MBA Alternatives: MS in Business Intelligence

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Big data is all the rage. With more services and products launched in the cloud each day, we are surrounded by endless amounts of data that organizations harness to influence their business decisions. Because big data has become so vital, companies are always looking for talent to decode large amounts of data and help them make the most of it.

A master’s degree in business intelligence equips students with the skills and knowledge they need to tackle big data. While a master of business administration (MBA) focuses on the fundamental areas of business, a master of science in business intelligence highlights business frameworks through the lens of data analytics.

The curriculum for an online MS in business intelligence generally covers cyber analytics, data visualization, statistical modeling, and data warehousing. Students learn how to interpret data and tell a story about it so that the entire organization can understand its implications.

Since data is such a crucial part of every organization in every industry, be it healthcare, marketing, governmental, real estate, or retail, graduates with a degree in business intelligence have many opportunities. They can choose to work in different departments within an organization, including human resources, marketing, accounting, and business development.

The following guide covers six notable master of science programs in business intelligence as well as three top faculty members who teach classes within them.

Professors to Know in MS Business Intelligence Programs

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    Myles Gartland, PhD – Rockhurst University

    Dr. Myles Gartland teaches analytics and business intelligence in the Helzberg School of Management at Rockhurst University. His primary teaching and research areas include data mining, computational methods, predictive models, and business intelligence. Outside of his faculty duties, he advises firms on how to utilize data and analysts as a key part of their strategy. Before joining Rockhurst University, he held visiting professor positions at Creighton University and the Gdansk University of Technology in Poland.

    Dr. Gartland has published his research in the Journal of Economic Issues, the Journal of Health Administration Education, and the Journal of Socio-Economics. Dr. Gartland earned a doctorate and master’s in economics at the University of Missouri, a master’s in predictive analytics and computational methods at DePaul University, an MBA at Baker University, and a bachelor’s degree in biology and anthropology at the University of Kansas.

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    Jahangir Karimi, PhD – University of Colorado

    Dr. Jahangir Karimi is the acting dean and associate dean of faculty, staff, and operations in the business school at the University of Colorado, Denver, where he also serves as a professor of information systems. He has taught business intelligence systems, analysis and logical design, systems analysis and design, software project management, and client-server computing. Notably, he was the coordinating director in creating MOOCs (massive open online courses) through the business school.

    Dr. Karimi’s research focuses on disruptive innovations, corporate and strategic entrepreneurship, dynamic capabilities, business model innovation, ERP implementation, and digital innovations. His work has been published in top journals such as MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, the International Journal of Electronic Commerce (where he sits on the editorial board), the Journal of Management Information Systems, and the Journal of Systems and Software, among others. He’s also the author of several books and conference papers, and has a PhD in management information systems from the University of Arizona.

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    Edward Stohr, PhD – Stevens Institute of Technology

    Dr. Edward Stohr coordinates the master of science in business and intelligence and analytics program in the School of Business at Stevens Institute of Technology. He teaches courses on process innovation and management, optimization and process analytics, and curricular practical training. Before joining the Stevens Institute of Technology, he worked at New York University, Northwestern University, and the University of California, Berkeley.

    Dr. Stohr’s research examines the problems of developing computer systems to support decision-making and work in companies. He is a member of the Technology Management Education Association and the Association of Computing Machinery. His research has been published in the International Journal of Production Research and the Global Journal of Flexible Systems Management. Notably, he received the Howe School Outstanding Service Award and the Citibank Award for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Stohr has a doctorate and MBA in information systems from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor of civil engineering from the University of Melbourne.

Featured Online Master Programs in Business Intelligence

Saint Joseph’s University

Saint Joseph’s University offers an online master of science in business intelligence and analytics. As one of the premier business analytics master’s delivered online, the program exposes students to the latest applications and theories that are valuable to any organization.

​Admission requirements include having an undergraduate degree from an accredited school, letters of recommendation, and a resume, as well as sending a personal statement, official transcripts, and GMAT and GRE scores (waiver available).

​ The 30-credit program provides students with an integrative foundation in the field of business intelligence at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. Students have four tracks to choose from: data analysis, a general track, programming languages, and cyber analytics.

Some of the courses included are business intelligence, an introduction to data mining, Python programming, analytics with machine learning, and the fundamentals of cybersecurity. Students learn about patterns in data, machine learning techniques, statistical pattern recognition, supervised and unsupervised learning, and genetic algorithms. They also learn how to apply these techniques to analyze data as well as the use of Python interpreter.

At the end of the program, graduates can pursue several opportunities in a wide variety of industries such as defense, energy, healthcare, and manufacturing. They can take up roles as data scientists, cyber intelligence analysts, big data analysts, business solutions analysts, and application analysts.

