Among the most in-demand skills in the job market today, is mastery of data science. In fact, a major study indicated that more than two in three business leaders today prefer job candidates with data skills and experience, but only about a quarter of educators think grads will have these skills.
So, if you’re considering a master’s degree in business analytics, you’re already way ahead of the curve in building the type of skill set that will make you a sought-after candidate in today’s job market — and in the job market of tomorrow.
What aspects should prospective business analytics students look for when weighing master’s programs, what is their short-term and long-term salary outlook, and which jobs are most likely to provide the best return on their educational investment?
Options for Business Analytics Master’s Degrees
Particularly for students who haven’t yet decided on their exact educational journey, it can be useful to consider your ideal job in business analytics and work backward, though most business analytics programs will have some standard learning outcomes.
If you have designs on opening your own business or becoming a high-level executive within an organization, getting a Master of Business Administration (MBA) can be a useful tool in making that happen. On the other hand, if your preference is to work in a specific field — healthcare informatics, for example — you may consider a degree with relevant coursework that speaks to that specialization.
A Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) is the most widely applicable degree in the field of business analytics, but other degrees include several types of MBAs, Master of Information Science (MIS) and Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS).
Here’s a look at some of the hard and soft skills most business analytics master’s degrees will cover:
- Data mining and modeling
- R and Python programming languages
- SQL database language
- Data visualization
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Several major specializations, concentrations or focus areas may be available, depending on the specific master’s program. The most commonly available include:
- Talent (HR)
- Supply chain
- Real estate
- Project management
- Information systems
Programs range from very affordable degrees, mostly offered by state schools, to major financial investments in degrees at Ivy League institutions. Generally, if you’re considering state schools, you can expect to spend between $15,000 and $20,000 to earn your degree, which usually will take about two years. If a private school is what you have in mind, expect to spend at least $30,000, with elite institutions charging upwards of $75,000 for master’s degrees in business analytics.
Overall Business Analytics Salary Outlook
The best way to make sure you get a return on your educational investment is to make yourself an attractive candidate in the business analytics field. It’s important to note, however, that business analytics comprises a widely applicable set of skills, so there’s no one type of organization that will be considering you as a candidate. Even nonprofits, schools and government agencies require the services of business analytics professionals.
Also, there are dozens of potential job titles that could apply to the skills you have and the career you want to build for yourself. That means there isn’t a single job title to consider when doing salary research, but business analytics jobs tend to be high-paying.
For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists an average annual salary for Data Scientists of $100,560, while Compensation and Benefits Managers can expect to earn an average of $123,030.
Annual average salary for select business analytics jobs
|Compensation and Benefits Managers||$134,210|
|General and Operations Managers||$123,030|
|Operations Research Analysts||$90,600|
|Market Research Analysts||$71,570|
|Compensation, Benefits and Job Analysis Specialists||$69,840|
Among the jobs with available BLS data, Statisticians have the highest projected job growth through 2028, with openings expected to rise by more than 30%.
Projected change in job openings by select business analytics jobs, 2018-2028
|Operations Research Analysts||25.7%|
|Market Research Analysts||20.4%|
|General and Operations Managers||6.9%|
|Compensation, Benefits and Job Analysis Specialists||6.0%|
|Compensation and Benefits Managers||2.4%|
Salary Outlook for Business Analytics Careers
The salary outlook tends to be better for those who will require highly specialized training, and the more specific the job, in most cases, the more in-demand the job-seeker will be. Let’s take a look at the daily expectations of business analytics professionals and what compensation they can expect to earn, according to sources like the BLS, Indeed, Payscale and more.
Job description: Gather and analyze data in broad or specific areas to create detailed market forecasts.
Salary range (BLS): $59,450-$185,020
Machine Learning Specialist
Job description: Develop algorithms to support organizational goals, measure results and implement improvements.
Salary range (Payscale): $73,000-$166,000
Job description: Conduct deep analysis of past economic and market data to develop strategies for stock trading and investments, often writing programs to automate analysis.
Salary range (Payscale): $59,000-$164,000
Compensation and Benefits Manager
Job description: Manage human resources departments and/or teams that plan and oversee programs within companies to determine salary rates and compensation of employees.
Salary range (BLS): $69,870-$163,980
Job description: Gather and analyze data relevant to job duties, establish and maintain databases to enhance future data-gathering and build tools to automate information processes.
Salary range (BLS): $52,720-$158,060
General and Operations Manager
Job description: Plan and coordinate internal operations of an organization, analyzing and ensuring efficiency and profitability.
Salary range (BLS): $44,710-$157,120
Job description: Study and analyze organizational operations and recommend changes and improvements to enhance efficiency and profitability.
Salary range (BLS): $49,700-$154,310
Job description: Collect and analyze numerical data relevant to organizational goals using mathematics and algorithmic techniques.
Salary range (BLS): $52,690-$146,770
Operations Research Analyst
Job description: Gather and analyze data relevant to organizational goals, using advanced statistical techniques to improve decision-making.
Salary range (BLS): $48,670-$140,790
Job description: Use database queries and programming languages to develop algorithms that help organizations make sense of large sets of data.
Salary range (Indeed): $84,000-$130,000
Market Research Analyst
Job description: Monitor and analyze sales trends, construct consumer data gathering methods and measure effectiveness of sales and marketing campaigns.
Salary range (BLS): $34,$122,630
Job description: Monitor, coordinate and analyze organization’s supply chain or lifecycle of business products, using analytics to manage flow and avoid disruptions.
Salary range (BLS): $44,020-$120,400
Job description: Plan and oversee all aspects of organizational projects from start to finish, typically working within one department but sometimes overseeing related programs in a company.
Salary range (Payscale): $46,000-$119,000
Compensation, Benefits and Job Analysis Specialist
Job description: Gather and analyze employee compensation data within and outside organizations to ensure competitive packages for current staff and future hires.
Salary range (BLS): $40,140-$105,600
Business Intelligence Analyst
Job description: Develop tools to gather, measure and store customer data, recommend improvements and ensure databases are maintained and accessible.
Salary range (Payscale): $50,000-$100,000
Job description: Assess level of security risk of organization’s systems, conduct simulated breaches to test security measures and recommend protection improvements.
Salary range (Indeed): $45,000-$100,000
Healthcare Data Analyst
Job description: Compile and analyze medical practice or healthcare organization data and recommend measures to deliver optimal patient care and improve organizational efficiency.
Salary range (Indeed): $50,000-$75,000
Digital Media Analyst
Job description: Plan and manage organizational campaigns related to online advertising, marketing, social media and other digital outreach, using data analysis to guide decisions.
Salary range (Indeed): $42,000-$75,000
Even low-end salaries for those with business analytics education tends to be higher than the average salary for all workers in the U.S., and high-end wages are attractive to say the least. For those with graduate education in the field, the chances are quite good of getting a job that will make your effort and investment well worth it.
Salary by State
- Alabama Business Analytics Salary
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- Wisconsin Business Analytics Salary
- The Business Higher Education Forum, BHEF Report Recommends Eight Actions for Closing Data Science and Analytics Skills Gap. (2017.) Retrieved from https://www.bhef.com/news-events/releases/bhef-report-recommends-eight-actions-closing-data-science-and-analytics-skills
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2021.) Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
- U.S. Labor Department Projections Central, Long-Term Projections. (Undated.) Retrieved from https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm