BUSINESS SCHOOLS OFFER AN AMAZING ARRAY OF OPTIONS IN BUSINESS ANALYTICS PROGRAMS
From Harvard Business School’s fully online certificate program to Duke University Fuqua School of Business MS degree in quantitative management, business schools now offer a wide range of options to study business analytics. You can get a simple certificate program or enroll in a more rigorous degree program at many business schools. Here’s a representative sample of business analytics programs. For international students, there’s the added benefit of STEM designation for most of these degree programs. That means graduates get a 24-month extension on their visa as part of the training that directly relates to their field of study.
|Stanford||Big Data, Strategic Decisions: Analysis to Action||On Campus||Six Days||$14,500|
|Harvard||Business Analytics||Online||Eight Weeks||$1,750|
|Duke (Fuqua)||MS in Quantitative Management: Business Analytics||On Campus or Online||10 Months/12 Months||$68,700/$44,950|
|Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)||MS in Business Analytics||On Campus or Online||9 Months/20 Months||$69,412|
|University of Virginia (McIntire)||MS in Business Analytics||Online Hybrid||12 Months||$66,588|
|Washington University (Olin)||MS in Business Analytics||On Campus or Online||18 Months||$75,500/$44,950|
Behind nearly every action you take today, you are leaving a digital trail of information with your fingertips or your voice.
As Harvard Business School’s Jan Hammond puts it, “Data are collected every time you make a purchase, navigate a website, travel, make a phone call or post on a social media site. Never before has so much data about so many different things been collected and stored every second of every day.”
That’s why business analytics courses, programs, and degrees to help professionals gain basic data literacy have exploded at business schools all over the world. There are online certificate programs and degrees, along with on-campus residential programs at nearly every business school. Fueling the expansion of these options is employer demand for people who can help collect, analyze and interpret data to allow for smarter business decisions.
OVERWHELMED WITH DATA, COMPANIES ARE TRYING TO HARVEST THE INFO TO MAKE BETTER DECISIONS
“Companies are being overwhelmed with data,” explains Paul Oyer of Stanford Graduate School of Business. “Suddenly they have all sorts of information on their customers, their employees, and their financial markets. But what are you going to do with that? How do you harvest that data for your company to make better decisions.”
The expanding portfolio of coursework in business analytics programs (see the below table for a representative sample) may make it difficult for many to choose which program might be best for them. Should you sign up for the $1,750 eight-week online course in business analytics offered by Harvard Business School with its case studies on Amazon, Disney Studios, and Caesars Entertainment? Or would you be better off going to Stanford’s campus for its $14,500 week-long, in-person course for senior managers in Big Data, Strategic Decisions: Analysis To Action?
Or perhaps you would be more suited to an actual business analytics masters degree that provides a much deeper learning experience in the field. If you would prefer to earn your degree while still working, a great option is a hybrid program from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. A third of the 12-month Master of Science in Business Analytics program is delivered in person with eight-weekend residencies at the university’s DC Metro campus in Arlington, VA, and a pair of four-day residencies on the main grounds in Charlottesville, VA. The program is taught by faculty from both McIntire and UVA’s Darden School of Business. The price? $66,588, including meals and lodging during the residencies.
MANY SCHOOLS NOW OFFER BOTH IN-PERSON AND ONLINE DEGREES IN BUSINESS ANALYTICS
Many leading business schools, in fact, now offer both a full-time, residential option, along with an online or hybrid version of their business analytics curriculum. That’s the case at Carnegie Mellon, Duke, and Washington University in St. Louis.
The full-time MS in Business Analytics at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business is a nine-month learning journey meant to allow students to tell stories and extract insights from data. After consulting with business leaders on their analytical needs, the school designed a program with advanced analytical skills, including machine learning and optimization, but also the business knowledge and communication skills often taught in fundamental MBA courses. The total tuition for the program is $69,412.
Or Tepper offers a part-time version for the same price stretched over a 20-month time frame. This part-time degree is delivered largely online with weekly live Internet classes that are 75 minutes in length. Every six-unit course requires roughly 65 hours of work. Each week, students typically spend five hours watching videos, reading cases, and preparing for live sessions, along with three hours working on assignments and assessments.
