Business Intelligence & Analytics

The Ultimate Guide to Online Master’s in Business Analytics Programs

The Ultimate Guide to Online Master’s in Business Analytics Programs
Image from Pexels
Noodle Staff profile
Noodle Staff February 28, 2018

Calling all big data wranglers! As businesses continue to dive into the future of work, the demand for automation is increasing.

Article continues here

As businesses continue to dive into the future of work, the demand for automation is increasing. More now than ever before, companies are in need of professionals with the ability to handle big data and project future trends in this complex digital age.

IBM acknowledges the data science and analytics landscape is swiftly growing and that there is a demand for a more qualified workforce. According to IBM’s 2017 report, 2.4 million data science and analytics job listings were posted in 2015, and we will see an additional 364,000 by 2020. This five-year job influx is commensurate with what we are seeing in companies of virtually any size and in any industry — mining and processing big data is essential. There is a soaring need for workers trained to collect and analyze big data streams that stem from the 2.5 quintillion bytes of data that are created each day.

Concurrent with the need for more business analytics professionals in the workplace, there is a developing interest for business analytics programs, and schools are keeping up. The United States has over 200 MS in business analytics programs, according to the Institute for Advanced Analytics. Furthermore, Poets & Quants says a third of the top 100 business schools have a Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program.

Despite its hike in popularity, the MSBA program is still fairly new. While the master’s in business analytics program dates back to 2007, it only began emerging at major institutions around 2013. If this all sounds appealing to you and you are wondering if you would have completed this program had it been offered back when you were in school, you are not alone. As you will read further in this guide, you will see students in this program typically average in their 30s.

Maybe you have a business degree and are already successful in your career, but your company needs you to step it up a bit and bring more technical knowledge to your projects. This is pretty typical as well, and you will see that most of the schools in this guide specifically cater to students who maintain a professional full-time job, which can also come in handy when trying to pay for grad school.

If you are thinking about entering the realm of business analytics and are interested in pursuing higher education, you might consider a master’s in business analytics. While it is so important that you do your best to make the right choice when it comes to selecting a school, making informed decisions is key. That’s where our guide comes in.

Below, we provide some potential career paths and additional background on the master’s in business analytics program. We give you some insight on who this guide is for and how to use it. Finally, we not only hand over a list of schools offering a master’s in business analytics, but also provide the qualifications and benefits each program offers, based on our expert research. We have done the work for you, because we know how overwhelming searching for the right school can be.

Potential career paths for MSBA grads

Obtaining a master’s in business analytics opens doors to a number of promising career paths. Here, we provide a list of potential job titles, along with a brief description of typical responsibilities, average salary posted on Glassdoor, number of jobs currently available on Indeed, and top cities hiring.

If you hop on Indeed and browse through some of these vacant positions, you will notice most of the minimum qualifications indicate a BA/BS is required, and not a MA/MS. This is likely because the growing demand for business analytics professionals is still fairly new, as is the MSBA program. Employers are typically limited to market job standards that match the qualifications of the available workforce so they receive enough viable candidates. We suspect this will change in coming years as this program grows.

Pricing and Revenue Analyst

  • Typical responsibilities: Maximize business growth by analyzing revenue trends.
  • Average salary: $58,540
  • Pricing & Revenue Analyst Jobs available as of February 2018: 1,637
  • Top cities hiring: New York, NY, Chicago, IL, Atlanta, GA

Check out our article on how to navigate the path of becoming a pricing and revenue analyst.

Market Research Analyst

  • Typical responsibilities: Evaluate market trends and recommend products and services.
  • Average salary: $60,429
  • Market Research Analyst Jobs available as of February 2018: 9,483
  • Top cities hiring: New York, NY, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA

Check out our article on how to navigate the path of becoming a market research analyst.

Big Data Analytics Specialist

  • Typical responsibilities: Manage the company’s big data and have the ability to quickly obtain results from large datasets.
  • Average salary: $62,329
  • Big Data Analytics Jobs available as of February 2018: 1,358
  • Top cities hiring: New York, NY, Washington, DC, Chicago, IL

Data Analyst

  • Typical responsibilities: Translate data that will help companies make better business decisions.
  • Average salary: $65,470
  • Data Analyst Jobs available as of February 2018: 80,747
  • Top cities hiring: New York, NY, Washington, DC, Chicago, IL

Operations Research Analyst

  • Typical responsibilities: Help organizations identify and solve operational problems and make better decisions.
  • Average salary: $68,571
  • Operations Research Analyst Jobs available as of February 2018: 13,976
  • Top cities hiring: New York, NY, Washington, DC, Chicago, IL

Management Consulting Analyst

  • Typical responsibilities: Propose managerial methods to reduce costs, increase revenue, and improve company efficiency.
  • Average salary: $75,091
  • Management Consulting Analyst Jobs available as of February 2018: 11,821
  • Top cities hiring: New York, NY, Washington, DC, Chicago, IL

Check out our article on how to navigate the path of becoming a management consulting analyst.

