What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Business Analytics and Intelligence?

The future is digital, and that means that professionals who earn a master’s in business analytics and intelligence will be in high demand over the next decade. An online master’s in business analytics and intelligence enables students to take a deep dive into big data, data collection and manipulation, intelligence infrastructure and related information technology concentrations. Students will graduate not only with an understanding of systems but also equipped to design their own solutions within management roles in the business analytics and intelligence career fields.

Choosing an online master’s degree in business analytics and intelligence enables a high level of flexibility in graduate studies. Students can not only pick their major and concentrations from many different options but also select the curriculum delivery type that best meshes with their current personal and professional life. Students who want maximum control over earning their advanced degree can enroll in asynchronous programs that enable self-pacing to move through the curriculum. Students in search of a more structured grad school experience can choose a school that offers lock-step curriculum requirements while still retaining the flexibility to complete work each week as best suits their schedule. A third option, a hybrid degree in business analytics and intelligence, offers most courses online plus one or more opportunities to complete courses on campus through summer sessions or shorter intensives. In addition, students also benefit from flexibility over where they live, eliminating the need to move to another area to obtain a degree from a brick-and-mortar institution.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Business Analytics and Intelligence

CONCENTRATION DESCRIPTION POTENTIAL CAREERS FOR THIS CONCENTRATION
Business Intelligence Systems Examine the intersection of data and analytical tools in order to capably manage future work that includes analyzing competitors, predicting market reactions and working within a regulatory environment. Business intelligence consultant, data analytics specialist
Data Science Enables students to use their core business analytics studies with the added benefit of becoming specialists in data science based on studies that include computer science, math and financial courses. Data scientist, computer scientist

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Business Analytics and Intelligence

Students who enroll in business analytics and intelligence master’s programs will experience carefully designed curriculum requirements that combine classes in management, computer science, system design and data mining. When combined with a specialization or concentration, graduates of this program will be equipped for both generalist and specialist roles in business analytics.

Students may encounter some of the following courses during their graduate studies:

COURSES DESCRIPTION
Data Mining Engages students with a dive into the world of data mining, including warehousing, cubes and algorithms featured in current products and which the student may design in the future.
Predictive Analytics for Business Introduces students to predictive analytical tools and the techniques they enable, housed in the framework of hypothetical scenarios and programs students may face upon graduation.
Foundations for Business Intelligence Focuses on the practice of business intelligence, immersing in strategic, tactical and operational work and exploring various systems that enable successfully maneuvering through business analytics and intelligence.
Process Simulation and Analysis Explores numerous case studies on current technology, allows students to use the concepts learned in a closed environment in order to design and monitor deployed systems and procedures.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Business Analytics and Intelligence?

Students who enroll in online master’s in business analytics and intelligence programs need to complete between 30 and 48 credits prior to graduation. Those credits are split between core curriculum, courses related to specializations and concentrations, and end-of-degree opportunities like internships, practicums, thesis creation and capstone projects. The typical amount of time to complete all coursework ranges from 18 months to three years. Students with increased time constraints to finish their studies may take up to five years to complete the master’s, the upper limit mandated by most universities.

Several factors can increase or decrease the amount of time a student takes to complete their graduate degree in business analytics and intelligence. First, colleges that offer asynchronous studies structure students to move at their own pace, whether faster or slower than a typical graduate course. Degree completion time can extend if students choose more than one specialization or concentration. More time may also be necessary depending on how long internships or similar experiences take to complete. On the other side of the equation, students may save time in studies if they’ve previously been in a similar advanced degree with another college, as most schools allow students to transfer up to 12 credits.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Business Analytics and Intelligence Prepares For

CERTIFICATION DESCRIPTION
Certified Analytics Professional This professional certification, considered one of the most beneficial for practitioners in the business analytics field, is granted for applications who meet education and experience requirements and pass a rigorous exam.
Management Consultant Certification Offered by the Institute of Management Consultants, this certification enables applicants who meet the knowledge and experience requirements to become certified after passing oral and written exams.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Business Analytics and Intelligence

Universities, colleges and their individual programs undergo the accreditation process to show that their requirements meet the rigid standards held by the accrediting body. When students are studying potential master’s programs in business analytics and intelligence, verifying accreditation is an important consideration. Programs that are accredited are often held in higher regard than those that have not yet passed the accrediting process.

Schools can achieve accreditation through regional bodies, federal agencies and industry groups. Regional bodies that may grant accreditation to business analytics programs include the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Schools can also seek accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission or from industry groups like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Business Analytics and Intelligence Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

Business analytics and intelligence are fields continuing to show healthy growth, similar to the information technology field. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in the area of business analytics will find many job openings in the field, including entry- and mid-level analyst positions. With the addition of a master’s degree, the job market opens even further with positions including information security, information systems manager, management analyst and information security analyst.

