Best MBA Programs in Business Analytics for 2021

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Graduate students who are looking for an MBA that will provide one of the best returns on investment (ROI) should consider looking into an MBA in Business Analytics.

Data is becoming one of the most important assets for any company to own. And the students earning their MBA have a wide range of choices to consider when they are looking at specializations they may be interested in. If a student previously earned a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field, they may be particularly well-suited to a business analytics MBA. A large part of these MBA’s work responsibilities include mining business data to determine what upcoming trends are in the future. This specialization also means that business analysts will be able to find inefficiencies so that they can be corrected. They will also be able to predict business challenges before they become an overwhelming problem.

If this professional majored in math, computer science, statistics, or engineering, they will be a good fit in this role.

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What is an MBA in Business Analytics?

This MBA specialization is specific to learning and using tools to extract the pertinent data you need to find issues, make your business’ outcomes even better, and predict what results you’ll see in the future.

This degree may also qualify as a STEM program. Because you’ll likely be taking plenty of classes in science, technology, engineering, or math, this degree may be identified as an Optional Practical Training (OPT) program.

This specialization also requires that you learn how to use the expert features and functions within Excel. You’ll have to show proficiency in Macro operations, Sparklines, VLOOKUP, and HLOOKUP. You should also be able to work easily with pivot tables and charts so that you can share your findings with board members or stakeholders in meaningful ways.

Some programs provide additional flexibility for your business analytics goals. You may choose to take electives in your business courses, information studies, engineering, or computer science. Your technical electives are likely to focus on Introduction to Data science, data administration concepts and database management, data analytics, big data analytics and data warehouse. This allows you to obtain skills in data visualization and collection, data mining, and statistical and pattern analysis you’ll need on the job.

What Can You Do With an MBA in Business Analytics?


Marketing Manager


In this position, you will supervise and help with the creation of advertising and sales campaigns for your employer. You may be assigned to one product or an entire product line or you may be responsible for a brand with many products under its umbrella.

Your responsibility is to weave input from various teams, such as research and sales. With your experience and knowledge in data analysis, you’ll be able to examine the data from previous campaigns to see what was the most successful. Your experience will be vital as you schedule the various steps in your marketing campaigns. Careful data analysis should yield successful campaign results.

Finance Manager


As a finance manager, your background in data analytics is particularly valuable. Because you develop and oversee departmental budgets, you’re likely going to spend time looking at previous budgets; your ability to mine data will help you to look through budgets of previous years and delve more deeply into how they were structured and what parts of these budgets worked and what didn’t. You’ll also ensure that all budgets meet required deadlines.

Once you have done this, you’ll track expenses and new budgets. If you see that a department’s budget has been exceeded, you’ll be able to figure out why and then make actionable suggestions for that department going forward.

Business Analytics Specialist


This role may also be known as a senior data analyst. They often work within a finance or marketing department, collating, and organizing data. They also analyze the data and report what they learn to the managers of other departments so they can make the best decision possible for their department and the company. At this level, the senior analyst may oversee a small team. They may also work as a go-between or liaison between the data analysis department and other areas of the company.

While a bachelor’s degree is the usual requirement, it’s becoming more and more common for businesses to require a master’s degree.

Management Consultant


A management consultant strives to help their employer improve areas of the company that may be lacking in productivity or even positive company image. It’s their job to find and identify ongoing problems; they work with data analysis to find these problems and any risks in order to help the company correct them.

In this role, proficiency with data analysis, computers, and math is mandatory. The consultant will be conducting high levels of research across the entire company. they may also create specialized forecasts to help predict the company outlook or find different ways of measuring company performance in various areas.

Business Intelligence Analyst


In this role, the business intelligence analyst specifies the actions a company has to take to improve collaboration between its departments. This professional should have a strong understanding of both professional and managerial skill sets. They will collaborate with several cross-departmental managers. For this reason, they need strong leadership abilities.

