MBA Alternatives: Master's in Business Analytics

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A master’s in business administration (MBA) is considered to be the most lucrative degree for students who wish to pursue management-level roles. While an MBA exposes students to various aspects of business and makes them more valuable to employers, other options are less intensive and more focused than an MBA.

One such program is a master of science (MS) in business analytics. This degree provides students with strong cross-industry analytical skills—a competitive edge in several types of businesses.

An MS in business analytics generally comprises 30 credits and includes courses on data mining, business analytics strategy, applied analytics, and statistics for managers. Students learn how to solve complex problems and become adept at using code and algorithms. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates can pursue various leadership roles as business intelligence analysts or marketing managers, among other opportunities.

The following article covers five exceptional online master’s programs in business analytics as well as three distinguished faculty members teaching them.

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Professors to Know in Master's Programs in Business Analytics

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    Pei-yu Chen, PhD

    Arizona State University

    Dr. Pei-yu Chen is a professor in the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. She teaches classes on information management and enterprise analytics. Before joining Arizona State University, she taught at Temple University and Carnegie Mellon University.

    Dr. Chen’s research interests include IT-enabled strategies and data analytics,focusing in areas such as e-commerce, healthcare, and the digital economy. Her work has been published in Management Science, the International Journal of Electronic Commerce, and Information Systems Research. Dr. Chen has won many awards including a Best Paper Award, a Service Award, and the Dean’s Excellence in Research Summer Grant.

    She completed her doctorate in operations and information management and her master's in applied economics from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as her MBA and bachelor's in information management from National Taiwan University.

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    Canan Gunes Corlu, PhD

    Boston University

    Dr. Canan Gunes Corlu is the former faculty coordinator for the applied business analytics programs at Boston University’s Metropolitan College. She teaches administrative science courses such as operations management, global supply chains, and enterprise risk analytics. Before joining the Boston University faculty, she taught at Bilkent University.

    Dr. Corlu’s research interests lie in the design and analysis of large-scale stochastic simulations with applications to operations management. She is also very interested in the application of operations management and research techniques to problems in the nonprofit sector. Her research has been published in several prominent peer-reviewed journals, including the International Journal of Production Research, Operations Research, and Surveys in Operations Research and Management Science. She completed her doctorate in operations management from Carnegie Mellon University and bachelor's in industrial engineering from Koc University in Turkey.

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    Don Harter, PhD

    Syracuse University

    Dr. Don Harter is an associate professor of management information systems at Syracuse's Martin J. Whitman School of Management. He also serves as the director of the MS in business analytics program. He teaches MBA courses in business analytics, as well as project management and a doctoral seminar in research methods. Before joining Syracuse University, he worked at BDM International, the University of Michigan Business School, and Carnegie Mellon University.

    Dr. Harter’s research covers project management and software process improvement and has been published in several top-notch journals such as IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Statistics Management Science, and Quality Control and Applied Statistics. He has won an Air Force Award for Excellence and a Business Administration Undergraduate Teaching Award.

    Dr. Harter holds a doctorate and a master's in information systems from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from Ohio University, as well as a master's in statistics and probability and a bachelor’s in mathematics from Michigan State University.

Featured Online Master's Programs in Business Analytics

Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers an online master of science (MS) in business analytics degree. The program makes students proficient in deriving value from data and leading data-driven analyses. The online program has the same curriculum as its on-campus counterpart and is taught by experienced and renowned faculty members.

The 30-credit program includes classes in data mining, analytical decision modeling, an introduction to enterprise analytics, business analytics strategy, and data-driven quality management. At the end of the program, students are well-equipped for a career in business analytics. Graduates can pursue opportunities and roles as online merchants, business intelligence analysts, and marketing managers.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited institution, a minimum GPA of 3.0, and GMAT or GRE test scores, among other documentation.

