The current global COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many people to think more deeply about their lives, how they spend their time, and their current careers. For many, it has encouraged them to consider retraining in a different field or to boost the qualifications they have in their current job, as a way of improving their employability and financial security. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, then studying for a master’s degree could well be the next logical step in your career progression. Doing so could open up a variety of doors that may not have been possible before.
Perhaps the more difficult choice is deciding which subject you want to study. Business is one area that’s often open to all students, regardless of the field that their undergraduate degree is in. Within the business sphere, there are, of course, many different areas that you could choose to specialize in, but one popular option is to take a Business Analytics degree. This is in part due to the subject’s increasing importance in the business sphere and the significant advantages of being qualified in it can bring to workers.
Read on to find out more about the subject, and why a master’s in business analytics degree might just be the perfect qualification for you.
What is business analytics?
We are living in the age of big data. It’s estimated that by 2025, 463 exabytes of data will be created globally every single day – that’s an astonishing 1,000⁶ bytes. Currently, five billion searches are made, 294 billion emails are sent, and 500 million Tweets are posted, all on a daily basis. This means companies are collecting more data than ever before. However, this data is of no use to them unless they know what to do with it.
That’s where business analytics comes in. A business analytics degree teaches you how to interpret and analyze data to make informed business decisions, regardless of the industry you are working in. It covers the importance of big data problems that businesses face and empowers you to solve those problems by gaining advanced knowledge in analytics, business strategy, and communication, as well as statistical techniques and powerful technologies.
There are three main methods of conducting business analytics:
- Descriptive – this uses historic data to identify patterns and trends, tracking key performance indicators in order to better understand the current state of a company
- Predictive – this uses statistics to analyze data and predict future outcomes for a company
- Prescriptive – this applies various techniques in order to make recommendations, working out which actions will yield the best outcome in a particular scenario and helping companies decide how best to handle future situations
This is done by using a variety of different tools, including data visualization tools, statistical analysis tools, and big data platforms. Business analytics brings a variety of benefits to a company, including improved decision making, boosted revenue, and better operational efficiency.
What is studying for a Master’s Degree in Business Analytics like?
Studying for a business analytics degree is a challenging undertaking, but one that can bring high rewards. It involves a mixture of academic training and hands-on experience with computing tools and software so that you can put what you learn into practice. You can expect to study through a mixture of lectures, group work, seminars, workshops, case studies, individual projects, and much more. There may even be eminent guest speakers giving special presentations just for students.
In terms of modules, there are quite a variety of different ones available, and the exact program you study will vary from college to college. Most business analytics degrees will have a series of core courses that are mandatory, plus a selection of optional courses to choose from. Some of the topics you might cover include:
- Data warehousing
- Data modeling
- Data visualization
- Prescriptive analytics
- Predictive analytics
- Financial data analytics
- Leadership skills
- Game theory for business analytics
- Machine learning
- Network analytics
- Python programming
- Analytics capstone
- Digital marketing analytics
- Data mining
- Applied deep learning
- Risk analysis
- Natural language processing
- Responsible innovation
- Managerial decision making
- Statistics and econometrics
You may also have to conduct independent research and write a dissertation on a relevant topic of your choice. This gives you the opportunity to take an in-depth look at an area that is of particular interest to you. The program will usually last one or two years, with options for both full-time and part-time study.
The exact study experience you have will depend on whether you choose to join an on-campus course where you attend in person or an online program where you primarily learn from home. Neither option is better than the other, and there are many reasons why you might prefer one in particular. For example, if you are currently working and unable to fit in-person classes around your job then online study could be ideal for you. It enables you to study from anywhere, at any time that suits you, which is great for those with family or other existing commitments.
Studying online also means that you can enroll in a business analytics degree with an institution in a different city or even country if you wish. Sometimes tuition fees are lower for online programs too. Conversely, attending courses in person might allow for easier networking opportunities and more of a traditional college experience for your studies. Online study also requires more from you in terms of self-discipline, so have a think about which option best suits your personality and the way you prefer to learn.
What are the benefits of having a master’s degree?
Before turning to a business analytics degree specifically, let’s look at the benefits of having a master’s qualification in general. After all, graduate school is a big commitment in terms of time, effort, and financial cost, so you want to make sure it will be worth it before signing up.