They should also be familiar with every area of business administration. Their presentation skills should be top-notch as their leadership and presentation skills will be used during frequent meetings, where organizational data and scenarios for future directions will be discussed.

Types of Business Analytics MBA Degrees


  • Postgraduate or post-MBA Certificate in Business Analytics
    Average Salary: $86,000

    By taking a post-MBA certificate program in business analytics, you can boost your annual pay to $86,000. You’ll spend another 12 months in certification classes, which generally consist of business data mining, product innovation and development, financial statement analysis and valuation and business forecasting. After you complete all four courses, you’ll be awarded a certificate and some schools allow you to also earn a certificate in Data Mining Using SAS.

  • MS in Business Analytics
    Average Salary: $73,000

    Once you earn your MS in Business Analytics, you’ll be ready to guide the decisions that company managers or officers have to make as they move their companies forward. As you analyze the data needed to make your decisions, you’ll do so knowing that you have the ability to transform what you uncover into a strategic tool. In your role, backed by your Master of Science degree, you’ll earn somewhere around the average annual salary of $73,000 for this position.

  • MBA in Business Analytics
    Average Salary: $76,000

    Earning your MBA in Business Analytics allows you to learn valuable skills that travel with you from position to position: networking, leadership, and data analysis. An MBA program in business analytics is focused toward students who already have a business background including finance, accounting, strategy, or marketing. You’ll take the business analytics courses as electives, which will zero in on business applications. With your degree, you can expect to earn around $76,000 annually.

Sample Curriculum & Courses for Business Analytics


  • Analytics Edge:
    How does data analytics get used in helping businesses to transform themselves? Using examples and case studies in different business environments, you’ll learn how you can use analytics to help businesses make the best decisions.
  • Machine Learning Under a Modern Optimization Lens:
    This teaches you how to develop algorithms to address central problems in machine learning. This brings analysis into a current optimization framework.
  • From Analytics to Action:
    In this course you’ll learn how to appreciate organizational dynamics as you develop competence in working with social networks. You’ll learn teamwork, how to make rewards and incentives easy to understand, and to use the crowd.
  • Communicating with Data:
    Here, you’ll learn the tactics and strategies you’ll need as you work with quantitative information and teach and guide your peers and managers. You’ll learn how using data helps to convince others.
  • Analytics Capstone Project:
    Here, you’ll prepare a practical application of business analytics issues in a real company. You’ll be matched to company projects, then visit them to determine your project and its scope of work.

Online Vs. On-Campus for an MBA in Business Analytics


An online MBA in Business Analytics is virtually the same as the on-campus version. You will learn how to examine and analyze vast amounts of electronic data that come into a company and that are generated by the company so that you can develop an effective strategy for the company to use as it makes plans for the future.

In an online degree program, you’ll develop the computer, data analytics, and predictive modeling skills you’ll need for a career as a business analyst. You’ll also learn how to compile all that data so you and company managers can craft strategies that will allow them to make better business decisions and learn about making decisions based on ethics as you aid managers in directing their company forward. The decisions you make will be based solely on the evidence you have found.

An on-campus MBA in Business Analytics teaches you both general business and analytics (which are introduced in elective courses) so you can grow toward your goals. If you want to become more competitive, you are best able to do this using available data resources. Your degree can be used in fields as diverse as finance or healthcare management.

The main difference between online and on-campus is the ability to practice your presentation skills more easily in an in-person environment. Taking the courses online may not fully prepare you to present your findings to a company board.

