two years of working experience; early- or mid-career professionals who want to advance up the job ladder; and mid-career leaders who need better analytical skills to improve their decision-making.
Geared at decision-makers, this degree favors reasoning with data over pure stats and heavy data science. Program participants learn how to define an analytical problem, collaborate with analysts and establish what steps need to be taken to create a real-life business solution.
Students may also choose three electives centered on their chosen industry (e.g. financial accounting). In the final term, students use their skills to address a real-world analytics challenge sponsored by an outside organization.
The MSAA is a blended program, combining online and/or campus-based classes with week-long courses at Columbia’s famous NYC location. Guest lecturers, networking events, group exercises, role play and student presentations are part and parcel of the experience. 4+1 Option.
There are no major technical skills required, but students are expected to have a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent), a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better and the ability to demonstrate critical thinking and leadership skills.
This is a relatively new program, so please see the website for details on class profiles and career info.
Short but sweet, the MQM is a 10-month degree packed with training in analytics tactics & tools within a chosen industry (e.g. finance).
Because it’s tailored towards data analysts, Duke’s program also puts a premium on communication skills—defining a problem, knowing the audience and presenting a clear message. In the last term, students are expected to collaborate on a real-world problem.
The MQM is run through the Fuqua School of Business, which provides plenty of networking opportunities and events. Past speakers at its Distinguished Speaker Series have included CEOs of Apple, Etsy and Whole Foods. Students who are considering a PhD can also elect to earn a Certificate of Research.
There are no prerequisite courses for the MQM program, but candidates should have a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, business, economics or an equivalent quantitative major. The program is also interested in relevant work experience.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Targeted at dedicated analysts, this interdisciplinary program draws its strength from Georgia Tech’s colleges of business, computing and engineering. Statistics, operations research, computing and business skills are all addressed.
The core curriculum lays the foundation; 15 hours of electives allow students to specialize in one of three analytics tracks. All of this knowledge is brought to bear on a practicum or internship. Working in teams, students are encouraged to address massive-scale, real-world data analytics problems and take advantage of the university’s computing infrastructure.
On top of that, students receive funding to attend an analytics conference; have access to free cloud computing resources, software and training; and take part in Georgia Tech’s Business Analytics and Big Data Industry Forum. Georgia Tech also has an Institute for Data Engineering and Science (IDEaS), which aims to accelerate the adoption of big data technology.
Georgia Tech wants candidates who have a strong interest in analytics, a bachelor’s degree (or the equivalent) and good skills in mathematics and computing (e.g. programming using a high-level language like C, C++, Java, etc.). Applicants must submit either GRE or GMAT scores.
Known for its strength in science and tech, Purdue expects its MBA candidates to master two fields: quantitative reasoning and global leadership.
Students can choose whatever concentration they like – including Business Analytics (BA) – but the aim is to create graduates who are well-versed in a range of management skills. Those who choose the BA concentration often wish to end up as qualified consultants.
Fortunately, Purdue has a lot of resources to make that goal a reality. MBA students participate in a professional leadership program, a summer internship, global business projects and all kinds of fascinating corporate consulting and start-up initiatives.
Purdue is interested in MBA applicants with a strong undergraduate record in their field of interest. A GMAT score is required, but a GRE score may be accepted as an alternative. Professional experience is preferred.
The MS BAIM (as its called) is an intensive program designed to produce super-qualified leaders in business analytics. There is no extra fat here—the focus is on the latest technologies and techniques. We’re talking coverage of the newest software tools, gamification, modeling and more.
As you might expect, the curriculum explores almost every aspect of analytics. But it also exposes students to information management, strategy and a variety of cross-disciplinary business concerns (e.g. microeconomics).
Purdue ranks very highly for quantitative analysis and computer science, so it’s no surprise that this program includes award-winning faculty. What’s more, students have access to Krannert’s R&D resources and hands-on experiences in real-world settings.
The average work experience of applicants is 1-2 years, but prior experience is not required. A GMAT score is required, but a GRE score may be accepted as an alternative. Anything students can do to showcase relevant skills and accomplishments will enhance their application.
