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MSBA vs. MBA - What’s Best for Your Career Goals?

August 05, 2021
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If it feels like you’re hearing about business analytics pretty frequently, then you’re tuned in to the right sources. Business analytics is a diverse, booming field that’s attracting companies in tech, healthcare, and beyond—and now is the perfect time to join its ranks.

Business analytics refers to the skills, statistical methods, and technologies that companies use to explore and analyze historical business data and performance. Through this work, executives gain crucial insight to make strategic decisions and improve their business planning.

Keep reading to learn about business analytics and whether a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) can best help you succeed in this in-demand field.

How important is an advanced degree for a career in business analytics?

Business analysts and data scientists are highly sought after, making business analytics a rapidly growing field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, operational research analysts (who analyze a company’s internal business issues) have a median pay rate of $86,200 annually, with projected job growth of 25 percent between 2019 and 2029—faster than other industries.1

As for their degrees, a study of salaries from data scientists and predictive analytics professionals (PAPs) found that 83% of PAPs hold an advanced degree (68% have a master’s degree and 15% have a PhD). Of data scientists, 94% have a master’s or PhD degree (50% and 43%, respectively).2 Here, we’ll discuss the MBA in Business Analytics and master’s in Business Analytics. You can find out more about earning an MBA or PhD in our other blog post.

What’s an MS in Business Analytics?

An MSBA prepares students to become experts in handling and analyzing data sets and business challenges. In their studies, students develop in-demand programming skills in computer languages such as SQL, Python, Apache Hadoop, R, and Spark.3,4,5,6 They also cultivate and hone their communication and leadership skills. With a business analytics master’s degree, you’ll learn to translate complex data into valuable information that executives use to take decisive actions.

What’s an MBA in Business Analytics?

An MBA with a concentration in business analytics focuses more on business management than data science. MBA graduates learn how to create and grow purposeful, sustainable businesses that are built from teamwork and innovation, while applying data analytics to business environments. Through their studies, they learn to master many skills in various facets of business like operations, marketing, finance, international business, risk management, and negotiations.

MS in Business Analytics vs MBA

Do you enjoy taking a deep dive into data sets, programming, and analytics—or do you prefer taking a higher-level view and having your hands in all aspects of a business? Understanding the difference between the business analytics MS and MBA programs, and the career opportunities for each, will help you to decide which one is right for you. An Online MBA Master’s in business analytics or Online Business Analytics Master’s gives you the flexibility to advance your career while continuing to work.


An intensive MSBA program includes courses in programming, statistics, database management and data mining, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning. You might also learn about law and ethics in business analytics, business forecasting, and communicating with stakeholders, but the focus is on analytical tools and methods.

An MBA program with a business analytics concentration—which includes study in quantitative analysis, analytical tools, and data management—takes a broader view of the world of business. This multidisciplinary program includes courses in operations, communications, stakeholder relationships, negotiation skills, marketing strategy, as well as people, risk, supply chain, and financial management.

Program Length

With part-time study, an Online MBA may take two years or longer to complete. This will depend on your course load. By contrast, the Online MSBA program is usually shorter: it takes about 12-18 months.

Career Outcomes

Both an Online MSBA and Online MBA will provide many career opportunities in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

With an MSBA, you’ll be highly competitive for desirable careers like marketing analyst, business analyst, quantitative analyst, and data scientist. These roles are essential in energy and utilities, information technology, insurance and finance, pharmaceutical and biotechnology, and other industries. Salaries can range from $84,363 to $311,056.7,8,9,10

An MBA with a business analytics concentration provides business knowledge in many disciplines, from accounting and personnel management to sales, marketing, and logistics. The career possibilities are virtually endless, with opportunities as diverse as investment banker, financial analyst, human resources manager, policy analyst, business intelligence analyst, product manager, and chief financial officer. Average salaries range from $60,064 to $127,622.11

Expand Your Career Possibilities at Seattle University

At the Albers School of Business and Economics, you can choose between an Online MBA or an Online Master of Science in Business Analytics, both of which are AACSB accredited. Here, you’ll discover a rigorous curriculum, world-class faculty, and ample opportunities for networking. You’ll learn how to solve today’s business challenges while you develop important relationships and hone your leadership abilities. Whichever degree you choose, both will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need for the exciting business analytics and data engineering careers of the future.

Choose the career path that’s best for you and give yourself a powerful advantage with an Online MSBA or MBA from Albers.

  1. Retrieved on 3, June, 2021, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/operations-research-analysts.htm
  2. Retrieved on 3, June, 2021, from burtchworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Burtch-Works-Study_DS-PAP-2020.pdf
  3. Retrieved on 3, June 2021, from python.org/
  4. Retrieved on 3, June, 2021, from hadoop.apache.org/
  5. Retrieved on 3, June, 2021, from r-project.org/about.html
  6. Retrieved on 3, June, 2021, from infoworld.com/article/3236869/what-is-apache-spark-the-big-data-platform-that-crushed-hadoop.html
  7. Retrieved on 4, June, 2021, from indeed.com/career/marketing-analyst/salaries?from=careeradvice-US&subfrom=article
  8. Retrieved on 4, June, 2021, from indeed.com/career/business-analyst/salaries?from=careeradvice-US&subfrom=article
  9. Retrieved on 4, June, 2021, from indeed.com/career/data-scientist/salaries?from=careeradvice-US&subfrom=article
  10. Retrieved on 4, June, 2021, from indeed.com/career/quantitative-analyst/salaries?from=careeradvice-US&subfrom=article
  11. Retrieved on 4, June, 2021, from indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/mba-degree-jobs