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition: $1,043 per credit
  • Program length: 24 months

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

The Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers an online master’s program in business intelligence and data analytics that provides students with practical experience in big data analytics and business intelligence and helps them develop presentation skills.

Applicants to the program must have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution and a grade point average of 2.75 or higher, among other requirements.

The 36-credit program helps students develop comprehensive skills and knowledge to succeed in business intelligence and data analytics. Students pursuing the program delve into topics on managerial economics, decision support systems, business statistics, business analytics, and ethics in data analytics.

Students emerge from the program as well-trained professionals, having dealt with real organizational issues using real-time data-sets. They are well-equipped to apply ethical strategies to manage conflicts and work with imperfect data to find the ideal solution, as well as to improve data collection processes and assess the cause of conflict in organization settings.

At the end of the program, graduates can pursue several opportunities and roles such as management analyst, senior business intelligence analyst, data scientist, and financial analyst.

  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $650 per credit
  • Program length: 12 months

Rockhurst University

Rockhurst University’s Helzberg School of Management offers an online master of science in business intelligence and analytics, which is ideal for aspiring professionals in data science.

Admission requirements to the program include completed online admission application, official transcripts, professional resume, and official GMAT or GRE scores (waiver available).

The 30-credit program trains students in data visualization, data mining, web and social media analytics, marketing strategy, and business intelligence. Students can become proficient in the technical skills behind machine learning, predictive modeling, statistical modeling, computer science, and data visualization. They not only can become tech-savvy but are also prepared to communicate advanced data topics to colleagues and managers with less technical expertise.

  • Location: Kansas City, MO
  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Tuition: $710 per credit
  • Program length: 18 to 24 months

Stevens Institute of Technology

The Stevens Institute of Technology offers an online master’s program in business intelligence and analytics. The program is taught by experienced faculty and can be completed entirely online providing maximum flexibility to students.

Students applying to the program must have official transcripts from all universities attended. They are also required to have completed one semester of calculus and one semester of basic probability, hypothesis testing, and estimation before starting the program. They must also submit a professional resume, GMAT or GRE scores, and two letters of recommendation.

The 36-credit program offers concentrations in data science, marketing analytics, and supply chain analytics. Courses include data warehousing and business intelligence, process optimization and analytics, financial decision making, database systems and decision support, multivariate data analytics, and social network analytics.

The program prepares students to make effective recommendations about supply chains, marketing strategy, and product development. Students receive direct exposure to various challenges they might face in the workplace. The curriculum helps them develop skills to collect, analyze, and interpret data while strategic data planning and management. All in all, they learn how to convert their knowledge into actionable strategies for today’s business challenges.

  • Location: Hoboken, NJ
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $1,620 per credit
  • Program length: 16 months

University of Colorado

The University of Colorado offers an online master of science in information systems with a specialization in business intelligence that combines operational data with analytical tools to present complex information to decision-makers and planners. This is a fully online program that consists of the same courses as the on-campus master of science in information systems.

Admission requirements include an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited university, GMAT scores (waiver available), and a language proficiency test for international students.

​The 30-credit curriculum covers database management systems, business intelligence systems and analytics, information systems management and strategy, business intelligence in healthcare, and business intelligence and financial modeling. Students develop skills and knowledge in real-time data warehousing, data visualization, data mining, online analytical processing, and advanced intelligent systems. They also gain hands-on experience with leading business intelligence tools.

Upon completion of the program, graduates can pursue roles as software designers, system administrators, business analysts, database administrators, and technology executives.

  • Location: Denver, CO
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association
  • Tuition: $725 per credit
  • Program length: 18 to 24 months

Arizona State University

ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business offers an online master of science in business analytics. The program is enriched by a wide variety of practical opportunities, helping students build quantitative skills and knowledge needed to advance their analytics career. The flexibility offered by the program is ideal for working professionals.

Admission requirements to the program include a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited university, a cumulative GPA of 3.0, and GMAT or GRE test scores, among others.

​The 30-credit program molds students into skillful analysts and data professionals. They study business analytics strategies, data mining, enterprise analytics, analytical decision modeling, data-driven quality management, and applied analytics. The program trains students to derive value from data, lead data-driven analyses, and create a business advantage across markets and industries. Theoretical learning in the program is supplemented by real-world experience so that students can get a holistic view of issues. They also develop communication and leadership abilities.

At the end of the program, students are prepared to take up roles as business intelligence analysts, online merchants, marketing managers, and business operations managers.

  • Location: Tempe, AZ
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Tuition: $1,396 per credit
  • Program length: 18 to 24 months

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