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
This fluff-free MSBA concentrates on technical skills, management fundamentals and advanced methods in analytics and data science.
The intensive, full-time program requires a full head of steam and takes 1 year to complete; the part-time program is built around evening classes and takes ~3 years to finish. Working in teams, students also complete a 14-week project for a real-world client at the Carlson Analytics Lab.
UMinn often pops in the top 5 of U.S. News & World Report rankings for information systems programs, and its reputation in the Midwest is particularly strong. Twin Cities is home to 18 Fortune 500 companies, and graduates are recruited to companies like Ford, Priceline, Expedia and other data-driven organizations.
UMinn wants recent graduates and early career professionals with analytical backgrounds, especially those who studied economics, mathematics, engineering, business, computer science, statistics or related field in their undergraduate degree. Some computer programming experience is strongly preferred. A GRE or GMAT score is required.
New York University
The MS is a high-flying program explicitly aimed at senior-level professionals interested in business strategy and data science.
Its unique format blends online study with five campus sessions—called “modules”—at NYU Stern and rotating global locations (e.g. London, Shanghai, etc.). Though it’s part-time, the degree can be completed in 12 months.
One major benefit of this unusual approach is networking. During each module, students have the opportunity to meet industry leaders and work with teams across the world on international data concerns. During the online period, students complete ~20-25 hours of work on pre- and post-module tasks every week. Since they continue to work during the entire degree, they can also apply what they’re learning to their own business and the team-based capstone.
NYU is looking for experienced applicants, with a minimum of five years of professional, full-time work experience and high aptitude for quantitative analysis and academic success.
NYU’s MBA in General Management is a comprehensive, two-year degree with more elective courses than you can shake a stick at. However, if you’re looking for pure analytics, you may wish to look elsewhere. This is a degree for aspiring titans—its focus is on leadership and a strong foundation in all areas of business.
That’s part of the reason why this MBA puts an emphasis on experiential learning. In the first year, MBA students must take core courses across the business spectrum. Once they’ve established proficiency in these, students can also select up to three specializations, including business analytics.
As well as study abroad opportunities, there are summer internships, career workshops and targeted programs that give students real-world expertise in consultancy, industry and non-profit management.
Applicants have a wide range of work experience and come from a variety of professional backgrounds—NYU is interested in well-rounded candidates with strong academic credentials. A GRE or GMAT score is required.
Indiana University Bloomington
The Kelley School of Business has an unusual approach to its two-year MBA. Along with what you might expect from a degree with a major in Business Analytics—serious coursework in data analytics applications and tools—Kelley expects students to choose a career-focused Academy.
The Academy experience weaves consulting projects, corporate visits, industry networking with Washington insiders, career coaching (and more) into the first year. The entire enterprise is designed to give students marketable experience.
MBA candidates are expected to have a baseline knowledge of algebra, stats and spreadsheets; those with a talent for math, statistics, modeling or information systems are the best business analysis majors. A GRE or GMAT score is required. Most applicants are at least two years into their career.
This MS is the kind of analytics program that adds professional smarts to a bachelor’s degree in IT, stats or business—one that’s designed to prepare folks for technical management and consultancy positions.
The MS begins with an on-campus Connect Week and then goes completely online. The 30-credit curriculum is intent on covering the waterfront, but there are no electives. What you see is what you take. Tailored to working professionals, this online degree can be finished in as little as 15 months or as long as five years.
Like any strong distance program, the degree is taught by the same professors who teach at the Kelley School of Business campus. Students also have the option to add an online MBA to create a dual degree program.
The Admissions Committee looks at a wide range of criteria, including GRE or GMAT scores and grades for hard skills (quantitative and analytical courses) & soft skills (e.g. business and communication). Most students enter with at least two years of relevant work experience.
Texas A&M University
This degree is meant for working professionals who want to be decision-makers and innovators—the curriculum is weighted 75% stats & applied analytics and 25% business with a real-world capstone project.
