Is a Masters in Business Analytics Worth It?

Improving your career through education is one of the most straightforward routes to the top. With deeper knowledge and the weight of a good institution behind you, you have a much better chance of getting a great job and being happy in your career.

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Before you apply to or enroll in a program, however, it’s always smart to make sure that the degree is one you’ll appreciate later on. Will it give you the salary and employment opportunity you’re looking for? Will it teach you skills you enjoy and that impress your employers? Will you have access to jobs you enjoy upon graduation? These are all questions you should answer before moving forward.

Luckily, this post is here to do just that, so read on.

Business Analytics: What Is It?

This is a tough question to answer, mostly because business analytics programs across the country haven’t standardized their offerings. However, you can break down business and data analytics in three general categories:

  • Business Analytics: strongly geared toward using data to make business decisions
  • Business Data Analytics: another way of saying business analytics, though in some cases, programs place a heavier emphasis on the data side and a reduced emphasis on the operations and management aspects
  • Data Analytics: a degree focused entirely on data science, manipulation of numbers, algorithms and machine learning

Business analytics steers away from pure data manipulation and management, though there is a heavy degree of that as well, and focuses more on using data to make the right business moves.

SEE ALSO: See Online Ranked Master’s in Business Analytics Degrees

Salary and Employment Opportunity

The most straightforward answer to the question of whether this master’s degree is worth it is whether you can make good money doing it, and the answer is an unequivocal yes.

EXPERT VOICE: Is a Masters in Business Analytics worth it? The exact definition of the term “data scientist” is still developing. It depends a bit on exactly what you want to do. If you want to be more like a traditional analyst, then a Masters in Business Analytics is going to be helpful. If you want to work at a tech company with large datasets, that program is only going to be helpful if it’s very statistics and programming heavy. You might be better off getting a masters in statistics or computer science, rather than business analytics. A bootcamp is also a good option. –Claudia Gold, Data Scientist at Good Eggs; Formerly at Airbnb, MIT

It’s hard to say exactly what someone with a master’s in business analytics can make, just because the exact job titles you might take on upon graduation are so different. Some people might focus on optimizing computer systems, while others might put their insights toward market research and still others toward operational efficiency. Also, since many of these roles are attainable with only a bachelor’s degrees, many of the sources on salary underreport, at least compared to what someone with a graduate degree can make.

Keep in mind, therefore, that the following numbers are all averages of what you can make with only a bachelor’s degree. With a master’s degree in business analytics, you can command higher positions, more leadership, better perks and bonuses, and a greater salary overall. Still, here’s a rundown of the types of positions you might get and what they pay:

  • Operations Research Analyst: Potential average salary for an operations research analyst is $83,390 per year or $40.09 per hour. The job is growing at a rate of 27 percent, according to projects between 2016 and 2026, which is classified as much faster than average. Anyone who graduates with the skills to become an operations research analyst is pretty much guaranteed a job, and a good one.
  • Computer Systems Analyst: This job also commands a high salary, averaging $88,740 per year or $42.66 per hour, with jobs growing as fast as normal (at a rate of 9 percent). If you like computers, then the combination of the right challenge and the right salary is definitely here.
  • Management Analyst: People in this role make an average of $83,610 per year, which translates to $40.20 per hour. With jobs growing at a rate of 14 percent, you know that there will always be roles available, which will mean even greater potential salary rates as companies fight to get their hands on good analysts.

As you can see, both the potential salary and employment opportunities are there. The above numbers only increase as you add a master’s to the mix, and considering that most master’s degrees in business analytics are only 12-24 months at the outside, you can get one without creating an overwhelming amount of student debt.

Now the question becomes, will you like the job?

Skills Taught in a Business Analytics Master’s Program

The role of a business analytics employee will reflect the skills taught in a business analytics program, for obvious reasons: You need to be prepared to take on the duties of your job once you graduate. Therefore, a glance at the skills taught in a program is a good measure of how much you’ll enjoy any job you can get using that degree.

Again, these skills vary from program to program, and some are more heavily focused on data than others. However, most programs will share a core combination of business and data management. The most pertinent of these skills include:

  • Data Manipulation and Management: Although a business analytics degree is not necessarily as deeply data-oriented as a data analytics degree, business analysts must still be able to recognize, manipulate and manage data. That often means writing computer programs or algorithms to help them do that, as well as understanding data management architectures.
  • Computer Science and Programming: Due to the above need, students in business analytics usually get a strong dose of computer science and programming, and perhaps some software engineering as well. This enables them to create the algorithms they need to extract the meaning they need from data.
  • Information Technology: Many business analysts focus on the streamlining and optimization of computer systems to help business run more smoothly. That means they need IT skills, such as web development, networking and application development.
  • Management: Business is nothing without good management. Since business analysts must use data in order to inform business decisions, they need to understand business itself, and that often starts with management. Improving the efficiency of management alone can often make a huge difference in a business’s bottom line.
  • Operations: Most businesses run on strict schedules and protocols – or at least, they should. Business analytics experts come in, using data to assess what is working and what isn’t, and giving recommendations on how to improve operations.

Potential Jobs for a Business Analytics Graduate

With these skills in the bag, you have the opportunity to get many jobs, including:

These are just a few of the careers for which you might be suitable if you get a master’s in business analytics. The good news, there are so many options for getting a master’s, part time or full time, online or on campus. If you have more question about this master’s degree before you get started, we invite you to get in touch and ask them . Either way, the answer is yes … this degree is worth it, so start today.