Masters in Business Analytics & Intelligence
Masters in business analytics programs focus on how to use data to make business decisions. Programs could examine everything from collecting that data in the first place to using it to form an actionable business plan. Courses could look at statistical analysis, data management, and more. Overall, masters in business intelligence programs don’t just focus on data. They look beyond it, aiming to help students understand and utilize it effectively.
What Is a Masters in Business Analytics Program?
Masters in business analytics programs are advanced degree programs which cover the concepts and methods behind business intelligence and analytics. But what does that mean? Business intelligence as a topic might cover the full spectrum of the data collection process. It could range from gathering information and storing it, to analyzing it in different ways and using it. As a topic, that can be somewhat broad. As a result, some programs might focus on one or a few parts of that process in detail rather than the full spectrum.
Generally, masters in business analytics programs take around two years to complete, assuming a full courseload. However, this may vary. It could depend on your preferences and schedule, and requirements at your selected school. Business analytics masters programs also tend to be somewhat career-oriented. They may design their curriculum with certain roles in mind, or focus on skills and knowledge that directly relate to work in the field.
Masters in Business Analytics Program Topics
Choosing your potential business intelligence masters programs is an important process. Especially considering how different programs might address business analytics in different ways. Some might accomplish that by focusing on a certain role or skill set. Others might survey the topic more broadly.
If you’re not sure where to start, it might help to think about what you’re actually looking for. For example, do you want a program that emphasizes business savvy? Maybe you want to work on more technical skills like statistical analysis? Then there are your career goals. Think carefully about the kinds of responsibilities you hold now or want to hold, and how they relate to your potential areas of study.
Areas of Focus in MIS Programs
- Business Analytics centers on more technical or scientific topics like statistical analysis. Courses in this subject area might look at the skills you could need to analyze data, and report on your findings.
- Predictive analytics, in some ways, could be seen as a more specialized version of business analytics. These programs might look at how to use statistical analysis skills to make business predictions. These projections could be used to help a company make plans or manage risk scenarios.
- Database management covers how to store, organize, and retrieve data. Programs may focus on building the technical skills to help manage large volumes of information. Some courses might examine querying live data sets, warehousing, and more.
- Information technology focuses on managing infrastructure to facilitate database management, data warehousing, reporting, and other essential business intelligence functions.
These are only a few topics that might be studied in a business intelligence program. Some programs might offer subject area concentrations, whereas others might survey a variety of areas. If you have any questions about this, reach out to your school to learn more about what they offer.
Business Intelligence vs. Business Analytics
Some masters in business analytics programs differentiate between the terms “business intelligence” and “business analytics.” Other schools might use these terms to mean the same thing. When they’re used to refer to different things, this is generally what they mean.
- Business Intelligence: This tends to be a broader category. It looks at the whole process of collecting data, understanding it, and using it. Business analytics, data warehousing, reporting, and other areas all fall under the umbrella of business intelligence.
- Business Analytics: This is all about understanding data that has been collected. In other words, if you have questions, business analytics focuses on how to break down data to find a solid answer. This could span from looking at past trends to predicting what might happen in the future.
Because there is some flexibility in how these terms are used, make sure you pay close attention to what your school offers. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your program for more information about this if you’re not sure!
Business Intelligence Masters Degree Types
Masters in business intelligence programs might award a few different types of degrees upon completion. As such, the type of degree you would prefer to earn might be a factor in which program you choose to attend. Two of the most frequently offered options in business intelligence are Master of Science and MBA in Business Intelligence and Analytics.
- MBA Business Analytics: These programs tend to be a little more generalized. That’s because they often discuss how business intelligence applies in a broader context. Earning an MBA in business analytics or intelligence could help to establish a more generalized business skill set.
- MS in Business Intelligence: These tend to be a little more specialized. Programs may focus more narrowly on business intelligence or business analytics. Some programs might even emphasize technical skills. This could potentially lead to a more specialized expertise than the MBA counterpart.
These might not be the only masters degree types you come across. Programs might also vary from the above descriptions. Follow up with your selected schools for more information about the kinds of degrees they offer and how that might impact their material.
Masters in Business Intelligence Programs: Learning Formats
Business intelligence masters programs might be offered in several unique formats. That means you could choose an option that fits your schedule, learning preferences, and lifestyle.
- Online Business Intelligence Masters Programs: Earning your masters in business intelligence online could bring an element of flexibility. That could allow you to balance your career with your education, and study conveniently from your own computer.
- Business Analyst Masters Degree Schools: Earning your business intelligence degree in a campus program may grant you access to a variety of supportive resources. You might find valuable networking opportunities studying with motivated professionals like yourself. Many schools even offer flexible scheduling options to accommodate your busy schedule.
The specifics of each program format may vary by institution. Additionally, you may come across options not listed here. As such, if you have specific needs, questions, or concerns, make sure you get in touch with your school for more information.
Potential Masters in Business Analytics Salary & Career Info
The technical and business skills you hone while earning a business analytics masters degree could be useful in a variety of positions throughout your career. Whether you’re currently in a position to use those analytical skills in your field, or aspire to a new career path, you might have a number of options.
Here are a few example related positions.
- Operations Research Analyst – $78,630 (2015 BLS Median Annual Salary)
- Statistician – $80,110 (2015 BLS Median Annual Salary)
- Management Analyst – $81,320 (2015 BLS Median Annual Salary)
- Market Research Analyst – $62,150 (2015 BLS Median Annual Salary)
Keep in mind that different analytical positions may have different prerequisites. Statisticians, for example, typically need at least a master’s degree at the entry level.ii Other positions may only require a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions.i,iii,iv However, some employers may express preference for a master’s degree, and master’s education may be a factor in advancement.
Take the Next Step with our List of 4 MIS Graduate Programs
Now you’re equipped with the information you need to start your search for a masters in information systems. The academic path you choose may depend largely on what you plan to do after you complete your degree. To a certain extent, you want to not only prepare yourself with an education but also the ‘right’ education for the type of career you want to lead.
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Purdue University Global
The Catholic University of America
The George Washington University