Though it’s offered by the Department of Statistics, this part-time program stirs in courses from the Mays Business School. Students can choose the evening or distance learning option.
Texas A&M has the third largest stats department in the country and comes high in the U.S. News & Report rankings for Best Graduate Schools: Statistics (especially among public institutions). The department hosts numerous data-driven events. The MS itself is supervised by an Advisory Board of corporate partners.
Texas A&M wants candidates with a competitive GPA and/or strong GRE or GMAT scores. Applicants should also have earned an A or B on at least one statistics course and have a minimum of three years of full-time work experience.
Northwestern takes a three-pronged approach to its MSIA, with rigorous training in business skills, critical IT tools and every area of analytics—predictive (e.g. forecasting), descriptive (e.g. data mining) and prescriptive (e.g. optimization and simulation). This a full-time, head-down degree for those who wish to lead analytics teams and projects.
Courses are taught by tenured faculty from the schools of engineering, management and journalism; industry speakers enrich the experience. To ground students in business reality, Northwestern interweaves real-world team projects and case studies into every semester.
In addition, Northwestern has impressively long practicums—8 months for an industry project, 3 months for the summer internship and 10 weeks for the capstone.
Applicants are expected to demonstrate their suitability for an analytics degree, including a cumulative undergraduate 3.0 GPA. A GRE or GMAT score is required.
For applicants who need some basic training in programming, Northwestern hosts a two-week boot camp with daylong instructional sessions from industry partners such as SAS, SPSS, Cognos, Tableau and others.
The part-time MSIS is a more flexible option than the MSIA, with a custom blend of campus and/or online classes. Here the emphasis is on software applications (design, implementation and evaluation) and information systems.
One of its major goals is to develop graduates who can develop and manage software projects. For those on the Analytics and Business Intelligence track, this means practical courses in key technologies and training in project management.
The School of Professional Studies (SPS) runs the online courses, which are fully accredited and taught by Northwestern faculty. Thanks to a partnership agreement, MSIS students also have access to all kinds of IBM resources, including free datasets, professional communities/networks and current IBM initiatives.
Applicants are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree (or the equivalent) and demonstrate strong academic ability. However, extensive experience in computer science or IT is not required and neither is the GRE or GMAT. Three to five years of professional experience puts an extra shine on the application.
University of Florida
The MS ISOM is an all-purpose degree that may work best for early careerists.
The curriculum for the Business Intelligence & Analytics Track is fixed (no electives), and courses are mix of stats, quantitative analysis, info systems and management. Those with an undergraduate business degree can take part in a corporate or on-campus internship. Graduates have earned jobs as data analysts, business analysts and information systems specialists.
UF is on our list because it appears in the top 50 of U.S. News & World Report rankings for quantitative analysis, stats, computer science and business schools. Warrington has 11 research centers, including an Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center, with labs, incubators and the $40,000 Big Idea Competition. UF also offers a combined BS/MS degree that allows students to “double-count” graduate courses toward both degrees.
All applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or higher and a 3.0 GPA, but there are no technical prerequisites. Students without a business background may need an additional semester of coursework to complete the program. A GRE or GMAT score is required.
University of Virginia
UVA’s 10-month program takes an enterprise-wide view of business, which means core credits are primarily concerned with management and strategy.
Having said that, students on the Business Analytics track can add 15 credit hours in analytics technologies and practices, including Hadoop-based software and advanced quantitative analysis. Case studies and industry practicums are combined with hands-on labs and seminars.
UVA has a sturdy reputation, especially in the ranks of business schools, and 300+ recruiters visit McIntire School of Commerce each year. Many MSC students are applying unusual undergraduate skill sets to global business, so McIntire also offers one-on-one career counseling and workshops to help students define their ambitions. A number of graduates end up as consultants.
The program is specifically designed for recent graduates with a strong liberal arts, science or engineering undergraduate degree. Students who have an undergraduate major in business (or equivalent coursework) are not eligible to apply. Little to no prior work experience is necessary, but there is prerequisite coursework in financial accounting, microeconomics and statistics.