Best MBA in Business Analytics Colleges


University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Location
Ann Arbor, MI
Tuition In-State
$24,344
Tuition Out-of-State
$49,120
Retention %
97%
Graduation %
93%
Average Salary
$132,600
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
11:1
University of Pennsylvania Location
Philadelphia, PA
Tuition In-State
$37,678
Tuition Out-of-State
$37,678
Retention %
98%
Graduation %
96%
Average Salary
$135,000
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
6:1
Santa Clara University Location
Santa Clara, CA
Tuition In-State
$23,507
Tuition Out-of-State
$23,507
Retention %
94%
Graduation %
92%
Average Salary
$126,700
Hybrid
Yes
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
10:1
University of Chicago Location
Chicago, IL
Tuition In-State
$60,300
Tuition Out-of-State
$60,300
Retention %
99%
Graduation %
96%
Average Salary
$135,400
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
5:1
University of California-Davis Location
Davis, CA
Tuition In-State
$11,442
Tuition Out-of-State
$26,544
Retention %
92%
Graduation %
86%
Average Salary
$116,900
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
20:1
University of Notre Dame Location
Notre Dame, IN
Tuition In-State
$57,050
Tuition Out-of-State
$57,050
Retention %
98%
Graduation %
97%
Average Salary
$125,400
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
9:1
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Location
Blacksburg, VA
Tuition In-State
$13,701
Tuition Out-of-State
$27,614
Retention %
93%
Graduation %
86%
Average Salary
$109,600
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
14:1
Cornell University Location
Ithaca, NY
Tuition In-State
$74,026
Tuition Out-of-State
$74,026
Retention %
97%
Graduation %
95%
Average Salary
$134,700
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
9:1
Michigan State University Location
East Lansing, MI
Tuition In-State
$18,858
Tuition Out-of-State
$37,056
Retention %
91%
Graduation %
81%
Average Salary
$115,700
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
16:1
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Tuition In-State
$51,152
Tuition Out-of-State
$66,840
Retention %
96%
Graduation %
91%
Average Salary
$123,300
Hybrid
Yes
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
13:1
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Frequently Asked Questions


What Certification Should I get in Addition to an MBA in Business Analytics?

When you hear data analytics, do you know what it means? If not, you’re not alone. In data analytics, you examine large amounts of data in data sets. This helps you to find and identify trends, then create presentations to help business leaders see what they need to understand before they make major decisions.

As you explore various MBA programs, look for certificates that would complement your degree and allow you to work in a data analyst’s position. You might consider getting certified to work with a specific software suite so that, if you apply for a position with a company that uses this software, you will be in the best position possible to move smoothly into that position.

What are the Differences Between an MBA in Business Analytics and a Regular MBA?

A generalized MBA gets you in the door with an employer. You’ll obtain a broad range of knowledge in business so you’re ready to work in any industry of your choosing. If you already have industry experience, this can be more than enough to earn you the position you seek.

However, if you are interested in moving into data analytics and you have no experience with data, it’s best to specialize.

Many MBA programs require that you complete a set number of electives credits. Along with required courses, why not add some elective courses in data analysis? If you choose an MBA with business analytics, you’ll take computer and programming-related courses along with your core business courses.

Who Should Consider Getting This Degree:

Students wanting an MBA program as well as a STEM-related program are the ones best suited to choosing an MBA Business Analytics degree. You must be sure that you have the aptitude to go through the most minute detail to find trends and develop business solutions. For instance, one group of students worked on a real healthcare issue with a health services provider. This issue involved cardiac patients and the probability that they would need an eventual re-admission to the hospital for treatment. By helping the health services provider identify these patients, the provider was able to give additional care at a lower cost.

How to Choose the Right Program


  • Do You Have to Go Back to School?
    Going back to school for an MBA means you’re going to devote about two years to studying and earning your degree. If you want to add a concentration such as business analytics to your degree program, you’ll likely be in school somewhat longer.

    If you don’t have two years available in which to earn your MBA, you might want to consider earning stackable certificates that will earn you those credits. You’ll also be able to earn micro-credentials as you are earning your MBA.

