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Fortune set out to identify the best online degree programs in 2023 for the next generation of business analysts, and the result was this ranking of the nation’s best online master’s degree programs in business analytics. These programs not only have world class professors and a top-notch curriculum, but they also attract some of the brightest students.
Thanks to the growing demand for business analysts and high starting salaries that accompany these jobs, many people are pursuing a degree in this field. Business analysis is likely to be among the top skills required for future data jobs, according to “The Future of Jobs” report published by the World Economic Forum in 2020.
Business analytics is a field for studying data and making strategic decisions based on that analysis to increase efficiency. People with a degree in business analytics often go on to pursue functional roles, such as becoming a business analyst, which require a mix of qualitative and quantitative insights. The ultimate goal of business analytics is to increase efficiency and use data to inform business decisions.
There is growing demand among companies for people who can make sense of complex data sets. By 2030, the number of business analyst roles will grow about 14%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Graduates of MIT’s master’s degree program in business analytics are fetching average starting salaries of $114,000.
Students pursuing a business analytics degree will learn a lot more than how to crunch numbers in the curriculum. Rather, these programs focus on how to use the latest technologies for gathering, visualizing, and modeling data. In addition to an emphasis on quantitative skills, these programs prepare students to translate their analysis into actionable business insights.
Obtaining a master’s degree in business analytics will help graduates pursue a huge range of careers across most industries. In addition, a master’s degree may help someone move up to a managerial or leadership position, while some companies now have chief analytics officers.
Finally, business analysts who have a master’s or doctorate degree earn 17% more than people in the same roles who hold only undergraduate degrees, according to a report by Skillsoft.
No, these degrees are different. An MBA, or master of business administration, is an internationally recognized graduate-level degree in business leadership and management. By comparison, business analytics can be pursued at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degree level and focuses instead on how to best analyze and implement data to improve business efficiency.
One degree isn’t inherently better than the other, and may appeal to people with different career goals. The best degree program for you will depend on your career goals and interests. And you may not need to choose between the two: Some MBA programs offer a concentration or specialization in business analytics.
Business analysts earn more than $82,000 as a base salary, on average, according to figures from Indeed. And some business analyst roles have a possible salary range of up to about $390,000, according to Glassdoor. People with a degree in business analytics may go into executive-level roles within their companies, which could fetch even salaries.
The time it takes to complete a master’s degree in business analytics depends largely on whether a student enrolls in an online or in-person program. Residential programs typically take two years to complete, though there are some accelerated one-year programs, while many online students work while attending school which extends the amount of time it takes to complete the degree.