University of California-Davis
Interdisciplinary to its core, the MSBA is a combo of hard-hitting analytics coursework and real-world industry training.
Data management, advanced stats, machine learning—all the usual suspects are here. But students also start their practicum from day one, working in teams on a year-long project for a corporate client. Faculty are pulled from both tech and management.
Career opportunities are worth considering. UC Davis has the advantage of being located in Northern California, home to the global tech industry and ten Fortune 100 companies. The Pacific Rim is driving innovation, and networking is rampant. The program welcomes international applicants who fulfill the admissions criteria.
Applicants are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree and have successfully completed coursework in computing and software engineering, mathematics and statistics & probability. A GRE or GMAT score is required.
This is a relatively new program, so please see the website for details on class profiles and career info.
Every student receives a grounding in global management, with courses that canvas everything from financial theory to business law. Those who choose the Business Analytics and Technologies concentration explore technologies, tools and applications. This area is focused less on “quant” skills and more on practical decision-making.
Global is a key word for UC Davis. The curriculum includes a study abroad quarter and an international study practicum, with executive meetings, factory visits and other appointments. Students are also expected to take part in leadership development, internships and MBA career fairs. During the 10-week management capstone, students have the opportunity to work on projects with Fortune 500 firms and Silicon Valley start-ups.
The MBA Admissions Committee considers a number of factors, including academic record and GRE or GMAT scores. Although there are no prerequisites, UC Davis suggests coursework in accounting, calculus, economics and statistics. Work experience is helpful, but not required—the program is open to both entry-level and mid-career applicants.
Targeted at entrepreneurs and analysts, Rutgers’s MBS is a judicious combo of the MS and the MBA. This Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree is built on industry-specific skills—over half of the courses are focused on data science and analytics; the remainder address the challenges of today’s business world.
The MBS emphasize interdisciplinary skills and includes a team-based summer practicum. To broaden their scope, students can pick and mix courses from Rutgers campuses; the college also hosts regular workshops in R, SAS, Stata, Python, Hadoop, etc.
Executive coaching is available for career placement and students produce an e-portfolio to show to employers. Part-time or full-time options are available; all classes are held in the evening, weekends or online.
The Admissions Committee will consider the big picture, including the GRE score and relevant work experience. Applicants should have bachelor’s degree in any major and a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Those without computing or statistics undergraduate may need to take introductory courses which can count towards the degree.
University of Rochester
Packed with technical training and business courses, this MSBA is popular with students looking for one-on-one coaching and a hands-on approach.
Classes are kept small, bootcamps are rife and industry practicums are incorporated into the curriculum. Students also have the choice of an 11-month program of study with no internship or a 17-month program with a summer internship.
Real world opportunities are emphasized. Along with recruiting/networking opportunities, career development events and corporate tours, UR also hosts speaker series and an annual case competition. Executive mentors provide help with networking and job preparation. Graduates have taken positions in everything from fraud protection and national security to insurance analysis.
The Admissions Committee considers a range of criteria, including prior coursework, GMAT/GRE scores, work experience and leadership potential. The great majority of candidates have less than 2 years of experience and have an undergraduate degree in business and commerce or math, science and engineering.
Michigan State University
MSU’s degree is designed to create the next generation of leaders in data management.
The one-year program is stuffed with hard-core analytics courses and applied learning experiences, led by faculty from the Broad College of Business, the College of Engineering and the College of Natural Science. Every semester, teams work with live data sets on real-world corporate problems. Experiential projects and internships are the name of the game.
For career-minded students, there is an Internship Fair and an annual conference focused on big data analysis, consumer insights and analytics. MSU also invites SAS and IBM SPSS software trainers to visit multiple times a year for on-site student training.
Applicants are expected to have a bachelor’s degree and a background in engineering, comp sci, math, economics and/or business. A knowledge of database management and familiarity with programming languages and statistical analysis software is recommended. A GRE or GMAT score is required.
Billed as an “MBA of analytics,” this interdisciplinary degree helps decision-makers gain key analytical skills in all aspects of industry.