Business Intelligence Analyst

  • Typical responsibilities: Analyze past trends and current conditions to improve company profit.
  • Average salary: $76,613
  • BI Analyst Jobs available as of February 2018: 8,119
  • Top cities hiring: New York, NY, Washington, DC, Chicago, IL

Check out our article on how to navigate the path of becoming a business intelligence analyst.

Program and Marketing Manager

  • Typical responsibilities: Create compelling marketing campaigns that direct customers to the company’s products and services.
  • Average salary: $80,673
  • Program & Marketing Manager Jobs available as of February 2018: 101,412
  • Top cities hiring: New York, NY, San Francisco, CA, Chicago, IL

Performance Management Consultant

  • Typical responsibilities: Use strategy expertise to streamline operations.
  • Average salary: $104,967
  • Performance Management Consultant Jobs available as of February 2018: 38,219
  • Top cities hiring: New York, NY, Chicago, IL, Washington, DC

Business Intelligence and Analytics Consultant

  • Typical responsibilities: Design, develop and implement business intelligence and analytics systems.
  • Average salary: $113,845
  • BI & Analytics Consultant Jobs available as of February 2018: 1,821
  • Top cities hiring: New York, NY, Chicago, IL, Reston, VA

Data Scientist

  • Typical responsibilities: Take initiative in gathering data to provide an understanding of business performance.
  • Average salary: $120,931
  • Data Scienctist Jobs available as of February 2018: 24,498
  • Top cities hiring: New York, NY, San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA

Who this Online MSBA guide is for

The purpose of this guide is to provide you, a prospective Master’s in Business Analytics student, with collective and transparent information so you are able to make an informed decision with respect to which MSBA program you ultimately choose to attend.

It’s possible you’re here because you are…

A recent graduate, looking for your next steps. You have just finished, or are close to finishing, your bachelor’s degree and you want to go straight into a master’s degree program. Although you don’t yet have years of work experience, you might be interested in getting this extra competitive edge before formally entering the workforce. An MSBA may be a good option for you, as one third of the programs listed below do not require professional working experience.

A business professional with the need for more technical knowledge. Do you work for an innovative company that is quickly expanding its automation? If this is the case, you might be interested in doing this program to have more job security, or even increase your chances of future advancement. As you will find in the curriculum highlighted below, MSBA programs over-index on the technical components of business analytics, providing you greater opportunity to climb aboard the data train.

Changing careers entirely. Maybe you are here because you see the world changing before you and you are intrigued. If business analytics had been more popular when you were going to school, you probably would have done it then.

In any case, we are here to help. Our guide organizes Noodle’s top “picks” based on pain points and priorities that are common during the MSBA program search process. Although we highly recommend continuing your own in-depth research once you have pared your educational options down to a few selections, our goal is to present consolidated information so the “getting started” phase does not feel insurmountable. After you get the ball rolling, continue to use Noodle as your homebase! Noodle can connect you with experts who will assist in narrowing your search even further.

Noodle can connect you with experts who will assist in narrowing your search even further.

How to use this online MSBA guide

We centered our research around specific program criteria, which are lists of qualities we found to be most commonly important to prospective students that are searching for the right master’s program. We continue to refer to these preferences as “criteria” throughout our guide. Depending on where you are in your search process, we recommend using this guide in the following ways:

Just getting started? Skim through and familiarize yourself with the criteria we established. This will give you an idea of the common priorities other students have when considering a Master’s in Business Analytics. You will also get a sense of the typical questions students ask program administrators so that you can also ask these same questions during your search.

Know your top priorities? Skip down to the criteria that are most important to you and take advantage of our in-depth research. Whether you are looking for the most cost-effective tuition or Alumni networking, we’ve done the work for you.

Already have a few programs in mind? Skip down to the MSBA programs you have considered and review the full description.

Given the diverse backgrounds of prospective master’s in business analytics students, it is unlikely there is one singular program that meets the needs for every person planning to enter this field. With that, we simply remind you to take your time reading through this guide so you can find the “best fit” for your personal needs.

Background on master’s in business analytics

Simplified, a master’s in business analytics is a scientific professional degree that expands students’ knowledge and skills in collecting, organizing, and interpreting important data that directly impacts business practices. The unique aspect of this program is that it combines principles in business management and computer science.

The master’s in business analytics program seeks to fulfill the growing demand for candidates with business acumen and the mechanical skills to wrangle big data. Having this fusion of expertise makes you invaluable, because you understand the technical substance entirely, and are able to interpret it with an executive-level mindset, making you the most qualified person to guide the company’s future.

According to a 2013 Forbes article, using data for business growth is not a new trend. The driving force behind business analytics growth is that there is so much more data than there used to be, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. The article explains, “many companies such as Amazon, Google and Capital One have built their entire business model around analytics. Companies that see this are looking for the talent needed to integrate business analytics into their business strategy.”

Prospective students wishing to enroll in an MSBA program come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some master’s in business analytics candidates are recent college graduates who want to jump straight into a master’s program. However, it is more likely candidates for this program are already in the workforce.