Nowadays, more and more jobs in all sorts of fields are making master’s degrees a requirement, therefore without one you are automatically limiting your job options. The unemployment rate among those with a graduate degree is much lower than among those without one, and average salaries are also much higher.
Having a graduate qualification is a great way to show an employer that you are dedicated, highly trained, and have specialist knowledge in your chosen area. It demonstrates a commitment to learning and continued development, which is becoming all the more important with the rapid pace at which technology and techniques improve these days.
Studying for a master’s degree in any subject also improves a wide variety of soft skills in addition to giving you in-depth knowledge in your field. For example, it will help boost communication, both written and verbal, as well as teamwork, organization, and time management. Other skills you can expect to develop include problem solving, critical thinking, research, creativity, leadership, and adaptability. All of these are talents that employers in almost any industry will find appealing, and will be of use to you in whichever field you decide to work in.
What are the benefits of having a Master’s Degree in Business Analytics?
When it comes to a business analytics degree, in particular, there is a wealth of advantages to be gained from having one. Many companies say that there is a dearth of employees who are skilled in business analytics, meaning that graduates with a qualification in the field are highly sought after. The ability to analyze data in a business context is extremely valuable in almost every industry, and the demand for workers who are trained to do so is unlikely to go away any time soon.
Having a skill that is in high demand, such as business analytics, is of course very advantageous. It leads to better employability and job security, higher salaries and financial stability, and great prospects for career progression. You’ll learn how to test hypotheses, recognize trends, use predictive modeling and much more to analyze the past performance of a company and use that knowledge to make decisions about what to do in the future. Generating these kinds of meaningful insights from big data is vital for almost every single company. With the rise in computing power, the field of business analytics is only set to grow, meaning skills in this area will likely become even more useful to companies – and, therefore, to you.
When it comes to career choice, graduates with a business analytics degree have plenty of options. You could work for a large corporation or a small one, act as a consultant, or start your own business. This could be in any number of industries including finance, the media, healthcare, IT, retail, and marketing. Some possible job titles you could aim for include:
- Machine learning engineer
- Management analyst
- Operations research analyst
- Data scientist
- Marketing analyst
- Technology analyst
- Business intelligence analyst
- Data specialist
- Account analyst
- Supply chain analyst
- Information analyst
- Business modeler
- Performance analyst
- Data integrity analyst
- Data architect
- Chief data officer
This wide variety of options means that you can combine your business analytics degree with your previous background or personal interests, whether that’s mathematics, computing, or artificial intelligence. Be sure to take advantage of the career services available at your college to help you decide which career path would be the most suitable for you.
What are the next steps?
If reading this article has persuaded you that a business analytics degree is worth investing in, it’s time to make that dream a reality. To begin with, start researching schools that offer the program to help you narrow down your choices. There are a number of different factors that you should consider when comparing colleges and courses. For example, you’ll need to think about whether you would like to study on a full-time or part-time basis, and whether you would prefer to take a course on campus or online. If studying in person, you’ll have extra factors, such as location, to take into account. One thing that can be helpful is talking to students who have graduated from the course, to find out how they found it and what they are doing now. You might even be able to get some tips or inspiration!
When it comes to picking a college, the reputation of the program, class size, the cost of tuition, the entry requirements for the course, and any relevant accreditation is also important. In terms of the business analytics degree itself, take a look at the individual modules each program offers to help you decide which will be of most interest to you. If there is a particular aspect of the subject that you want to cover, make sure it is included on the course to save yourself the disappointment.
Once you’ve selected a few programs you would like to apply for, it will be time to start putting together your application. Business analytics degrees can be very competitive programs, so it’s worth taking your time over this to ensure that it’s perfect. Check the entry requirements carefully to ensure that you meet them all, and have a think about who you could use as your academic references.
The most important part of the application will probably be your personal statement or essay. This is your chance to truly shine! The admissions tutor will want to know why you wish to study the course, that you have researched the course thoroughly, and that you have a clear and relevant career goal in mind. It’s also helpful if you can demonstrate relevant experience and the skills needed to succeed in the program. Be sure to double-check for spelling and grammar errors in your writing before you submit it!
Once you receive the good news that you’ve been accepted into the program, you’ll then want to start preparing for the start of term. Get some advanced reading in by checking the recommended book list, practice coding, or brush up on your math skills to ensure you hit the ground running when class begins. Good luck!