Core courses include financial concepts, eCommerce and project management; specialization courses encompass a range of business analytics applications (e.g. enterprise risk analytics).
It’s online, which means that start times are flexible; students can finish the entire degree in as few as 24 months. Current students and alumni also have the option to supplement their degree with a specialty graduate certificate (e.g. international marketing). The MSABAM is EPAS-accredited by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD).
A bachelor’s degree is required. GRE/GMAT scores will strengthen the application, but aren’t necessary. It’s helpful if applicants have a foundational knowledge of business analytics. However, if they don’t, they can complete a 7-week long, non-credit lab—the Pre-Analytics Laboratory.
This concentrated degree is for computer professionals (or aspiring professionals) who want to dig into data analytics and big data. Unlike an MBA or a blended business program, this a truly technical degree.
In addition to studying theory and method, students also choose a specialty elective (e.g. cryptography, advanced game graphics, etc.) and may opt to write a thesis. There are no required business courses.
The MSCS is run by MET’s Department of Computer Science (DCS), which has been designated by the DHS and NSA as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and Information Assurance Research. The DCS organizes regular TECH Talks and hosts a job board on its website. Graduates of MS programs are eligible for the ACE-IT scholarship.
Applicants are expected to have a bachelor’s degree and a background in areas such as programming, discrete mathematics and computer systems.
Available in an online, blended or campus format, the MSCIS has a slightly broader focus than the MSCS. It’s directed at students who want both hands-on technical skills and a working knowledge of organizational and managerial issues.
The Data Analytics concentration focuses on foundations, quantitative methods, visualization, data mining, etc. Other concentrations (e.g. health informatics) are also available.
Like the MSCS, this degree is administered by the MET Department of Computer Science, which supports its students in a variety of ways (see the section on the MSCS above). BU also gets high marks for its online offerings. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked it #3 for Best Online Graduate Schools: Computer Information Technology. The MSCIS has been accredited by the Project Management Institute’s Global Accreditation Center (GAC) for Project Management.
Applicants are required to have a bachelor’s degree and are expected to have certain fundamentals in information technology; those that don’t will be required to take a foundation course.
University of IowaUI is aiming its master’s program directly at data professionals in the Iowa and eastern Illinois area. This work-friendly, skills-focused degree makes a point of addressing both concepts and tools.
Classes take place on weeknights and in the summer in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and Quad Cities locations. Coursework is hands-on and covers topics in analytics, programming, data science and industry (e.g. healthcare). In addition, there’s a team-based capstone and a final competition.
If a master’s degree is too much of a time commitment, there is also a 5-course, 15-hour certificate. In addition, up to two MBA courses can be counted toward the MS and all business analytics courses can be applied toward the MBA. Students also have the option to add an MBA to create a joint degree program.
Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree (or the equivalent). Since this program is part-time, however, international students outside the U.S. may not be eligible. GRE/GMAT scores are not required.
Iowa’s MBA is designed to benefit students through career-relevant concentrations, relationships with potential employers, and opportunities to gain real-world experience.
Students who choose the Business Analytics concentration learn concepts and tools, but with a unique focus on translating analysis into recommendations and communicating them within the framework of business strategy. Banking on world-renowned data science faculty, the Iowa MBA provides deep analytics expertise on top of a strong business foundation, resulting in a skill set that’s in high demand.
The program annually hosts the Iowa MBA Business Analytics Case Competition, attracting teams from high-profile analytics programs around the country.
Applicants should have at least two years of professional work experience. A GMAT or GRE score is required for all applicants.
North Carolina State University
Billed as the country’s first degree in advanced analytics, the MSA is a full-time, 10-month program for aspiring big data experts. The focus is on real-world applications. Instead of electives, students complete an integrated curriculum that’s heavy on stats and loaded with the latest practical methods & techniques in data science.
The true core of the program is an 8-month team-based practicum. Working in teams of 4-5, students must collaborate on a data challenge from a major business or organization. Practicum sponsors have included AT&T, Cigna, Disney, eBay, Red Hat, and a number of famous museums.
