An M.S. in Business Analytics (M.S./B.A.) is intended to help you identify opportunities hidden in big data and apply these findings to real-world business challenges. Data analysts provide organizations with ideas for smarter strategic management, improved financial performance and better operational efficiencies.
It’s a wide-ranging and challenging discipline. Successful graduates may find themselves analyzing everything from consumer behavior and social media to supply-chain and marketing data.
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
George Washington University
Southern Methodist University
M.S./B.A. degrees usually take one to two years to complete. You’ll typically be required to take a variety of core courses in data analytics and business (e.g., financial accounting), as well as electives in a specific field of interest. Many programs include a capstone project or practicum.
Typical courses include:
- Business data analytics
- Operations research
- Project management
- Database analysis
- Predictive analytics
Check your preferred school for specific admission requirements. Some will expect an undergraduate degree in economics, mathematics, engineering, business, computer science, statistics or a related field.
On a related note, The M.S. in Marketing Analytics (M.S./M.A.) has developed to help marketers manage the explosion of consumer information. Marketers are now expected to make data-driven decisions based on quantitative analysis. Customer-centric approaches have replaced product-focused models. M.S./M.A. programs blend classes on statistics and data analytics with relevant marketing subjects (e.g., customer insight). In addition to the core syllabus, schools usually include a wide variety of electives (e.g., international marketing) and an internship or practicum. Some also offer specific concentrations.
Typical courses include:
- Marketing management
- Advanced marketing analysis
- Customer analysis
- Statistical programming
- Quantitative methods
- Database management
- Data mining and visualization
- Applied marketing research
The big word in business analytics today is prescriptive analytics. While predictive analytics looks at what may happen, prescriptive analytics focuses on why things are happening and recommending appropriate courses of action.
For example, Google has been experimenting with a self-driven car that can anticipate what might be coming round the bend and determine what effect its decisions will have on the ultimate outcome.
The second important trend is consolidation. As data barriers (e.g., siloes) fall away and new sources of data (e.g., sensors) proliferate, analytics is moving to the center of the enterprise. As Timo Elliott notes:
“The next generation of information infrastructures will combine big data, transactional data, analytic data and ‘content’ into a single, coherent set of services that Gartner calls an ‘information capabilities framework.'”
And it is business data analysts who will be responsible for managing this framework.
Business Analytics in Action
We found 194 universities in our directory offering Business Analytics programs.
We have another page that provides detailed profiles of all the online Master's in Business Analytics programs in our database: you can find it here.
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