An interdisciplinary degree, the MBA in business analytics combines core coursework in business and management disciplines with specialized analytics courses. Students learn about econometrics, marketing intelligence, and financial reporting analysis. MBA programs typically provide relevant business-oriented instruction while incorporating real-world internships and capstone projects.
A multifaceted specialization, the MBA concentration in business analytics opens up career possibilities in diverse sectors, including banking, insurance, and government.
This degree path prepares graduates for the business world, which increasingly relies on big data to inform decisions and enhance revenue. MBA graduates possess versatile analytics and management skills applicable in various industries, including marketing, finance, and manufacturing.
An excellent option for professionals seeking salary advancement and promotion to management positions, the MBA in business analytics often meets educational requirements for lucrative managerial jobs such as financial manager, management consultant, or marketing manager. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial managers earned a median annual salary of $129,890 in 2019.
Careers for Business Analytics MBA Graduates
A multifaceted specialization, the MBA concentration in business analytics opens up career possibilities in diverse sectors, including banking, insurance, and government. Business analytics programs equip students for positions as marketing managers, management consultants, big data advisors, or intelligence administrators.
Many graduates with a business analytics MBA become analysts in operations, supply chains, customer insights, or finances. Additional analyst areas include business intelligence, pricing, and revenue optimization, and quantitative data.
Most of the business analytics careers sampled below enjoy above-average projected job growth outlooks. According to the BLS, job prospects for operations research analysts appear particularly promising, with employment projected to grow 26% from 2018 to 2028.
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These managers collaborate with financial, advertising, and design staff to plan and execute marketing programs and campaigns. Their daily tasks vary widely depending on the position, employer, and industry, but typical duties include conducting and analyzing market research, creating pricing strategies, and presenting findings to executives. Marketing managers also frequently play a role in annual budgeting, contract negotiation, and personnel management. An MBA in business analytics can help candidates assess global marketing trends and their overall effectiveness.
Annual Median Salary: $135,900
Job Outlook: 8% growth projected from 2018 to 2028
Tasked with guiding clients’ investment choices, financial analysts often work in banking, insurance, and investing industries. Sometimes called investment or securities analysts, financial analysts evaluate the performance of investments, such as bonds and stocks. They research business and economic trends and usually specialize in a particular product market such as mutual funds. These professionals create reports and advise clients or company executives.
Annual Median Salary: $85,660
Job Outlook: 6% growth projected from 2018 to 2028
These professionals study and interpret business data to provide remedies for complex business decisions. Operations analysts gather and analyze information from sales histories, worker and manager consultations, customer feedback, and computer databases. Often working in teams, operations analysts use tools such as statistical analysis, predictive modeling, and simulations to decipher economic markets. Operations analysts create and present economic reports and make recommendations to executives. This input may influence supply chain management, pricing fluctuation, resource allocation, and production scheduling.
Annual Median Salary: $84,810
Job Outlook: 26% growth projected from 2018 to 2028
These experts assist individuals in making financial decisions in areas such as investments, insurance, education, and retirement. Other advisable areas include taxes, estate planning, and mortgages. Daily tasks for this career often include researching investment opportunities, educating and advising clients on financial options and risks, and monitoring client accounts. These advisors may complete financial paperwork, sell insurance, and invest clients’ money. An MBA in business analytics can give these professionals skills in analyzing market trends and investment strategies.
Annual Median Salary: $87,850
Job Outlook: 7% growth projected between 2018 to 2028
Also known as management consultants, these professionals review business operations and data to help managers increase profit by reducing costs, boosting revenues, and improving efficiency. To perform their duties, they gather information by observing worksites and interviewing personnel. After investigating the company’s business tactics and procedures, management analysts generate ideas for improvement and present recommendations to company executives. Working in teams or alone, they may act as consultants or regular employees.
Annual Median Salary: $85,260
Job Outlook: 14% increase projected from 2018 to 2028
How to Choose an MBA in Business Analytics Program
MBA in business analytics programs differ widely in features such as format, focus, location, and curriculum, which can make narrowing down choices a challenging endeavor.
Prospective students should take the time to establish priorities and compare programs carefully. Some MBA in business analytics programs allow further specialization in economics and communications, so choose a program that offers coursework closely aligned with your interests.
MBA programs also vary widely in cost and quality. Depending on available resources, students should choose programs with a realistic price range and substantial return on investment (ROI). The list below features important considerations, steps, and tips for choosing the right MBA in business analytics program.
