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Get to Know the Different Types of MSBA Programs

August 09, 2021
Man in sweater stars at superimposed business data sets

There’s no doubt that earning your Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) is a smart investment in your future. While an MBA may be more popular in some circles, an MSBA can help you stand out in data science and business analytics—a clear advantage for anyone who wants to get into this progressive, competitive field.

Many universities offer an MSBA degree, but not all programs are the same. Below, we’ll outline the differences between MSBAs and help you determine which type of program fits your wants and needs. Then, you’ll be ready to start your application and begin your graduate school journey.

Concentrations in MSBA Programs

1. Data Focused & Technically Rigorous

At its core, business analytics is all about data, technology, and statistics. It’s no surprise, then, that some MSBA programs lean heavily into the hard business skills that employers require in this highly-technical arena. Any of the top companies, especially in tech, will require applicants to have specific software experience to even be considered.

Some of the top skills required in business analytics are:

  • Statistical analysis software (e.g., R, SAS, SPSS, or STATA)
  • SQL databases and database querying languages
  • Programming skills such as Python and R
  • Survey/query software
  • Business intelligence and reporting software.1

Your MSBA courses should give you a firm understanding of how various systems, products, and tools work together in a larger business ecosystem, as well as the analytical mindset to identify areas and plans for improvement. These quantitative skills will look great on your resume (be sure to highlight them in the right way!) when you start applying for the top-tier positions you want.

2. People Focused & Leadership Driven

Other MSBA programs, while still focusing on the competencies above, incorporate more elements of management training, leadership skills, and interpersonal communication. Coursework will highlight how data and reporting affect greater business outcomes, as well as how to effectively communicate your findings and plans of action to stakeholders.

Business analysts can have significant influence on a company’s future, and the responsibility should not be taken lightly. A good way to think about this route is whether or not you want to be a data manager, or to lead a group of data managers. Working with different departments, coordinating processes, and delivering good (or bad) news requires a specific approach. If this interests you, look for programs that highlight collaboration and communication in their curriculum.

Ways to Complete an MSBA Program

Once you’ve chosen the curriculum focus you prefer, you’ll also want to consider how you wish to complete your degree. Thankfully, with the evolution of educational technology and remote learning, there are a few different methods for making this happen. Take some time to evaluate your current work and living situation, then find a program that fits your schedule.

1. Online

Since a majority of graduate school students continue working while earning their degree, a flexible schedule is crucial for success. A key benefit of online learning is that it allows you to take classes from the comfort of your home and complete work when and where you want. For working professionals, an OMSBA from Seattle Albers is the perfect fit.

2. Hybrid

Part-time programs have on-campus classes, but you take fewer credit hours. Depending on the structure, you may be able to take most or all of the classes in the evenings or on weekends. This way, you can either continue working or adjust your schedule to graduate in your desired time frame.

3. On campus

In-person, on-campus programs are usually during daytime hours, can be finished more quickly, and require a certain number of credit hours each semester. Being on campus can also offer other benefits such as research opportunities, internships, and networking with faculty, recruiters, and classmates.

MSBA Career Outcomes

Thanks to the widely applicable skills you’ll gain, an MSBA designation can catch employer’s eyes in a wide range of jobs. However, there are some nuances to help narrow your job search.

1. Technology First

On the more data-driven side, positions like data scientist, cybersecurity analyst, and Head of Analytics will arise. These opportunities will primarily be centered on technology and will rely heavily on your quantitative skills.

2. Business First

MSBA graduates who want to work more in management and strategy should look out for titles such as project manager, business architect, and product owner. To continue your search, we have a more detailed list of career paths and job titles in this blog post.

Find the Right Fit at Seattle Albers

Now that you have a better idea of what to look for in an MSBA program, you can explore our website to see if the Albers School of Business and Economics meets your criteria. Our curriculum blends business intelligence and data-driven strategy with communication, visualization, and leadership skills to set you apart.

Contact an Admissions Advisor for any further questions and they’ll be happy to help you find what you need.

  1. Retrieved on August 6, 2021, from iiba.org/business-analysis-blogs/in-demand-business-analysis-skills-for-2021/