  • Location: Tempe, AZ
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $1,396 per credits
  • Program length: 12 to 18 months

Carnegie Mellon University

The online master of science in business analytics (MSBA) program at Carnegie Mellon is offered through the Tepper School of Business. This program is mainly delivered online with four on-campus visits. The program trains students to solve complex problems and apply data analytics in a business environment.

This program comprises eight to ten mini-terms, which account for about half a semester. Students take foundational courses such as the introduction to probability and statistics and programming in R and Python. The core courses include modern data management, business fundamentals for analytics professionals, and data exploration and visualization. Students can also choose elective courses, including mining unstructured data, analytical marketing, and data analytics in finance.

Students learn how to make appropriate judgments in managing, manipulating and analyzing large data sets, as well as how to apply computer software to implement analytical techniques. At the end of the program, graduates can take up roles as market analysts, business intelligence managers, decision analysts, analytical strategists, and clinical statistics managers.

To apply, students must have a four-year undergraduate degree (or the equivalent) from an accredited institution and submit a completed online application form, transcripts, official GMAT or GRE scores, a current resume, two professional letters of recommendation, and TOEFL scores (if applicable).

  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $62,500 for the full program
  • Program length: 18 months

Indiana University

Indiana University offers an online master’s in business analytics that focuses on performing basic analytics tasks and reviewing actual company situations. The Kelley School of Business is one of the top-ranking schools to offer this program.

The 30-credit curriculum includes an introduction to business analytics, strategic marketing management, data warehousing and visualization, developing value through BA applications, simulation and optimization for business analytics, and operations management. Through this program, students learn how to make sound business decisions, think strategically, and unlock information from datasets.

Online graduates receive the same degree as their on-campus counterparts and can pursue roles as e-commerce project managers, analytics managers, web metrics analysts, and consultants to senior decision-makers. Admission requirements include official GMAT or GRE score as well as TOEFL scores, among other documents.

  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Accreditation: AACSB International
  • Tuition: $1,330 per credit
  • Program length: 15 to 36 months

Syracuse University

The Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University offers a master’s in business analytics, both on campus and online. Taught by renowned faculty members, the program puts a special focus on guiding organizations in taking actionable decisions and interpreting complex data. ​The online program is ideal for working professionals, as it allows them to work full-time while earning their advanced degree.

The 36-credit program is designed to turn students into skilled data analysts. Students pursuing this program study courses in business analytics, data analysis and decision making, marketing analytics, accounting analytics, and principles of management science. The program trains students to utilize analytic tools to drive positive outcomes for businesses; to identify patterns in statistical and data analysis; and to collect and organize data. Upon completion of the program, graduates can pursue roles as data analysts or analytics managers, among other opportunities.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree (or the equivalent) from an accredited university and submit GMAT or GRE scores. For online applicants, the latter requirement can be waived if the applicant has at least a year of professional work experience and either an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or more or a master’s degree in any field.

  • Location: Syracuse, NY
  • Accreditation: AACSB International
  • Tuition: $1,559 per credit
  • Program length: 18 months

Boston University

This online program in applied business analytics management provides students with practical experience with analytical models. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school's online master’s degrees in management among the top online graduate programs in business. ​The program is flexible and thus ideal for working professionals.

The 40-credit program covers financial concepts, business analytics foundations, marketing analytics, data mining for business analytics, enterprise risk analytics, and quantitative and qualitative decision making. Students gain an understanding of how organizations use interconnected data inputs and analytics models to understand markets and customers. Students also become experts in the analysis of metrics and web analytics, and they develop fundamental ​skills ​in problem-solving, critical thinking, decision-making, and communication.

Graduates can pursue roles as market research analysts, operations research analysts, management analysts, statisticians, and financial analysts, among others. Applicants must submit a completed online application, three letters of recommendation, a self-evaluation, a current resume, and official transcripts. International students must submit TOEFL scores as well.

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Accreditation: AACSB International
  • Tuition: $1,651 per credit
  • Program length: 18 to 24 months

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