  • Is This a Long-Term Career Path for You?
    It isn’t a good investment of your time and money to go back to school and earn your Business Analytics MBA if you’re not going to use your degree. So, you need to be certain that the positions you would be able to hold with this specific degree are of interest to you. You might want to discuss whether your current company would be interested in promoting you and maybe even shadow whoever does this work at the company now. This would allow you to understand the day to day duties you could expect if you earn this degree.

    This business analytics field is growing more and more; job openings are waiting for the right professional to fill them. Just make sure that the jobs that will be waiting for you are the jobs that you want.

  • What Kind of Networking Opportunities are Available?
    While you’re in your MBA program, you’re going to make connections with professors and fellow students. And, as you get closer to graduation and a full-time MBA position, you’ll want to maintain these friendships.

    These connections can and should become networking opportunities. In addition, the graduate career management center at universities often work to set up networking events for students. By checking into a school’s calendar of events, you should be able to find out if there are events that are meant to benefit you. You’ll want to attend a school that will help you in the long run, not just with your degree, but by helping you form important connections.

  • Does Earning this MBA Provide a Significant Return on Investment (ROI)?
    Someone who earns a general MBA will command an excellent salary. But the graduate with an MBA-Business Analytics could expect even more. In 2018, the average base salary for an employee with a business analytics degree was $110,000; in 2019, this was $123,000. While an MBA with more work experience earns a higher salary, the MBA-Business Analytics puts you in a much better position to move up.

    Looking at the payback period, which leads to the question of gaining a return on investment (ROI), a graduate with an MBA focused in business analytics sees their payback period lasting around 73 months. This is if the graduates are from Canada or the US. Globally, the payback period is 88 months.

  • Consider the Student Outcomes for Each Program
    Consider the fact that online degree programs don’t always operate on fall to spring academic calendars. Instead, they may run year-round, with short breaks for students as they progress through their programs.

    On average, the graduation rate for ranked online-only MBA programs was 63%. These programs had at least 25 students enrolled. Some of the better graduation rates ranged from 85% up to 100%.

  • Make Sure the Program is Accredited
    If you’re wondering whether you really need to seek out and enroll in an accredited MBA-Business Analytics program, the answer is yes. This is definitely a necessary recognition.

    If you want to access federal financial aid, if you want to have a potential employer look at you more seriously than candidates who may have gone through unaccredited programs, or if you think you might need to transfer to another school; accreditation is a must.

    Working in a field like business analytics means you’ll do even better if you get into an AACSB-accredited program. Accreditation is the formal recognition that your chosen program is high-quality.

Professional Organizations


  • Data Science Association
    This organization offers a visible leadership role, helping to support the data science community. This organization has also strengthened its focus on activities so that they fit the needs of members.
  • International Institute of Business Analysts
    This non-profit organization supports the business analysis profession. Using a global network, IIBA helps to connect more than 29,000 members with corporate members and chapters.
  • Data Science Association
    This organization’s mission is to support and promote data science so that it improves life, government, and business. DSA operates by a few principles such as setting standards for ethical, professional practice and others.
  • American Statistical Association
    This is the world’s biggest community of statisticians. It is also the second oldest continuously operating all over the country. For 181 years, the ASA has supported excellence in statistical science via several venues.

Potential Scholarships to Consider


  • Big Data Science & Analytics Scholarship
    Amount: $2,000
    Offered by: The Master’s of Business Analytics website

    Students who are working toward an MBA in Data Analytics are eligible if they are enrolled full- or part-time in the same year they apply for this scholarship. They must be enrolled in a US-based campus or online degree program.

  • Informs Analytics Society Student Scholarship
    Amount: $3,000
    Offered by: The Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (InFORMS)

    The institute offering this scholarship partners with SAS annually to host an Analytics Society Student Scholarship Competition every spring to the student who has submitted the most compelling analytical project proposal.

  • Fisher Family Fund Scholarship
    Amount: $2,000
    Offered by: Fisher Family Fund

    This scholarship is specific to students at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, who are pursuing degrees in data science or business analytics.

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