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Is a Master's in Business Analytics Worth It?

October 7, 2019 | Read Time: 3 Minutes


500 million tweets. 347.3 billion emails. 8.5 billion internet searches.  

This isn’t a futuristic forecast—it’s just the amount of data generated in a typical day. And the trend is only intensifying. By 2025, the entire digital universe is expected to reach 181 zettabytes. (A single zettabyte is the equivalent of 250 billion DVDs.)  

If navigating, translating, and deriving insights from data isn’t part of your job yet, chances are it will be soon. One way to master technical data analytics skills is through a graduate school program like an MSBA degree, or Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) from a top school of business. 
Many schools offer business analytics graduate programs and master’s in business analytics programs. Let’s explore some of the benefits of earning a master’s in business analytics.

1. Work in Any Industry  

Business analytics, or the study of data-driven decision making, is a skill set that can apply to any industry, says Tom Davenport, the President’s Distinguished Professor of Information Technology at Babson College.   
“Any industry that moves things, has employees, has customers—that amounts to every industry,” he says. Consider how wearable tech bridges fashion and health care, or how connected cars draw from both manufacturing and software. 

MSBA career opportunities can be found in companies of all sizes, sectors, and job titles. Next time you’re wondering “what can I do with a master’s in business analytics?”, consider searching for such job titles as:

  • Business Intelligence Analyst 
  • Data Specialist 
  • Data Integrity Analyst 
  • Information Technology Analyst 
  • Marketing Analyst

2. Set Up for Success

Choosing to pursue a graduate degree is a personal decision, and one of the biggest motivators for going back to school is accelerating your career.  
In a survey of prospective employers, MSBA graduates with some prior work experiences were the most sought after for their blend of technical and business skills. Lily Awad works with recruiters and employers on a daily basis as senior associate director of the Graduate Center for Career Development at Babson.  
The message she hears from recruiters at machine learning, AI, and analytics firms is consistent. “When they are looking to hire, they’re looking for people who are super comfortable with statistics, but also have client-facing experience,” she says. An MSBA degree program can help you do that.

3. Earn a High Salary

Earning a high salary is one of the benefits of earning a master’s in business degree. Glassdoor, the job search site, publishes an annual report of the 50 best jobs in America. The list is calculated based on the number of job openings, salaries, and overall job satisfaction ratings. Data scientist was the No. 3 best job in 2022. Data science professionals have a median salary of $120,000, which is up $30,000 in just three years.

4. Get Skills Employers Want

A master’s in business analytics can be worth it as a smart and efficient way to gain the technical and team skills employers want. In organizations, business analytics experts can be like detectives, using data to reveal important insights. For example, they explore how to save the company money, investigate customer attrition, or connect the data points that pave the way for new product offerings.

Along with strong quantitative skills, it’s equally important that analysts bring creativity and an entrepreneurial viewpoint to the analysis. Consequently, an MSBA degree is especially worth it for students who like the challenge of solving puzzles and proposing creative, data-driven solutions.

5. Become a Storyteller

Companies seek employees who can bridge the technical team that collects data and the decision makers who need data to plan business strategy. Those with tech skills may be great at their jobs, but they sometimes lack business and communication expertise.  

In that way, those who graduate with an MSBA degree will be masterful storytellers. They can look at the data, see what’s important, and relay the information in a concise and compelling way to business leaders. “You have to tell a story with data and communicate effectively with decision makers,” says Davenport. “That is a rare skill.”

So, is a business analytics degree worth it? As the data footprint is ever expanding, career success hinges on agile, analytical skill sets and mindsets. The ability to work in any industry, set yourself up for future success, earn a high salary and gain skills employers want can make it worth it. In addition, learning to tell stories through data is something an MSBA degree program helps refine–and will be needed in this increasingly data-driven world.  

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About the Author

Elizabeth Atwater's writing has appeared in print and online in a wide range of outlets including ForbesThe AtlanticReutersChief Learning Officer, BostInno, and Seventeen magazine. She earned a Babson MBA in 2019. 

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