Business Administration

Top Career Paths for MBA Graduates in Analytics

Top Career Paths for MBA Graduates in Analytics
Business analytics utilizes big data to drive business analysis, forecasting, and decision-making. Image from Unsplash
Lucien Formichella profile
Lucien Formichella June 25, 2021

An analytics MBA combines business with big data to prepare you for excellent jobs across many industries, including marketing, finance, and management analytics.

MBA/Business Programs You Should Consider

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General Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees have long prepared graduates for executive-level positions. However, as modern business needs change, analytics MBAs are becoming an increasingly popular choice among those seeking to optimize their education and their resumes. Nearly every industry seeks professionals who can utilize big data to make business decisions. Those with an analytics MBA can assume leadership positions in various sectors, including marketing, finance, and consulting.

Analytics can help with everything from decision-making to strategy to improving business relationships. According to one senior risk manager quoted in a Deloitte study, “Quantitative analysis enables us to anticipate the future rather than having to react after the event. And that can have a tremendous impact on our financial performance.” Combining analytics with excellent business practices you’ll learn in an MBA program can take your career to the next level.

Read on to learn more about analytics MBA top jobs and how earning this degree can give you the tools to be an actor rather than a reactor.

This article covers:

  • What is an Analytics MBA (AMBA)?
  • AMBA admissions
  • AMBA curriculum
  • Why choose an AMBA over an MS in Business Analytics?
  • Potential AMBA careers
  • Can I get an Analytics MBA online?

What is an Analytics MBA (AMBA)?

Most MBA programs offer areas of concentration or specialization. Analytics is among the more popular MBA concentrations. Others include:

The Stevens Institute of Technology Analytics MBA “present[s] traditional themes like strategy, marketing, finance, and accounting through an analytical, problem-solving lens, with an emphasis on applying data-intensive methods to industry challenges.” It teaches students to utilize data analysis, business intelligence, and even information technology techniques to advance and improve business operations.

Most AMBA programs claim the title MBA in Business Analytics. Still, names are less important than what you learn; programs usually focus on helping graduates become experts at utilizing data to make business decisions. Like Stevens Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago Booth program includes coursework related to big data, statistics, and advanced analytics.

While programs often cover the same base topics, curricula can differ. Some programs are more technically focused than others—they may include advanced machine learning or artificial intelligence techniques. Research what each school offers before applying.

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AMBA admissions

AMBA programs typically require the same admissions standards as general MBA programs. Most expect students to have at least two years of work experience. Top programs may require a GMAT score over 720. Others set less stringent benchmarks.

Other typical requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s degree transcripts: Also, transcripts for any other graduate programs you’ve completed.
  • Interview: Make your case in person.
  • Letters of recommendation: Often two or three from a mix of former professors and employers.
  • Personal essay(s): Showcase your desire to be in the program and outline your goals.
  • Resume: Report your prior work and educational experience.

AMBA curriculum

You’ll typically complete traditional business strategy-focused MBA coursework first, then specialize in analytics. Students most often complete their specialization and electives during their second year. Core MBA subjects include:

  • Accounting
  • Business ethics
  • Economics
  • Financial management
  • Leadership
  • Marketing

Common analytics subjects are:

  • Applied analytics methodologies
  • Business analytics
  • Data analytics
  • Data visualization
  • Machine learning
  • Predictive analytics
  • Statistics

Individual programs may have slightly different layouts, but you’ll likely have a range of available courses to choose from to complete your specialization (also called a concentration). Booth’s curriculum, for example, includes computer science topics relating to the major programming languages like R, Python, and C++, artificial intelligence, and machine learning coursework. These subjects involve identifying technical solutions to fit specific problems and learning techniques like clustering and time-series mining.

At University of Pennsylvania Wharton, course titles include Fin-Tech, Data Science for Finance, and Forecasting Methods for Management. Students can also complete programming-focused coursework, including classes that utilize R and Python. Wharton students can complete machine learning courses through the engineering department.

It’s good to check your chosen school’s course listings before applying. If you want to make machine learning a substantial aspect of your education, Penn may not be the best option, although it’s an excellent program—it’s just that other schools focus more intently on machine learning. You can specialize within a business analytics concentration by choosing specific coursework that fits your ultimate goals.

Why choose an AMBA over an MS in Business Analytics?

An MS in Business Analytics is another excellent degree option that can lead to high salaries. There are significant differences between the two degrees, but both can be quite valuable.

According to the Carnegie Mellon University business school blog, MBAs are primarily for those with a business background, while MS degrees target more technically minded students. Completing an MS allows you to pursue careers requiring the practical application of data science. According to the article, MBA “courses are more theoretical and focus on the broad application of data analytics to improve business outcomes.”

