Business analytics is a subset of Business Intelligence (BI) through which enterprises gain insights into historical data and foresight into future business needs. Data-driven decisions are essential for all business operations today. Using analytical tools & techniques and establishing logical relationships based on data and statistics, enterprises are able to take informed decisions as business solutions.
A data-set or database forms the base of any business analysis. Broadly data aggregation, data mining, text mining, forecasting, optimization and visualisation can be categorised as components of business analytics.
Types of Business Analytics
Descriptive analytics – Simplest of all forms, it involves crunching the data into smaller chunks. It is used to search and summarize historical data to help identify patterns
Diagnostic analytics – This form enables a deeper study of data to understand the root causes of events and patterns. It is characterized by techniques such as drill-down, data discovery, data mining and correlations
Predictive analytics – It is used to make forecasts based on probabilities. It uses models based on machine learning algorithms and statistics in understanding present data to be able to make predictive analysis for businesses.
Prescriptive analytics – It deals with possible future business solutions suggesting various courses of action to be taken. It deals with the optimal use of available resources to get the desired outcome.
Business analytics is widely used across industries like Finance, Banking, Healthcare, Retail and Technology to name a few. An MS degree in Business Analytics helps students build analytical technical and operational capabilities required in an ever-growing global marketplace for experts in business analytics. As the demand is high, it is important to be mindful of selecting a well-established and reputed educational institution to pursue the degree. It is advisable to choose an institution that provides strong technical know-how but also focuses on honing its student’s management skills.
Top US Universities for Masters in Business Analytics
The demand for business analytics professionals is constantly on the rise. The USA nearly has 150 colleges offering an MS degree in business analytics. According to QS World University Ranking 2022, 4 US universities rank among the top 10 universities in the world, for offering the best MS programs in Business Analytics. The cost of completing an MS degree course in the US can approximately cost $30,000-85,000 USD annually.
Rank 1 MIT (Sloan)-Cambridge (MA)
Admission Criteria – GRE/GMAT/IELTS/TOEFL (Specific scores not specified) Duration – 12 months full-time Estimated Tuition Fee – $82,368, excluding other program fees Scholarship – Master of Business Analytics program offers a limited number of fellowships. Also, each year, the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School invites programs to submit nominations for a limited number of fellowships. Course – Starting from Analytics Edge, which is examining how data analytics is used to transform businesses and industries the curriculum covers Optimization Methods, Machine Learning Under a Modern Optimization Lens, Analytics Lab, From Analytics to Action, Analytics Software Tools in R, Python, SQL and Julia. This is followed by the Independent Activities Period (IAP) which is Analytics Capstone Project.
Rank 2 UCLA (Anderson) – Los Angeles (CA) Admission Criteria – GRE/GMAT/IELTS/TOEFL3.0+ GPA (on 4.0 scale), 710 GMAT Expected overall (above 90%) ,167 GRE Quantitative Score (above 92%) Duration -15 months full-time Estimated Tuition Fee – $66,709, excluding other program fees Scholarship – Merit scholarships of varying amounts are awarded to students based on the overall strength of their admission application and relative strength in the pool of admits. Awards are made by the UCLA Anderson MSBA program at the time of admission or at any point during the admissions cycle. Course- Students earn 48 units through coursework and the hands-on Capstone Analytics Project during the course. Starting with Statistical Foundations for Analytics (R) the course progresses to teach Machine Learning for Decision Making, SQL and Basic Data Management, optimization models, Business Fundamentals for Analytics, Data Management, Prescriptive Models & Data Analytics, Operations Analytics, Competitive Analytics, Customer Analytics, Internship in Fieldwork/Research in Business Analytics, Internet Customer Analytics, Healthcare Analytics and Entertainment Analytics.
Rank 6 Texas (McCombs) – Austin (TX)
Admission Criteria – GRE/GMAT/IELTS/TOEFL (Specific scores not specified)The faculty committee is concerned when GRE/GMAT scores are below the 60th percentile (verbal or quantitative), or TOEFL scores are below 100 (IELTS below 7) Duration – 10 months full-time Estimated MS Tuition Fee – $ 48,000 annually, excluding other program fees
Scholarship– There are a limited number of scholarships available. All Texas MS Program applicants are automatically considered for these opportunities; no separate application is necessary. Course– The course lets students complete their 36 credit hours in order to complete it. The course is made up of three components-foundation, application and demonstration. The course commences with predictive modelling, Data Analytics Programming and further gets into Advanced Predictive Modelling, Text Analysis, Decision Analysis, Intro Data Management, Investment Theory and Practice, Advanced Corporate Finance, Learning Structures & Time Series, Business Analytics Capstone, Financial Optimization, Financial Technology, Quantitative Investment Strategies, Social Media Analytics and Analytic Finance Laboratory.
