Perhaps you have always known that you could make things run better, if given half a chance. Maybe your calling in life feels like it is to make organizations and companies happier and more efficient. Possibly your mind suggests alternatives to operations and processes that cut out noise and waste, but you’re not sure how to get anyone to listen to you.
If so, you might be the right person for a management analyst job. This relatively new but quickly growing field is perfect for people who love the bird’s eye view and want to use it to help others improve. Whether you want to work for a specific organization or use your powers for the good of many different institutions, this degree will help you get there.
Today, we’ll take a look at some of the best master’s degrees to help you become a management analyst, as well as what exactly the role entails.
What Is a Management Analyst and What Do They Do?
“A management analyst is a consultant who works with a company to improve their overall efficiency and solve operational problems,” explains one university. Their goals are to:
- Help solve organizational issues and reduce impediments to normal operations and to growth goals
- Create greater value in everyday processes, from operations to management to marketing
- Increase the job performance of people at an institution
- Identify areas for improvement and innovation
Many management analysts “work for consulting agencies or are self-employed, so they can bring an outsider’s objective perspective to the company they’re serving at any given time,” adds the university. “They interview their clients’ managers and personnel, observe processes and procedures and analyze data to get an understanding of the full scope of the business and any issues they may be facing. Then they deliver recommendations for improvement and will often stay in touch with past clients to ensure these new systems are yielding the results the company hoped for.”
This job incorporates a range of skills from a range of different disciplines. They need to be able to interact with people, mine and clean data, analyze it and make recommendations, monitor systems, set up programs and workflows to help achieve their goals, and more. Because of this, they are a somewhat odd combination of businessperson and data scientist. Luckily, this combo is now reflected in a number of master’s degrees.
Master of Management Analytics
While this degree is somewhat rare compared to the following options, it is the most targeted. If your goal is to drive innovation and use your degree for the specific analysis of management and operations, this is the right degree. It will help you make data-driven decisions in pursuit of greater efficiency and innovation at a range of different organizational types, from private to public to government. Such a program benefits you in many ways:
- It gives you advanced technological skills. Understanding how to acquire and use data well is a cutting-edge and highly sought-after skill today. This degree will give you a thorough understanding of the best ways in which to mine, clean, sort and use data.
- It focuses on management skills as well. Management is a specialized skill set. You need to work well with people, motivating them to do better without oppressing them or making them feel undervalued. You need to maintain a view from above at all times, without compromising details. You need a header for numbers, finance and operations – and you need to be able to integrate all those disciplines into an instinctive feel for what’s working and what’s not. This is, obviously, a demanding set of tasks, which is why it’s so beneficial to have training in juggling them all.
- The program is customizable. Many graduate students have competing duties, such as family and work, which makes it important that any program they enroll in can accommodate existing responsibilities. The master of management is flexible, part time or full time, online or off, or a combo of both.
Master of Business Analytics
Looking for a more generalized use of data in business? The master of business analytics is the perfect choice. Rather than focusing only on management, this degree takes a broader view of commerce and industry. Focus areas include operations, marketing, HR, client relations and more, as well as management. When you hold this degree, you can help to create value and drive innovation in many corners of your organization. Benefits include:
- You have a broader array of job types from which to choose. Although management analysts – and people who use data science in general – are sought after, it’s never a bad thing to widen your possibilities.
- Your employers know they can use you for multiple endeavors. Again, having more to offer an organization is beneficial to you. It means that even if they don’t need a management analyst full time, they can still find work for you, and you can still add measurably to the organization.
- You’ll get lifelong data science skills. Even if you leave business entirely, knowing how to crunch numbers and squeeze meaning out of the smallest details is an especially valuable skill. You will find applications for it in almost any field, in almost any job you consider for the rest of your career.
Master of Data Science
If you’re most interested in the “analytics” side of management analytics, a master of data science might be the answer you’re looking for. This degree is also sometimes referred to as “applied data analytics,” but the meaning is the same: You identify patterns, trends and facts from the wealth of data produced by any given organization. Then you turn that information into meaningful guidance for moving forward. Whether that gets applied to management routines or elsewhere, it will always prove of value to your organization, making you in turn an asset worth keeping. When you get this degree, you can expect that:
- You will always face interesting challenges. Data science is nothing if not challenging. The ever-increasing amount of data, paired with the significant hardship of making sure that it is clean and usable, ensures that you’ll never get bored.
- You can set your own parameters and achieve work-life balance. There’s a lot of freedom in how you approach a degree in data science. With this degree, you can in many cases design your own job description to suit you, using your own valuable skills to address the problems outlined by your organization. That, or you can go freelance or work for a consulting firm. This makes work-life balance easier to achieve.
Master of Computer Science
Computer science is the foundation of data and analytics, no matter the field or the goal. With a solid understanding of what computer science is, how it works and how to leverage it, you are bound to prove valuable to any organization. For those whose interest lies along technological lines, feel free to pick up a computer science master’s degree with a concentration in management. This has a bunch of benefits, including:
- You will become an IT leader at your organization. If you want not only to analyze management but become management yourself, this is a good way to go. You’ll have the chops to work with a team under you.
- You will learn development. Web and software development are both invaluable skills today, and learning to do both will help you write and use routines to mine data, prepare it for analysis, and draw meaningful conclusions from it. This in turn helps you drive innovation.
- You can take this degree to almost any organization. With such a sought-after degree, you’ll have freedom of movement for the rest of your career.
Master of Business Administration
Today, an MBA is more useful than ever – and more focused on tech than ever before, too. If you are interested in management analytics but don’t want to relegate your job only to that, you might consider getting a master of business administration. This is the gold-standard degree for any type of business job, including those that drill down into the use of data. Reasons to get the MBA include:
- Most programs today will let you focus on data. If your primary interest is still the application of data to improvement of processes, then the MBA is a good choice. Your program will almost certainly encourage focus in a specific area, and management analytics is a good one.
- The master’s degree pairs perfectly with data-related undergraduate degrees. If you already have a degree in computer science, data science, programming, software engineering or another IT concentration, then consider getting the MBA as a complement to it. That way, you have the best of both worlds and can confidently present yourself to employers as a management analyst.
- The MBA is always useful. No matter where you want to work, when and for whom, the MBA commands respect. If you’re not sure what you want to do long term, or want to try management analytics without committing long term, you can’t go wrong with this master’s degree.