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Is a Master’s in Business Analytics Worth it?

Data is the new oil of the 21st century. The volume of data and information generated and consumed globally increased exponentially in the last decade, up from 6.5 zettabytes in 2012 to a projected 97 zettabytes in 2022. With this comes the demand for qualified skills that can crunch and unveil real value from data. In the past decade, the need to become more data-driven has seen such roles as data analyst, data scientist, statistician, business analyst, and other roles evolve and gain more importance. The demand for data professionals is at its peak. Data professionals can pursue several options to advance and rise through the ranks in their careers. 

Certifications are one way to go about it. For instance, the IIT Roorkee Business Analytics certification program is offered by Simplilearn. Other options include pursuing a technology-based post-graduate diploma to expand your knowledge base, a Master’s qualification in business analytics, or just gaining work experience and being better at what you do. 

Whether you have opted for a Master of Business Analytics program or an MBA program with a bias toward business analytics, the fundamental question to ask yourself is what you want to achieve by the end of the program. Oftentimes, professionals who pursue a master’s in Business Analytics transition straight from bachelor’s degree programs in business analytics or a business course. Others undertake to advance their careers from business analyst roles where they work under those in charge of making decisions to management, planning, and strategy roles. 

Overview of business analytics?

Business analytics is a discipline that employs technology, statistical models, data mining, data analysis, and other quantitative methods to explore historical data with the goal of identifying trends, insights, and problems. Business analysts analyze historical data to gain valuable insights that inform decisions that will help improve business performance. Data is collected from various departments in the organization and integrated into a single repository to provide a unified view to users. Thereafter, data mining, analytics, and visualization tools are used to process, analyze, and extract insights from the data. Business analytics can be:

  • Descriptive analytics is the simplest form of analytics that uses current and historical data to uncover and understand hidden trends, patterns, and insights in data. 
  • Diagnostic analytics explores current and historical data to attempt to answer the question, “why did it happen?”
  • Predictive analytics is an advanced form of analytics that uses statistical and modeling techniques to predict future outcomes from current and historical data. 
  • Prescriptive analytics is an advanced form of analytics that analyzes data to recommend the optimal course of action for a business to influence outcomes in the desired direction. 

Though their responsibilities may vary depending on the company, position, and industry they have been employed, the role of a business analyst generally involves studying current and historical business data and business processes to find ways of improving the operational efficiency and performance of the business. 

About the Master’s in Business Analytics program

The master’s in business analytics is an intensive program that typically takes between 12 to 14 months. This degree can be undertaken by recent graduates or working professionals who aspire to advance their careers in the business analytics field. The program equips you with the advanced skills required to implement modern data science, machine learning, and other statistical analysis techniques to identify and solve real-world business problems. 

For this reason, you need to have a deep interest in working with data to pursue business analytics up to the master’s level and beyond. This program will help you to develop the capabilities of analyzing and understanding business systems and processes and finding ways to improve them to optimize business performance based on insights gained from data. You will acquire the expertise in handling and analyzing business data to resolve business challenges and be able to transform raw, complex data into valuable information that is useful for data-driven decision-making. The business analytics field has been there for the longest time, but data and technology have evolved it a great deal. 

The curriculum 

The master’s in business analytics program is technical in nature and focuses on analytical tools and techniques. Its curriculum may incorporate the following modules:

  • Advanced Machine learning 
  • Business mathematics and statistics
  • Business intelligence and business process management 
  • Advanced data structures and algorithms 
  • Database technologies and information systems 
  • Decision models 
  • Visualization 
  • Systems and network analysis 
  • Retail and Digital marketing analytics 
  • Financial analytics and risk management  
  • Logistics and supply chain analytics 
  • Healthcare analytics 
  • Data management ethics 

Some skills taught in the master’s business analytics program include:

  • Programming skills in computer languages and frameworks such as SQL, Python, R, Spark, and Apache Hadoop
  • Statistical and quantitative analysis 
  • Strategic business management
  • Communication, corporate communication, and leadership skills 
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills 

Why should you pursue a Master’s qualification in business analytics?

The world is ruled by data. Thus, the demand for data analytics skills can only increase in the future. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a growth of 28% in the data analytics and data science market by 2026. The key driving factors for the growth in this field are emerging disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Top companies, agencies, and consultancies like Google, Apple, Amazon, Bain, and McKinsey are constantly on the lookout for refined data analytics skills to make the most of the data available to them. 

With a master’s qualification in business analytics, professionals are not only highly competitive in the job market, but they will also benefit from the following:

  • Broader career options 

The high demand for business analysts cust across all industries, including financial services, logistics, supply chain, retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and more. This gives business analysts with master’s qualifications not just better earning prospects but also broader opportunities in their careers. 

  • Increased salary prospects 

Master’s graduates have better prospects of landing senior management, general management, supervisory, or other top roles in which they directly influence or make strategic business decisions based on actionable insights derived from data. Even at the entry level, these individuals can potentially command an annual salary of more than $85,000, which is significantly higher than that of their fellow graduates with bachelor’s degree qualifications. 

  • The fulfillment that comes from working in an ever-evolving technology field 

Thanks to advancing technology, the business world is an ever-evolving world full of uncertainties. With each passing day, new technologies, updates, and features are developed that carry the potential to disrupt normal business operations. Today, change is the new normal, and business analysts are at the helm of proactively implementing and managing change in the business. They are depended upon to recommend technologies that will effectively help the business make the most of data to stay ahead of the competition. 

  • Acquiring advanced skills and competence 

A higher qualification in business analytics is perhaps more noticeable and attractive to recruiters because it demonstrates one’s technical skills and business acumen in different domains. This program helps professionals not just develop the skills and knowledge of experimenting and working with various tools but also a problem-solving ability to work with the noisiest datasets. It’s about having the curiosity to discover hidden trends, patterns, and insights in business data and use this to improve business operations. 

There is more to the Master’s in business analytics program than the title. It is the acumen and responsibility that comes with solving complex business problems and formulating business strategy out of the greatest asset, data.

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