If you are considering taking the next step on your career journey, a master’s in business analytics might be something that you have considered.
Trendsetting businesses like Amazon made good use of their team of business analysts and software experts at the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, and because of this, they were able to grow their profits and meet increased demand substantially.
Having the ability to understand, anticipate and proactively react to customer needs is a key part of running a successful business. Employers know this, and this is why business analytics is being lauded as a great career choice.
That being said, a masters are a huge investment, and so it’s important to know what it is that you will be getting out of it before signing up.
What careers does a business analytics masters open up for you?
The skills that you will acquire during your business analytics masters are wide-ranging and will be of benefit to you in many different career paths. They’ll even be hugely beneficial for entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses.
However, there are some career paths that business analytics graduates often follow. Some of the job titles you can expect to come across include Business Analyst, Data Analyst, Data and Analytics Manager and many more. These roles come under the following broad categories.
- Reporting. This is where business analytics first began. If you are working in a reporting-based role, you will need to not only run reports but use software to design reports that return the information that your stakeholders need to see. For example, you might design a report that can tell a sales manager which products are selling, and which are not, cross-referenced with a report on events happening in the world. They can then use this information to start to form strategies going forwards.
- Analytics. Analytics roles tend to bridge a more technical role and an IT-based role. Working in analytics requires you to have a sound understanding of how the business works, but also of how software works. Using this unique knowledge set, you can help to bridge the gap between technology professionals and stakeholders within the business to design effective software and reporting solutions. Analytics is great because it is a varied role; you will find yourself working in lots of different types of roles. It also keeps your options open; you can choose to specialize in another area if you would like to because you have the experience to do that.
- Strategy. Strategic roles mean that you are instrumental in forming strategies to help your company to be more profitable. You will have a good understanding of working with data, and you will use this knowledge alongside your knowledge of business and economics to devise an effective strategy.
- Data science. Data scientists are specialists in their area, and as such, are incredibly highly valued. For example, a data scientist might specialize in a specific area like speech or text analytics. They will spend their time learning everything there is to know about their chosen area, and they must keep up to date with all of the latest software and techniques that are relevant to their field.
What skills can you expect to learn on a masters
A good masters in business analytics should furnish you with the skills you need to start working in the field. Some of the skills you can expect to gain from your masters are:
- Interrogating large data sets. You will learn to use software to collect huge amounts of data and then organize it in such a way that it can be examined later. You will learn to search for the information that you need in multiple different data sets and then cross-reference them against one another to conclude.
- Applying statistical models. Statistical models are a way of using mathematics to approximate reality. You can then apply mathematical principles to this reality to understand things that have happened or to make predictions about what might happen in the future.
- Development of software solutions. You may find that you need to do something very specific with your data, the mechanism for which doesn’t exist in any software packages. In these situations, you would need to be able to develop your own software solutions to get you the answer to your problem.
- Models for decision making. The reason that businesses want all of this data in the first place is to allow them to make better decisions. Part of your role will be to assist in this decision-making process by creating mathematical models for decision making, which are grounded in data.
- Consulting and communication skills. All of your data analysis isn’t much good if nobody ever does anything with it! This is why your masters will teach you how to communicate your ideas effectively, in a way that can be understood by people without your data background. It will also teach you consultancy, which is the ability to ensure that projects are implemented and run correctly.
What to look for when choosing a masters
When you are deciding which masters to study, there are a few things that you should think about.
Firstly, ask yourself why you are thinking about studying a masters. Are you hoping to bag yourself a better job, make connections in your industry or increase your own knowledge? These are absolutely all things that a masters can give you, but a masters isn’t necessarily the only way to get them. Think about as many different ways of achieving your goals as possible and evaluate whether or not a masters are the most effective.
Once you’ve decided whether or not a masters are the right path for you, you can go about choosing your course and institution. Some things to consider are:
- Would you rather study online or on campus?
- Would you rather study full or part-time?
- Is location a factor?
It’s then a good idea to reach out to the schools you are considering and speak with them about how they can help you reach your goals. It’s through these conversations that you will understand whether or not a course is right for you.