Careers that harness the power of data will continue to be popular for the foreseeable future. That’s one reason why so many young people, working professionals and those looking to make a career change are interested in pursuing formal training in data science fields like business analytics, market research and decision engineering.
This is a broad field with many possible educational paths, and master’s degrees in business analytics are known by many names and can offer a range of focus areas. The good news for students is that more and more colleges and universities are launching these exciting degrees, which gives learners a wide range of options.
Learn more about master’s degrees in business analytics offered in your state, including what you need to know to make a wise decision about which school is best for you.
Business Analytics Master’s Degree Programs by State
Because this field encompasses so many job titles and degrees, there isn’t a single degree that applies here. Rather, business analytics master’s degrees could range from the obvious (Master of Business Analytics) to the less-than-obvious, like a Master of Business Administration, or MBA. While that gives students many degree types to sort through, it also means that there’s probably a program near you, regardless of where you live.
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
A Guide to Choosing the Best Master’s in Business Analytics Program for You
Because there are hundreds of programs that fit under this umbrella, it’s especially important to weigh all your options against the factors that matter to you. Some may be more important to you than others, so it’s wise to keep an open mind when considering which programs to put on your short list.
Here’s a look at the most important areas to consider when it comes to Master of Business Analytics programs.
Earning a degree from a program accredited by well-respected organizations can be helpful in any field, and the same is true for business analytics. While it’s not necessarily a requirement for employment, many business analytics students choose to limit their search to programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
If your career plan includes working more on the business or administrative side of business analytics, it’s probably in your best interest to ensure you attend an AACSB-accredited program. The designation can serve as a shorthand way to signal that the program you attended meets the standards employers expect. But if you’re less interested in the business side of the field, this may not be as important. Accreditation also can be important when it comes to securing financial aid or transferring credits.
Other accrediting organizations include regional bodies, such as the Higher Learning Commission and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and business-education accrediting groups like the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, though it’s not always required that the degree be in business or even a data science-related field. Some but not all programs require applicants to submit recent scores on the GRE or GMAT, and essay/personal statement requirements vary by college or university.
Figuring out the job you want can be a helpful way to reverse-engineer your educational decision. That’s because every program is a bit different in the coursework it offers, so if you have a strong feeling about a career path, you can look for a curriculum that offers courses in that area. Some of the most common jobs in business analytics include:
- Business Analyst
- Financial Analyst
- Management Consultant
- Decision Engineer
- Quantitative Modeler
- Operations Research Specialist
- Research Scientist
- Machine Learning Scientist
- Data Science Consultant
Jobs that skew more technical will require a master’s degree heavy in courses that speak to those areas, such as programming or computer science, while executive-level jobs in business analytics should blend those competencies with leadership training.
Typically, programs based at public institutions will be more affordable for the average student, but many private colleges and universities also offer relatively affordable master’s degrees in business analytics. Also, it’s wise to keep your return on investment in mind, as data science jobs are in high demand, and it’s likely that obtaining this degree will help you level-up your earning potential. That said, it’s reasonable to assume you’ll need to invest at least $35,000 to earn a master’s degree in this field, and costs rise sharply from there.
We’ve touched upon this, but keep in mind that there’s not a single degree that fits the bill as a Master of Business Analytics, though that’s one possible degree title. That’s because many programs combine data science with business education to create a degree that could apply when seeking a business analytics job.
Here’s a look at the most common degrees you’ll find in this field:
- Master of Business Analytics
- Master of Science in Business Analytics
- Master of Business Administration, Business Analytics Concentration
- Master of Information Technology
- Master of Science in Analytics
- Master of Science in Applied Analytics
- Master of Quantitative Management
- Master of Business & Science in Analytics
- Master of Science in Applied Business Analytics Management
- Master of Science in Business Intelligence
Typically, a degree with “science” in its name will include more technology-focused coursework than those without, which could mean a heavier focus on things like hands-on programming. On the other hand, degrees that are business-forward will focus more on management and leadership education.
Some but not all degrees in this field can be earned online, but online programs are common enough that most students should be able to find a degree that fits the bill if they aren’t able to attend classes in-person.
Most programs require an internship, which counts for course credit, and it’s common to be required to complete a capstone course. In most cases, this consists of working on a real-life data science problem, often in a team with your academic cohort, professors or other industry professionals.
In some programs, there’s little room for electives or specialty focus areas, and this is especially the case for degrees that already are very specific. However, most programs offer students a chance to tailor their education to their specific interests, going beyond the degree itself to build expertise in an area that speaks to their passions.
Some of the most common include:
- Supply chain
- Market research
Many students, particularly applicants outside the U.S., will be interested in master’s degrees that have a STEM designation. This is an important signifier for many international students thanks to the nature of student visa rules, and for many students who are based in the U.S., this designation is desirable given that it indicates a program has a science or technology focus.
This is applicable for students interested in highly technological fields like machine learning, programming and related areas.
Time to Completion
Like most master’s degrees, a Master of Business Analytics will generally take at least 18 months to complete, though some programs are designed to be completed in about a year. Attending on a full-time basis is the best way to earn your degree quickly, though even those who attend part-time typically will only need three to four years to finish their degrees.
Many jobs in our modern economy touch on the use of analytics, and professionals with the formal training and experience in data science and analytics should have no trouble finding work in pretty much any field. Earning a Master of Business Analytics or similarly named degree is an investment, there’s no doubt, but if you’re into numbers, you already know the chances are good that you’ll find an exciting and fulfilling career at the end.