While you may learn about modeling and data mining in an MBA program, an MS builds more technical skills in the degree. To put it another way, earning an MBA prepares you for management positions, while an MS typically leads to high-level technical positions.

You can earn excellent money with an MS in business analytics. Potential careers include:

Potential AMBA careers

According to a World Economic Forum report from 2018, 96 percent of surveyed companies anticipated hiring workers with big data and analytics skills. Additionally, a combined analytics and management background can lead to highly desirable career options, even outside traditional analytics roles.

Consulting

Consulting is one of the largest sectors that MBA graduates enter—no matter their specialty. Over a quarter (26 percent) of the Harvard University 2020 MBA class became consultants, for example.

Marketing manager

According to a Salary.com study, 37 percent of surveyed marketing managers hold a master’s degree. This often means an MS or MBA in marketing, but that’s not a strict requirement.

According to US News & World Report, marketing manager is one of the “5 Hot Jobs for MBA Graduates”. It typically involves identifying new strategies to help companies improve their sales. Digital marketing generates a substantial amount of usable data. Managers utilize marketing analytics to identify ideal practices, and a modern marketing manager utilizes excellent forecasting skills to identify areas of demand. They must also develop success metrics.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), marketing managers earned a median income of $141,490 in 2020.

Financial manager

This is another position that doesn’t necessarily require an MBA. While there are personal financial managers, these professionals typically work for institutions and are responsible for maintaining a business’s financial health.

They must be excellent forecasters with a firm grasp of data analytics. Managers perform technical financial analysis, strategic business planning, and financial risk analysis.

Financial officers have duties like asset management and profit and loss reporting. A background in data management can be helpful, particularly if your responsibilities include evaluating proposals or conducting cost-benefit analysis.

The BLS reports that financial managers earned a median income of $134,180 in 2020.

General and operational manager

According to the BLS, general and operations managers don’t fit into a single management or administrative sector. Their duties include:

  • Formulating policies
  • Managing daily operations
  • Creating plans for human resources and materials

Operations managers can work several different sectors—you may specialize in such areas as retail, supply chain management, or human resources. This is a job that requires excellent communication skills and business acumen. You must be a great project manager and (of course) be comfortable utilizing data.

The BLS considers these professionals “top executives,” meaning that an MBA can help reach the position. In 2020, the median annual wage for these professionals was $123,880.

Information security analyst

A strong technical background is usually required to become an information security analyst, where you perform tasks like scanning for data breaches. You can earn this position with an MBA—usually in information systems management.

If you decide to earn an MBA, it’s more likely that you’ll become an information security manager. These professionals create organization-wide security plans and manage the team that implements them.

Information security managers earn nearly $118,000 per year, according to PayScale.

Management analyst

Companies often hire management analysts as consultants to assess their business. These professionals typically have MBAs and spend a substantial amount of time poring over data and financial records. They can utilize data science methods to identify issues and areas of improvement.

According to the BLS,management analysts earned a median annual income of just under $90,000 in 2020. However, top consultants can earn far more. According to PayScale, the top ten percent of consultants earn at least $144,000.

Financial analyst

While you’re more likely to become a financial manager than analyst, it is possible to earn this position with an MBA. Senior financial analysts spend time with data trying to identify areas of improvement—including where businesses can make investments. According to PayScale, the average senior financial analyst earns around $80,000 annually.

Other financial management positions include chief financial officer, a position that engages in company-wide financial management techniques. These professionals take on responsibilities like managing risk and tracking cash flow. CFOs are considered top executives and earn an average annual salary of over $136,000, though many salaries go far higher. Bonuses, performance incentives, and stock options can increase the value of their compensation substantially.

Can I get an Analytics MBA online?

Yes, you can get an Analytics MBA online. Most online MBA programs are similar if not identical to their in-person counterparts in curriculum and graduation requirements. Students complete the same courses and compete for the same job titles as graduates from in-person programs, meaning programs are effectively of the same quality. They earn identical degrees when they graduate.

The main difference typically lies in the program format. Naturally, online programs have fewer in-person networking opportunities, though many ask students to attend events on campus. Traditionally, in-person programs are full-time, while online programs have the reputation of being flexible. They usually appeal to part-time students looking to maintain their careers through school.

Top online MBA programs can be found at:

  • Creighton University
  • Ohio University (Main Campus)
  • Pennsylvania State University – World Campus
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • University of Maryland – College Park
  • University of Massachusetts – Amherst
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • The University of Texas at Dallas

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