Expected Salary

Positions focusing on the principles learned in earning a master’s in business analytics and intelligence earn generous salaries across many different industries and have broad opportunities to grow into higher-level info tech roles.

Median Salary for Business Analytics and Intelligence Professionals

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics documents the various field types professionals can enter with a master’s in business analytics and intelligence. One key role, as a computer and information research scientist, is in constant demand and continuing to grow quickly, with an anticipated 5,400 jobs to be added in the next 10 years. Salary levels for this position vary depending on the industry in which the position is housed.

Industry Number of Professionals Salary
Federal Executive Branch 7,630 $107,910
Computer Systems Design 6,000 $120,700
Scientific Research and Development 4,640 $127,730
Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools 1,850 $88,920
Software Publishers 1,610 $137,970

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Opportunities

Business analytics and intelligence professionals are well positioned to utilize their education and experience in key management and technology roles across nearly any industry.

JOB TITLE JOB DESCRIPTION MEDIAN SALARY PROJECTED GROWTH RATE
Management Analysts Management Analysts use collected data to examine organizations, how well they are performing and where opportunities may exist to effect changes based on analysis and intelligence. $82,450 per year 14%
Computer and Information Research Scientists Professionals in this field rely on data and research in order to best equip organizations with their technological needs, including proprietary designs and innovative uses of intelligence. $114,520 per year 19%
Operations Research Analysts A rehabilitation counselor works primarily in healthcare and residential settings to recognize addictions, substance abuse and other mental health issues that may play a role in recovery. Rehabilitation specialists may also work in management level roles to lead counseling teams and ensure proper programs and practices are being used. $81,390 per year 27%

Professional Organizations

Students and graduates alike benefit from association with one or more professional organizations in order to take advantage of their many offerings. Professionals can take CEU courses, remain abreast of leading-edge paradigms in the business analytics industry, network with fellow professionals and attend regional and national conventions and training opportunities.

Computing Research Association: The CRA seeks to further the careers of its members in the area of computing research through job listings, important publications, best practices and ongoing learning opportunities.

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences: A large and well-regarded organization, this institute has more than 12,500 members who are able to access best practices documentation and important networking opportunities with fellow business analysts as well as engage in periodic meetings that enable continued learning.

IEEE Computer Society: An enormous entity with 60,000 members and regional chapters located throughout the country, this association provides professionals with continuing education, industry publications, networking within and through chapters and advisory/regulatory materials.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Business Analytics and Intelligence

How to finance an online master’s in business analytics and intelligence is a major consideration for most incoming students. The costs of credit hours and additional fees are often less than those charged by brick-and-mortar universities that offer in-person degrees. Even so, graduate school is more expensive than most students are able to afford without accessing various types of financial aid.

The key first step to lining up the financial aid that will pay for a master’s degree is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Depending on the information included in this application, such as the student’s income and other key demographics, the federal government is offer to able a number of financial aid scenarios. Most prominently, students can take advantage of federally backed student loans, which can often cover most graduate degree costs. These loans offer low interest rates and various payback scenarios, including wage-based loan payments and loan forgiveness for students who enter key fields like public health and public safety.

Additionally, students can be matched with grants that are often based on enabling underserved demographics in pursuit of an advanced degree. Students can also take advantage of work-study arrangements and matching-dollar offers from employers. Scholarships, grants, work-studies and stipend opportunities are offered by organizations such as the student’s host school, professional organizations, philanthropic bodies and nonprofits. Grants and scholarships do not have to be repaid.

Once students examine options offered by the government, they can research additional financial aid-granting organizations to cover other educational costs. Scholarship applications are often very competitive, so students are well-served to apply to every scholarship for which they qualify based on required education, future intents and specific demographics.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

Department of Defense SMART Scholarship

Award: Need-based

Deadline: Varies

Eligibility: This scholarship is available for students in undergrad or grad technical degree studies who agree to serve an internship with the DOD as well as work for the DOD after graduation. Students must submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, test scores and confirmed admission to a technical program.

ACM/SIGHPC Intel Computational and Data Science Fellowship

Award: $15,000

Deadline: April 30

Eligibility: This scholarship provides master’s and doctoral students with financial support while they conduct research within their degree that’s centered on big data. The fellowship is designed to support women and minority populations in their pursuit of a career in business analytics and intelligence. Applicants must have finished half or less than half of their education before application, receive a nomination from their advisor, submit a statement and CV, and obtain recommendations from teachers.