Consider Accredited Programs Only
Top MBA programs usually are offered by schools that hold regional accreditation from agencies approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Regionally accredited schools meet high academic standards, and credits and degrees earned at these schools often transfer well to other programs at nationally and regionally accredited schools. Credits and degrees from nationally accredited schools typically do not transfer as easily, and students may face more difficulty obtaining financial aid. Attending a regionally accredited program is particularly essential for students planning on pursuing additional degrees in the future.
Reflect on Interests and Career Goals
Clarifying your academic interests and career goals can help narrow your search to programs with a corresponding curriculum. Select from MBA in business analytics programs that offer courses or specializations directly relevant to your desired role, field, or industry.
Decide on Desired Timeline
Busy working professionals often benefit from self-paced, part-time MBA programs, while students with considerable free time may opt for full-time or accelerated programs that reduce graduation timelines. Consider your availability meticulously, narrowing your search to programs with pacing that fits your schedule.
Consider School Location
Learners seeking to find work in a specific area can benefit from the networking and job prospects offered by MBA programs in their preferred region. On-campus programs may feature partnerships and internship opportunities with local organizations and businesses. These opportunities often prove useful to recent college graduates and young professionals. Consider your networking needs as you decide whether to prioritize schools in your preferred living location. Additionally, some online programs require occasional on-campus components such as workshops, networking events, or a thesis defense. Online learners considering these programs might evaluate whether they can easily access campus from their current residence.
Choose Preferred Lesson Delivery Format
Many of today’s MBA programs allow students to complete their degree online by reviewing lectures and completing assignments asynchronously on their own schedule. This approach suits motivated, independent learners. Meanwhile, students who prefer more interactive experiences often choose on-campus programs or online coursework featuring live virtual classes during evenings or weekends. Consider your learning style, preferences, and networking needs as you compare formats and choose where to apply.
Weigh Program Costs Against School and Program Reputation and Outcomes
MBA programs can get expensive, so make sure to weigh tuition costs against program performance statistics. Checking student outcomes such as graduation, employment, salary, and ROI data can help you assess program quality. Well-reputed programs with high institutional or programmatic performance achievements can prove worth the money, since MBAs typically translate into career and salary advancement, but avoid high-priced programs with poor ROI.
Compare Academic and Career Resources
Many programs provide tutoring, career counseling, and internship opportunities to help students realize their ambitions. Well-established MBA programs may also offer access to corporations, organizations, study abroad programs, and events to enhance students’ cultural and career opportunities.
Review Program Rankings
Consulting our MBA program rankings can guide prospective students to identify top-quality programs and gain an overview of available options. Rankings pages also summarize the overall efficiency of each program, enabling a quick comparison of features.
MBA in business analytics curricula differ by school, program, and concentration. Most programs entail about 30-36 credits of core courses and 15-21 credits of electives.
Core classes typically focus on data analysis, decision-making, financial accounting, and business law.
Additional common core courses include organizational leadership, strategic management, microeconomics, and supply chain management.
Depending on the concentration chosen, students may also take electives such as brand management, marketing research, venture capital, and financial statement analysis. The sample courses below often appear in business analytics programs.
This course teaches students to use cutting-edge analytical techniques to understand and interpret internal and external business data. Business analytics courses cultivate skills in quantitative and qualitative analysis, problem-solving, decision-making, and leadership. The class emphasizes predictive modeling, which involves exploring, analyzing, and forecasting data. Students also learn regression analysis using sample data and regression models.
Data Analytics and Decision-Making
Learners in this course examine statistical analysis techniques, including identifying underlying assumptions and appropriately applying data. Students learn to analyze and interpret statistics, turning data into information that can inform business decisions. This course trains students to define a problem or question, craft a problem-solving methodology, and implement data collection procedures. Next, learners use statistical tools to analyze the data and interpret the results. This course typically draws on real-world scenarios and statistics to help learners further understand the analytical tools used in business.
Covering topics such as trading analytics, macroeconomic studies, and execution algorithms, this course teaches students how to determine revenue, costs, and value. Learners also explore how to use analytical platforms such as Tableau to guide financial decisions. Working with real data, enrollees use software to build analytical capability, apply statistical analyses, and visualize findings using real-life models. This course also builds interpretation and presentation skills useful in sharing findings with business leaders.
This course acquaints students with common managerial problems and decision-making techniques. Learners examine various marketing data sources, including advertising, pricing, customer transaction data, and surveys. They also work with real scenarios to create hypotheses and perform statistical analysis. This course emphasizes tools and principles for interpreting and explaining data and producing actionable results.