Rank 7 USC (Marshall) – Los Angeles (CA)
Admission Criteria– GRE/GMAT/IELTS/TOEFL (Specific scores not specified for GRE/GMAT)
IELTS: Overall 7; each band 6
TOEFL: Total 100; each band 20 Duration – Full-time 3 Semesters, with the flexibility of extending to 4 semesters): Fall, Spring, Fall. The part-time option is available Estimated Tuition Fee – $70,000, excluding other program fees Scholarship-International students are eligible based on merit. Applicants are encouraged to apply early for priority scholarship consideration. Course– This graduate certificate in business analytics requires 15 units including required coursework. The program may be completed on a full-time (8+ units per semester) or part-time basis. The curriculum includes Probability and Data Modelling, Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence and Data Mining, Advanced Regression Analysis, Applied Modern Statistical Learning Methods, Discrete-Event, Simulation for Process Management, Monte Carlo Simulation and Decision Making, Statistical Computing and Data Visualization and Marketing Analytics. Further, there are additional electives to choose from.
Apart from tuition fees, on-campus students might have to bear fees for workshops, seminars, or other co-curricular activities. Off-campus students will have to account for living costs such as expenditures made for accommodation, food, travel, insurance and other personal requirements. The cost of living will vary depending on the city and state one resides in.
Why MS in Business Analytics from the US?
An advantage of studying in the USA for an MS degree in Business Analytics is that the program qualifies as STEM, therefore students become eligible for a 24-month STEM extension of post-completion OPT, increasing their total work authorization eligibility.
In the past decade, various leading surveys and reports suggest a 20% rise in business analytics-related jobs across all industries in the US.
With a continuously rising demand for business analysts in the US, student placement is relatively quick. Companies are on the constant look-out for skilled and multidisciplinary workers.
Skills Requirement for Business Analytics
According to a joint report from the Business-Higher Education Forum and PwC, about half of Gallup surveyed executives said that greater data and analytics skills will be required of everyone in operations, finance and accounting, and marketing and sales in their companies. This clearly indicates the need for skill development and enhancement across industries. Similar skillets are required in different industries and job markets.
The top skills required of business analysts are:
Data analysis – Drawing from various information sources, analyse, visualize, and communicate insights regarding what has happened. Create models and software that predict what is going to happen or prescribe what should happen.
Decision-making – Drawing from various information sources, analyse, visualize, and communicate insights regarding what has happened. Create models and software that predict what is going to happen or prescribe what should happen.
Problem-framing – Frame industry problems as analytical problems and use statistical analysis to solve them. Create the data sets and analytical tools necessary to solve industry problems and/or innovate.
Types of Jobs
Almost all the Fortune 100 companies have invested big in business analytics and AI looking at its scope and for the benefit of their business. This has led to a continuous surge in the demand for business analytics professionals. As the widespread use of data-analytics for driving business decisions continues, the field of business analytics has evolved to become more complex and multidisciplinary. It today has specialised roles to cater to the specific needs of a business. Some of the most in-demand role types are:
Business Analyst – Data Architect, Data Scientist and Data Analyst Deals with database management and building statistical models
Quantitative Analyst – Quantitative Modeler, Financial AnalystDeals with helping assess risk and generate profits through trading strategies.
Operations Research Analyst – Business Operations Analyst, Operations Analyst, Operations Business Analyst Deals with operational efficiency by looking into ways of minimizing waste, processes and optimize sourcing models
Market Research AnalystDeals with studying market conditions for new products, research and forecast market trends, measure the success of marketing programs, do detailed analyses to identify target markets
According to a joint report by PwC, companies in the following managerial roles will be actively seeking skilled data-savvy professionals:
Finance and accounting managers 59%
Marketing and sales managers 51%
Executive leaders 49%
Supply chain and logistics managers 40%
Human resources managers 30%
Top Industries for business analytics-enabled jobs in the US
Finance/insurance- 51 % Functional analysts’ jobs
Healthcare and social services- 44% Functional analysts’ jobs
Retail Trade- 35% Functional analysts’ jobs
Manufacturing- 25% Functional analysts’ jobs
Science and Technical Services-29% Functional analysts’ jobs
Information technology-23% Functional analysts’ jobs
Top places recruiting Business Analysts in the USA
Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, Walmart
Boston Consulting Group Boston, Black Rock, McKinsey & Co
Gap, Inc, PayPal
Oscar Health, Children’s Hospital
Stitch Fix, Uber, Yelp
United States Air force
Average Salaries for Business Analysts in the US
According to a report by IBM, the US will have 2,720,000 business analysts’ job openings in 2020. The average salary of a Business Analyst with 5 years’ experience is US$80,000.
According to salary data collected and analysed by bls.gov, the following are median salaries for business analysts professionals operating in different functions
Business analyst, IT: $68,218
Director of business analytics: $124,367
Management analyst: $83,610
Operations research analyst: $83,390
Market research analyst: $63,120
Financial analyst: $85,660
Documents Required to Apply for MS in Business Analytics in the US
International students require certified academic transcripts, verified scores of GRE/GMAT/TOEFL/ IELTS tests, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, detailed resume and F-1 visa to apply for the course in the US.
The current skills-demand gap highlights the fact that business analytic professionals are going to be in high demand in the near future. In a digital economy almost all industries today depend on data to drive their business and related decisions, hence, business analytics know-how is not just “need-of-the-hour” but has become an important upskill requirement for current professionals too. Owing to this demand, higher educational institutes, both private and public universities in the US offer MS in Business Analytics courses focused on providing a sound foundation to prepare their students to meet the requirements of the current and future job marketplace.
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