Business Intelligence & Analytics

How Much Will You Make With a Master’s in Business Analytics?

How Much Will You Make With a Master’s in Business Analytics?
The MBA is less focused on the hard science of data and more focused on business management. The data analytics program focuses more intently on the technical side of data, i.e., how to mine, clean, and model it. Image from Unsplash
Lucien Formichella profile
Lucien Formichella March 30, 2023

A master's in business analytics can help you land a plum job applying data analytics to business problems. These positions pay well; their prospects for future advancement are even better

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According to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s 2022 survey of corporate recruiters, 59 percent of US employers surveyed hired candidates with a Master of Business Analytics in 2021, with 67 percent expecting to do the same in 2022. Limit the field to Global Fortune 100 companies and those figures jump to 74 and 80 percent.

A master’s degree doesn’t just improve your chances of getting hired. It also boosts your prospects for landing a better job, one with a higher salary and bonuses and with better opportunities for advancement.

Tech is a lucrative sector, especially when it intersects with business. Even so, salaries in the analytics field vary significantly. The average business analyst earns just over $60,000 per year. That’s not going to put you in a Ferrari with binary decals on the sides (unless you’re looking for the Matchbox version).

In contrast, a business intelligence director earns an average annual salary of over $127,000. That’s the kind of role a master’s in business analytics sets you up for.

A good MSBA program, like the one at Carnegie Mellon University, “aims to help students transition into these higher-level positions by enhancing their analytical skill sets with business acumen.” The degree prepares graduates to use business intelligence to generate success for themselves and their company.

Learn what it takes to make six figures in this article on master’s in business analytics salary. In it, we discuss:

  • What is a master’s in business analytics?
  • Why earn a master’s in business analytics?
  • Where should you earn a master’s in business analytics?
  • How much will you make with a master’s in business analytics?

What is a master’s in business analytics?

A master’s in business analytics is different from a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Business Analytics or master’s in data analytics.

In what ways? The MBA is less focused on the hard science of data and more focused on business management. The data analytics program focuses more intently on the technical side of data, i.e., how to mine, clean, and model it. The master’s in business analytics adapts the data analytics approach and applies it to business contexts.

Most master’s degree programs take two years for a full-time student to complete; part-timers can take up to five years to earn their degrees. At the other extreme are accelerated programs , which whisk students through the curriculum in under a year.

Business analytics programs focus on three classes of analytics:

  • Predictive: forecasting future trends
  • Prescriptive: offering guidance
  • Descriptive: providing detail and insight into a specific problem or situation

Students learn how to interpret data sets and improve their data visualization and modeling capabilities. Depending on the program’s focus, you can also learn other deep analytics skills like machine learning and how to wrangle big data.

Courses offered in business analytics programs can include:

  • Analytics in Practice
  • Data Analytics
  • Data Management
  • Decision Analysis
  • Financial Management
  • Learning Structures and Time Series
  • Machine Learning
  • Predictive Modeling
  • Optimization Models and Methods
  • Software Tools
  • Supply Chain Analytics

Some programs offer areas of concentration so students can specialize. Columbia University, for example, offers four:

  • Analytics, algorithms, and methodology
  • Financial analysis and financial technology
  • Healthcare analytics
  • Marketing analytics

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Why earn a master’s in business analytics?

A Master of Science in Business Analytics is an excellent option for those who have accumulated work experience in data analytics and are ready to advance to a more senior role. It also serves those who hope to change fields from an adjacent (or occasionally even totally unrelated) career.

Where should you earn a master’s in business analytics?

It depends. If you are a working professional who can’t afford to take a two-year break from your job, an online master’s program might be the best fit. If you need to stay local for personal reasons, that, too, will limit your choices.

The general—perhaps too obvious—rule of thumb is to attend the best master’s program available. Top graduate programs offer more than an excellent education—they also provide the best opportunities for networking, which means better career opportunities and higher earning potential.

Top schools offering a MS in business analytics include:

How much will you make with a master’s in business analytics?

According to PayScale, the average salary for those with an MS in business analytics is a little under $75,000. The top 10 percent of data analysts earn a median annual salary of $89,000.

Earning your degree from a top program helps. In 2022, the average graduate from Duke University’s Master in Quantitative Management (MQM): Business Analytics program earned a median base salary of $100,000 and received a median signing bonus of $10,000.

With an MS in business analytics, you should qualify for such excellent jobs as:

Here’s a little more information about some of the top positions for MSBAs.

Data scientist

You don’t have to get a Master of Science in Data Science to become a data scientist. A master’s in business analytics also does the trick. To succeed in this career, you will need strong programming chops and data modeling skills.

Data scientists earn a mean annual wage of over $100,000, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Wages for the top ten percent of data scientists are close to $167,000.

Business analyst manager

The average salary for a business analyst manager is approximately $100,000. Top-paid managers earn $155,000. Though these professionals need an analytics background, they mainly focus on managing employees and using data to innovate business practices. For this job, soft skills, such as communication and leadership, are more important than hard ones, such as data mining.

Director of supply chain

Supply chain directors oversee the process of producing and distributing goods, ensuring that they are made in a cost-effective way that satisfies the consumer. It’s a job that has been reinvented by big data analytics and artificial intelligence, which is a big reason why those with technical and business skills can succeed in this position.

The average supply chain manager earns just over $85,000 per year, but senior supply chian managers make almost $117,000. The top 10 percent of senior managers earn nearly $150,000.

C-suite executive

Those with a master’s in business analytics can find their way into an upper management position, such as CIO or COO. CIOs oversee the structuring of their company’s computer systems. COOs are essentially the second-in-command to the CEO, handling the company’s daily operations.

If you have enough education and experience—usually no less than a decade—to land one of these positions, you will be extremely well compensated. Payscale says the average CIO earns over $172,000 per year, and the average COO earns over $146,000. Top CIOs and COOs earn around $250,000 annually. That’s a long way from the $60,000 that data analysts with just a bachelor’s degree earn.

(Last Updated on February 26, 2024)

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Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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