Principles of Management Science
A common business analytics staple, this course illuminates the challenges, principles, and techniques applied in managerial roles. Learners study decision alternatives, conflicts, and associated tradeoffs. Using spreadsheet-based applications, students learn how to create abstract models of possible scenarios and corresponding outcomes. Modeling topics covered include linear and non-linear programs, integer programs, network models, and supply chain simulation and queuing models. Enrollees often practice presenting their findings and recommendations.
Comparison of Business Analytics Degrees and Specializations
Students interested in graduate study of business analytics can choose from several types of degree programs. The MBA in analytics prepares graduates to utilize analytical tools and principles to enhance their skills and careers as managers. The MBA in information systems and business analytics features specialized courses, including engineering and data mining.
The MBA in business intelligence and analytics resembles an MBA in business analytics, but may include more work with important data and technology applications. Meanwhile, the master of science (MS) in business analytics focuses on the practice of technical analysis tools and prepares graduates for careers as analysts. This degree includes less coursework on broadly applicable business concepts.
Potential Career Paths
MBA in Business Analytics
MBAs usually serve current or aspiring managers who wish to leverage business analytics in their position. MBA programs typically combine focused concentration courses with broadly applicable business concepts such as finance and management. MBA students often approach machine learning more theoretically than technically, examining how data analytics and machine learning can be applied to solve problems and enhance business outcomes.
This interdisciplinary MBA includes courses in information systems, business analytics, and core business areas. More STEM-focused than other business analytics MBA options, the MBA in information systems and business analytics covers management information systems, database management, and engineering. Students learn data mining, analysis, and visualization, plus special topics such as artificial intelligence or virtual reality.
Information systems manager, computer systems administrator, and information security analyst
MBA in Business Intelligence and Analytics
This degree offers excellent preparation for management and consulting careers by combining management foundations with business intelligence and analytics expertise. Curricula include analytical strategies, tools, and modeling. This degree also cultivates skills in problem-solving, collaboration, management, and technology applications.
Business intelligence analyst, business analytics/intelligence manager, management consultant
MS in Business Analytics
Entirely devoted to business analytics and suited to students with a technical background, MSBA programs emphasize the hands-on application of analytical tools and methods. Students spend considerable time practicing software engineering, predictive modeling, machine learning, and forecasting.
Business analytics specialist, big data consultant, data analyst/strategist
What’s the Difference Between Business Analytics and Data Analytics Concentrations?
Both data analytics and business analytics emphasize using data to influence organizational decisions. However, data analysis occurs in various sectors, including government and nonprofit organizations, and identifies trends within specific datasets. Meanwhile, business analytics often incorporates more diverse types of business information and focuses on increasing business profits.
Often suited to tech-savvy students, data analytics programs cover data systems and database design and maintenance. They also specialize in data mining and cleaning, data visualization, and reporting. Data analytics professionals usually require mastery in analytical tools and programming languages such as Python or SQL.
Business analytics programs typically spend less time on technical skills, instead emphasizing measurement and evaluation of business processes. These professionals observe operations, interview employees, and analyze financial data.
Data analytics graduates often work as data analysts who report their findings to organizations. In contrast, business analytics graduates often play more active roles in business operations and may pursue careers such as operations research analyst, business data analyst, or management analyst.
Cost and Length of MBA in Business Analytics Programs
The cost of MBA programs varies drastically, with the most affordable programs falling under $15,000 and the most expensive programs exceeding $100,000. Tuition for reasonably priced MBA programs in business analytics often lands in the $20,000-$30,000 range.
Books and supplies often add another $1,000-$4,000 to total MBA costs, and on-campus living costs add several thousand dollars. Many students reduce housing costs by attending a local college or enrolling in an online MBA in business analytics. Attending part-time can prove more cost-effective because students can retain their day job while going to school. Part-time programs may take 3-4 years, whereas traditional full-time programs usually last 18-24 months.
Students who want to attend full time and finish their degree quickly sometimes enroll in accelerated programs that can take just 10-15 months to complete. Accelerated programs sometimes can save students money on living expenses and university fees that accumulate per semester.
What jobs can I get with a business analytics degree?
MBA in business analytics graduates often become analysts in areas such as finance, operations research, business intelligence, or supply chain. Other job possibilities include personal financial advisor, marketing manager, and management consultant.
Which is better: an MBA or MS in business analytics?
MBA degrees best suit students interested in managerial roles, while MS degrees focus more heavily on technical skills and careers.