Given this program blends theories of business and computer science, Business Analytics Master programs are a promising solution for developers seeking business skills, or vice versa. Migrating closer to the tech space after obtaining an MS in Business Analytics has its perks, including higher pay. Additionally, having a Business Analytics master’s gives you a slew of specialized skills that apply to many businesses across the board, thereby increasing your employability.

Conveniently, most Business Analytics programs are offered online, which is conducive to the demands of working students. A large percentage of these students maintain full-time jobs and plan to use higher education to get a promotion or a raise.

Research methodology

Our first step in developing this guide encompassed compiling a list of schools offering MSBA programs to review. We did this by consulting Poets & Quants, QS World University Rankings, TFE Times, Predictive Analytics Today, U.S. News & World Report, and other reputable rankings media publications, online forums, Q&A communities, and social media discussions. Additionally, we engaged in discussions with various business school admissions consultants.

After much consideration, we eventually narrowed our list down to 31 programs that we determined to be the most applicable to this guide. Additionally, each and every program mentioned is offered online, because we believe it’s important to have work-life balance and maintain a career while furthering your education.

Some prospective students are turned off by the concept of online education. If you are even a little concerned about the implications in completing a master’s program online, we recommend you don’t. To help with this, Noodle offers 5 Myths about Online Education Busted, which will hopefully ease your fears.

Please note that we did not evaluate Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs with concentrations in business analytics for inclusion in this guide. We strictly stuck to Master of Science in Business Analytics programs.

We ultimately selected the following 31 online master’s in business analytics programs to include in this guide (please see below).

Once we established our list of schools, we began researching each program based on our set of criteria that twe determined to be the most relevant and pressing information one would need in making a decision about where to attend. We conducted this analysis by reviewing data made available online and conducting phone or email interviews with representatives from each institution. The questions we asked were based on the following criteria:

Admission, Tuition and Services

  • Admission requirements
  • Cost considerations
  • Flexibility of schedule
  • Faculty/student support
  • Class format

Program, Curriculum and Job Preparation

  • Business managers seeking data analytics fluency
  • Technical employee seeking business fluency
  • Career switcher
  • Recent college graduate

Graduation and Jobs

  • Internship/job placement
  • Alumni network
  • Average starting salaries
  • Companies hiring graduates

Below we have outlined Noodle’s top school “picks” by organizing them based on the criteria listed above. Our goal in following this format is that it will help you find information most important to you. For example, if you are most concerned with attending a school that is accredited, feel free to jump to the section that lists schools with a business accreditation. Please remember although our “picks” fall within one of these criteria, it does not mean this is the only quality the school possesses. Please be sure to visit the school website to continue reading about all the program has to offer.

While researching the schools listed above, we experienced some barriers in gathering the following data:

  • Starting salaries
  • Internship/job placement
  • Companies hiring graduates

Going to graduate school is a huge investment, so knowing what type of return you will have is crucial. Statistics about how likely it is you will get a job, the right hiring companies to target, and how much money you will make once you graduate are acutely important to consider while searching for a master’s program. Unfortunately, though, it is difficult for schools to develop a methodology that will result in statistically significant data, especially for a new program like the MSBA.

With that said, while it is common for schools to not release this data in public forums, prospective students can certainly reach out to respective admissions or alumni departments to gather this information on an individual level. If you still have trouble gathering this information despite your efforts, do not fret! Remember that we went above and beyond by doing additional research and providing an overview of potential career paths above, including average salaries and number of available jobs. We got you.

Our online MSBA program picks

While the curriculum at each university listed below are similar, the manner in which the information is delivered and the program is administered varies greatly. Therefore, we recommend taking another peek at the criteria to ensure you have a good grasp on what is most important to you.

Below, we organize Noodle’s top “picks” based on pain points and priorities that are common during the search process. As stated previously, we highly recommend continuing your own in-depth research once you have selected three or four possible options. Our ultimate goal in providing this information is to get you started with consolidated information that is easy to read and navigate so you can start your search.

Admission, Tuition and Services

  • Admission requirements: click here to see a list of schools with low admission requirements, and here to see a list of schools with high admission requirements.
  • Cost considerations: click here to see a list of schools with tuition under $30,000.
  • Flexibility of schedule: all programs listed below are offered online.
  • Faculty/student support: click here to see a list of schools that go above and beyond when it comes to student support.
  • Class format: click here to see a list of schools with a small class size.

Program, Curriculum and Job Preparation

  • Business managers seeking data analytics fluency: click here to see a list of schools that would be a good fit for business managers seeking business analytics fluency.
  • Technical employee seeking business fluency: click here to see a list of schools that would be a good fit for technical employees seeking business analytics fluency.
  • Career switcher: click here to see a list of schools that would be a good fit for someone switching careers.
  • Recent college graduate: click here to see a list of schools that would be a good fit for a recent college graduate.

Graduation and Jobs

  • Internship/job placement: click here to see a list of schools that offer internship/job assistance.
  • Alumni network: click here to see a list of schools with a large alumni network.
  • Average starting salaries: click here to see a list of schools that track average starting salaries for program graduates.
  • Companies hiring graduates: click here to see a list of schools that mention you will have access to their corporate network.

About the Editor

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.

To learn more about our editorial standards, you can click here.


Share