Masters in Business Analytics

Learn All you need to know about MS / M Eng. in Business Analytics. See top colleges, jobs, part-time jobs, specialisations, fees, admissions & more

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What is Business Analytics?

Business Analytics is used to measure the performance of a business organization. It is focused on finding the areas that need improvement and optimizing the business processes for better results. It involves the use of technologies, methods and skills for continuous investigation to gain crucial insights into the performance history of a business that can help in future planning. The use of Data and Statistical Methods are at the heart of business analytics. Quantitative methods are used for business modeling and taking wiser decisions to drive the business towards greater efficiency and productivity. Use of Big Data for business analytics is the norm these days.

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What is the main difference between masters in business analytics vs data science?

Business Analytics and Data Science have often been confused with each other. However, there are important differences between the two. Business Analytics (BA) is limited to the problems directly related to the business such as cost, productivity, profit, etc. whereas Data Science covers a wider set of concerns related to a business’s operation like customer behavior, climatic factors, regional factors, etc. Data Science is more concerned with a wider set of data than business analytics is. It is also more technology oriented as opposed to Business Analytics which is more business oriented. These conceptual and definitional differences dictate the scope of master’s degrees in each discipline even though some aspects of them might overlap.
Master’s in business analytics concentrates on fields like finance, marketing and retail, whereas data science master’s trains the students to serve businesses, academics, technology and IT. Programming and computer science are the major components of data science master’s, while statistical methods are the core of business analytics master’s even though it also involves computer programming.
Business Analysts are trained to look into the issues that are beyond the purview of data scientists. They learn to deal with situations where data is inappropriate or difficult to access. If the findings from data science team cannot be used for improving business operations, business analysts are taught to bridge that gap. They are also taught to deal with situations where problem-solving tools are missing. On the other hand, a business analyst does not concern himself/herself with unstructured data as the data scientist does.

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What are the main tasks of Business Analytics?

Business Analytics experts may have to carry out descriptive analyses based on key performance indicators, predictive analyses based on data trends, or prescriptive analyses based on the past performance and solutions applicable. Various business analytics tools are used to perform quantitative analysis, data mining, multivariate testing and predictive modeling. These tools include data visualization tools, business intelligence software, self-service analytics tools, big data platforms and statistical analysis tools.
Finding new patterns in data so that new questions can be asked, explaining results continuously and forecasting future results are also some of the major responsibilities related to a business analytics position.

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What are the courses one can expect to study in a master’s in Business Analytics program?

Business Analytics is a relatively condensed field unlike data science programs or engineering master’s programs, which bring a greater variety of elective options. Nevertheless, the best courses for masters in business analytics should definitely carry subjects around the following themes and topics: Data-driven Decision Making; Applied Statistical Methods; Statistical Computing and Data Visualization; Handling Databases for Business Analytics; Programming for Business Analytics
Additionally, one may also check if the list of electives is handsome, one may choose to pick courses that allow an (unofficial) specialization in marketing analytics, security analytics, decision science, or HR analytics.

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What are the main requirements for getting into a master’s program in Business Analytics?

Students who are willing to take admission into a master’s program in Business Analytics should be aware of the following usual admission requirements. They should nevertheless not avoid checking the exact requirements from the official websites of the universities they are applying to.

Bachelor’s Degree Requirements: Students that have an academic background in science, engineering, computer science, mathematics, economics, or business are preferred for admission to a Business Analytics master’s program. Some abroad universities ask for 16 years of formal education. Hence, this condition should be kept in mind.

Admission Test and Interview: Some universities might also take a university based admission test and/or an interview.

Work Experience: Although it is not a necessary admission requirement, but some universities may only consider admitting candidates who have a minimum of two to five years of professional experience.

Other Requirements:
TOEFL and IELTS: English is the international language of business. Besides, about 80% of the top 20 departments in the world that offer business analytics master’s programs are situated in the English speaking world. The remaining ones too receive a number of international students each year for their programs and offer instruction in English. These make above-average scores in language eligibility tests a necessity for admission.
GRE and GMAT: Students from science and engineering background might have to submit their GRE scores, while students who have studied business at bachelor’s level might require to submit their GMAT scores. 
Undergraduate GPA: Mostly a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4 is required. If the GPA is not on a scale of 4, students would have to contact the international students’ office of the university.
Letters of Recommendation and Statement of Purpose: Three letters of recommendation with a statement of purpose could be required for admission.

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