SPECIALTIES WITHIN A HIGHLY POPULAR SPECIALTY BUSINESS DEGREE
During the program, students have three weekend on-campus immersions at the Tepper campus in Pittsburgh, including one that helps to kick off a semester-long capstone course in year two when students meet with faculty and company sponsors. Tepper gears its online option toward individuals with technical backgrounds who want to deepen their analytical skills. The school says that its online MSBA students have varying levels of professional work experience and may have little or no background in business or analytics.
Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business also offers an in-person and an accelerated online MS in Quantitative Management: Business Analytics. The on-campus version is a 10-month program during which faculty not only provide students with the basic technical skills to gather data and report findings but also make sure students are equally comfortable analyzing the data, collaborating with teammates, and persuading managers to act on their insights.
Students get to choose from one of four tracks, including marketing, strategy, finance, or information risk management. The STEM-designated program culminates with a six-week capstone project in which teams of students partner with a faculty advisor and an organization to solve a real-world problem leveraging the analytical concepts and tools learned in the program.
MANY SCHOOLS REPORT SENSATIONAL CAREER OUTCOMES FOR BUSINESS ANALYTICS GRADS
The career outcomes for this program are sensational. Fuqua’s MSQM grads in the Class of 2022 numbered 255 students, with a stellar job offer rate of 99% within six months of graduation. The median starting salary was $100,000, with a median signing bonus of $10,000 received by more than 60% of the class. That’s a pretty good start for someone out of the program with an average age of 23 for the class. The tuition for the program is $75,500.
If you don’t want to attend full-time, Fuqua also offers an accelerated version of the program for working professionals who already have an MBA or master in management degree from Duke or a peer institution. Starting every August with a 2.5-day launch on campus in Durham, NC, the accelerated degree is largely delivered online over 12 months with live weekly Internet classes, online readings, and pre-recorded video sessions. After two terms, students may choose to return to Duke’s campus for an optional working professional leadership intensive held over a weekend. The cost of this online version is $44,950.
At Washington University’s Olin Business School, business analytics is taught in a more focused style. Students earn an MS in Business Analytics but can choose from one of several specific tracks, including accounting analytics, customer analytics, financial technology, healthcare, supply chain, and talent analytics.
WHAT YOU GET IN A BUSINESS ANALYTICS PROGRAM
The STEM-designated program is composed of 18 common credits covering all the analytics basics after which you’ll dive deeply into your area of focus with 21 track-specific credits. The 18-month, on-campus program is designed for students with little to no work experience, with an average age of 23. There is one-on-one career coaching, assessment tools, and career development events to help grads land meaningful jobs quickly. The program tuition is $87,685.
Like Fuqua, Olin also offers an online degree in business analytics as well, with an innovative twist. The school lets you start the learning journey through a graduate certificate, an advanced graduate program, and ultimately the degree. Each segment of study lasts eight months long. Online classes meet two nights a week from 7 to 8:30 p.m. CT. The total cost of this option is $46,200.
What you get from these programs varies not only by price but mainly by the learning commitment. Stanford’s certificate program promises that candidates will get “the frameworks, tools, and confidence to ask the right questions, interpret the analysis, and use both to transform your data into strategic decisions.” In Stanford’s case, no technical or statistical expertise is required. The school just wants an applicant to demonstrate “a desire to use data more effectively to make an impact on your organization — from marketing and operations to HR, supply chain, and business models.”
In the Stanford program, every morning participants learn conceptual frameworks and tools to help them make smarter data-driven decisions. Every afternoon they are asked to put that learning into action, working on a real data challenge with a small team and a seasoned data analyst who will translate the technical into the actionable.
Of course, what you gain from a six-day certificate program at Stanford is not even remotely equivalent to a full degree learning experience over an entire year or more at such places as Duke, Washington University, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Virginia, or any other world-class business school.
To make the selection of the right program for you a bit easier, we’ve collected info on the business analytic offerings at the Top 50 U.S. business schools.
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