NCSU is located in Raleigh—in the heart of a booming data science scene—and it’s often found in the top 15 of U.S. News & World Report rankings for Best Graduate Schools: Statistics. What’s more, the MSA is the flagship degree of NCSU’s Institute for Advanced Analytics, which was one of three finalists for INFORM’s UPS George D. Smith Prize in 2016.
The MSA is open to new & recent grads and experienced pros—many students already have some graduate education under their belts. Applicants typically have an accredited bachelor’s degree and an academic background in math, statistics, engineering, science, computer programming, business, and/or economics. If you did not major (or minor) in math or statistics, you will need to complete prerequisites. A GRE or GMAT score is not required for admission.
Arizona State University
The MS-BA is a 9-month, full-time program for recent college graduates who wish to deepen their quantitative and analytical skills. A typical class profile often includes aspiring & current analysts with 0-5 years of work experience and an average age of 27.
To help students get up-to-speed on the fundamentals, ASU’s curriculum concentrates on the pillars of big data (e.g. stats, applied analytics, data mining, etc.) and their importance in business settings (e.g. quality management, marketing, strategy, etc.). A team-based corporate project is included.
The MS-BA is the work of ASU’s Department of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management, which is frequently ranked in the top 20 of Best Graduate Schools: Information Systems by U.S. News & World Report. The Department has an active Actionable Analytics Lab and Digital Society Initiative, as well as strong ties with industry partners.
Applicants should have a strong quantitative background and proficiency in statistics, calculus, and programming; many students have an undergraduate major in business, technology, math, science, or engineering. Prior work experience is not required for admission.
UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
The MSBAPM is a flexible full-time (one year) or part-time degree for busy professionals – students can join the program at the start of any regular semester. Better yet, the curriculum is designed to align with professional certification and accreditation exams from the SAS® Institute and the Project Management Institute (PMI).
Unlike a standard MSBA, UConn’s program makes a point of blending analytics concentrations (e.g. predictive modeling) with core management courses (e.g. project risks & costs). Students have the option to dive deeper into tools (e.g. Python, R, Hadoop) or areas of interest (e.g. international development). Electives can be chosen from the professional MBA program and may even include an internship.
The key word here is business. MSBAPM students work closely with corporate partners through UConn’s Experiential Learning Collaborative (ELC) and the Connecticut Center for Enterpreneurship and Innovation (CCEI), and must complete a real-world capstone course.
Applicants should have an accredited bachelor’s degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA (all 4 years or the last 2 years), and at least one-semester college-level calculus course with a grade of “C” or better on their transcript. Students come from business, liberal arts, engineering, and science backgrounds. Work experience is a plus, but not necessary. A GMAT or GRE score is required.
SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY
Offered full-time (9 months) or part-time (17 months), this MSBA program starts broad and gradually intensifies its focus. Business analyst, business consultant, marketing analyst, financial analyst, data scientist, data architect – these are the kinds of job titles that figure in applicants’ dreams.
SMU’s degree is a little unusual because it’s the brainchild of the IT and Operations Management (ITOM) Department and the Marketing Department. That means students can choose to specialize in database concepts and applications (Business Process Analytics) or marketing research practices and consumer-centric analytics (Customer Analytics). They can also take advantage of departmental research centers.
Career-building is a priority in the full-time program and domestic job placement can be as high as 100%. We should also point out that SMU is in Dallas, which is really heating up as a data science sector.
Applicants come from a wide range of backgrounds and often have undergraduate degrees in business, economics, math, engineering, and/or science. Academic experience in calculus and/or computer science is preferred, but not necessary. A GMAT or GRE score is required. If you submit both scores, the school will look at the best one.
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
George Washington University
Southern Methodist University
If you want to dig in further, you can also check out our state-by-state directory, or our lists of Master’s degrees in fields closely tied to business analytics, such as Applied Statistics, Business Intelligence Master’s Degrees, Data Science MBA Programs, or Health Informatics.