Why Get a Masters in Big Data Analytics Degree

Our information-based global economy is becoming more dependent on big data and business analytics than ever before. It is for that reason that the demand for professionals in business who can analyze large amounts of data and make vital business decisions quickly.

A master’s degree in big data analytics or business analytics is critical to develop you into a business professional with outstanding skills in business analytics and big data. This master’s degree will arm you with the skills to analyze data patterns and place them into their correct context. This then allows you to draw direct lines from the information to the correct end results.

In that process, you then can look at which types of technology to use to bridge gaps between the data and analysis. This allows you to know how to make a correlation between the most important data with vital business challenges.

All of these skills and tools are needed in a big way by corporations today. In fact, at the University of Minnesota, 100% of master’s in business analytics students were hired in the classes of 2015 and 2016 within three months of graduation.

Major Need for Operations Research Analysts

Earning a master’s degree in big data analytics will qualify you for a multitude of upper level management positions in business that are very well paid. For example, there is a growing need for operations research analysts.

They are data crunchers that use mathematics, statistics and analysis to assist companies in making correct business decisions and to solve the most complex business problems.

Important duties for operations research analysts include:

  • Identifying and solving business problems in healthcare, accounting, finance, and supply chain management
  • Collecting and organizing big data from a multitude of sources, such as computer databases, sales archives and customer surveys.
  • Collect input from employees about certain business problems so that problems can be rectified efficiently.
  • Utilize statistics and predictive modeling to conduct data analysis and come up with innovative business solutions.

Professionals with a master’s in big data analytics will be sure to find a good job on this field; job demand will increase by 30% by 2024, and the median salary is $78,000.

Why Earn a Master’s Degree in Big Data Analytics?

It always is wise to earn an MBA, as you will earn 20% more on average throughout your career than those with just a bachelor’s degree. But earning a master’s in big data and business analytics will put you in an even better position.

Research suggests that professionals with graduate degrees in this field are seeing very rapid increase in demand. The McKinsey Global Institute report called Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity stated in 2015 that the United States will experience a shortage of a minimum of 1.5 million data analysts and managers who can crunch data and make quick, accurate business decisions on the results.

Also, an International Data Corporation (IDC) report concluded that the business analytics and big data market will grow to $203 billion per year by 2020. This is double what the market was in 2015.

Admission Requirements

Given the strong demand for business analysts with big data skills, there is competition to be admitted into these master’s programs. For example, NYU Stern offers a master’s degree in this field, and the requirements for admission are as follows:

  • At least five years of full time business work experience.
  • A bachelor’s degree in a related field and a GPA of at least 3.0.
  • Must demonstrate a strong aptitude for quantitative analysis and strong academic success.
  • Official transcripts from all college work
  • Two recommendations
  • Three essays
  • Final interview
  • GRE and GMAT scores not required; some programs may require one or the other

Curriculum and Courses

One excellent opportunity to obtain this degree online is through the Master of Science in Analytics (MSA) offered by the School of Business of Villanova University. This degree focuses on the modern, digital economy and teaches students how to collect big data and interpret it to create actionable intelligence. The program has been designed to ensure that graduates have an in-depth understanding of the latest analytics practices, applications, and technologies, and that they play a key role in changing the world of business. The faculty are world-renowned for their expertise in computer science, mathematics, statistics, analytics, and business. Additionally, the program is supported by one of the six centers of excellence of the Villanova School of Business, which is the Center for Business Analytics.

During the program, students learn about every element of analytics, from gathering data to implementing conclusions. The program takes 33 credits to finish, and students must also undertake a practicum project. While delivered online, students can complete the degree in 24 months. It has been designed for those who already have some knowledge, preferably at the undergraduate level, about math, computer science, engineering, business, or analytics.

Graduates are respected for their advanced understanding of big data and analytics and how these are applied to real-world situations. Students learn about the latest technologies and the link between data and computer science, statistics, and math. Furthermore, it focuses on using data collected and translating it into a language that others can understand.

The core curriculum of the degree includes:

  • Introduction to Business Analytics
  • Programming in “R”
  • Data Models and Structured Analysis
  • Multivariate Data Analysis
  • Enterprise Data Management
  • Business Intelligence
  • Analytical Methods for Text and Web Mining
  • Analytical Methods for Optimization and Simulation
  • Advanced Business Applications

Those who complete the degree have a wealth of employment opportunities available to them. They are all positions in which data analysis and in-depth knowledge about statistics, math, and computer sciences can be used. Some of the most popular career options are:

  • Data analyst
  • Information manager
  • Computer programmer
  • Statistician
  • Business analyst
  • Computer systems analyst
  • Operations research analyst

Career Outcomes and Job Titles

Some of the job titles that you could qualify for with this master’s degree are:

  • Business analyst
  • Business analytics manager
  • Operations research analyst
  • Management analyst
  • Financial analyst
  • Business intelligence director
  • Business systems analyst

Job and Salary Outlook

  • Operations Research Analyst –Job demand in this field will increase by 30% by 2024 and the median salary is $78,100 per year. Experts say that the demand in this field should be especially acute in the Armed Forces. Also there will be demand to assist in the development and implementation of new programs and policies in other parts of government. As technology improves, it is thought that there will be even more demand for business professionals with big data skills that can be applied to this field.
  • Management Analyst –These are management consultants who review big data at companies and determine ways to improve the efficiency of an organization. They also provide advice to managers about how to make their companies more profitable through higher revenues and reduced costs. Being able to sort through large amounts of data and make good decisions based upon it is critical in this role. Employment in the field will increase by 14% by 2024, and the median pay is $81,320.
  • Financial Analyst –These financial professionals offer detailed guidance to companies that need to make critical investment decisions. They are experts in assessing the performance of stocks, bonds and many other types of investments. Being able to analyze large amounts of data and analyzing economic and business trends is key to being successful in this role. Demand in this position will increase by 12% by 2024, and the median salary is $80,300.

Scholarships and Grants

  • University of Minnesota: Students who are earning their Master of Science in Business Analytics at this university are eligible for a $20,000 scholarship. Students who are early in their career with analytical skills are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • University of Colorado-Denver: This business school offers several scholarships for students who are in business analytics and big data, as well as MBA programs.

Additional Resources