Where a Master of Science in business analytics may take you

April 16, 2018 · 7 min read · By ASU Online
Learn more about the careers you can pursue after earning your Master of Science in business analytics from ASU Online.

Companies need to manage different forms of data every day, meaning many distinct jobs rely on data to shape strategy, goals or daily operations. Collecting and interpreting this data can help businesses run more efficiently, plan appropriately and prepare for problematic scenarios.

Because data is used in such a wide variety of professional areas, possessing analytical skills may help you get ahead in your business career. One way to gain this type of knowledge is by earning a related graduate degree, such as business analytics.

An online Master of Science in business analytics degree can help you develop information analysis skills and business acumen to prepare for a career involving data while maintaining your current workload and responsibilities. Furthermore, an online MS in business analytics can teach you how to derive value from data and modeling, manage data-driven analyses and create business advantages across markets and industries.

There are a variety of data-driven careers available. Some of these jobs use business analytics to analyze financial and market trends, coordinate marketing strategies or assist in executive-level decision-making. With the importance of informed data utilization in business, demand for business analytics specialists is on the rise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this job market is expected to account for 1.5 million jobs in 2018.

Here are a few potential business analytics careers to consider.

A business intelligence analyst reviewing company's growth on computer.
A business intelligence analyst reviewing company's growth on computer.

Business intelligence analyst

This role’s main focus is to support a company’s growth and success by finding patterns in data through careful analysis. Business intelligence analysts query data repositories in financial and market intelligence to identify trends. They may be called upon to perform a competitive analysis of the market, improve existing strategies and even influence what direction to grow a company.

In addition to information gathering, strong communication is a huge component of this position. Business intelligence analysts must effectively communicate the results of their analyses to stakeholders as well as generate clear and concise reports to summarize findings. Such analysis and communication must be timely to stay on top of trends.

The average salary for business intelligence analysts, according to Payscale, is $88,000. Relevant professional experience in analytics and business intelligence may positively impact pay along with advanced technical expertise. A bachelor’s degree is the most common educational requirement for this role, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, employers may prefer candidates to have a master’s degree for more in-depth or higher-level positions.


Online services manager

Managing a business online includes not only understanding operations, marketing and customer service, but it also requires an understanding of running a company without a physical storefront. These professionals need to manage transactions as well as know how to automate orders and invoices. They need to do more than just market their products or services, they have to be able to craft content suitable for online user experiences. This career involves both big-picture objectives, such as strategy and marketing, in addition to completing day-to-day tasks, such as maintaining inventory and responding to customer service queries.

Data is essential when gauging an online business’ success. An online services manager must look at website usage for analytics to influence marketing and search engine optimization. They must also review sales data to set prices and maintain inventory. Furthermore, they should be familiar with market data to predict growth opportunities.

The median wage for online merchants, of which an online services manager is a subset, is around $69,000, according to the BLS data compiled by O*Net OnLine.


Market research analyst

Data is at the core of a market research analyst’s daily work. These professionals must collect, understand and share large volumes of data on consumer behavior, sales trends, product pricing and other components that shape marketing strategy. As a result, analysts need to accumulate the right data and be able to translate it into actionable recommendations.

One aspect of a market research analyst’s role includes answering core questions about consumers, including who they are, what they like and why they buy what they buy. Small changes in a business can impact consumer behavior, from a product tweak to a pricing change or a statement by leadership. Market research analysts must understand these changes through data analysis to ensure marketing strategies are tailored to the right audience and address what they value most. Such recommendations can have a positive impact on profits and consumer loyalty.

As a strong understanding of data analytics is a must, education and work experience play a key role for candidates applying to this position. The median salary for a market research analyst is $62,560 per year, according to the BLS.

Operations research analyst

Operations research analysts collect and analyze data, implement mathematical modeling and interpret information to assist management with anything from general decision-making and policy formation to developing support resources. They identify problems in a company and then formulate and test simulation models to assist in resolving those issues. Operations research analysts help determine appropriate methods for data analysis and design programs for modeling and simulation as well as examine data closely to identify trends and relationships among variables.

Because this role often requires strong mathematical skills as well as a background in information technology, hiring managers may prefer applicants with a master’s degree in business, business analytics or another technical or quantitative field. Continuing education is extremely valuable to stay up-to-date with technological advances, new software tools and improvements to analytical methods.

The median salary for operations research analysts is $79,000, according to the BLS.


Business continuity planner

Preparing for serious situations that can adversely impact a company’s ability to operate is a business continuity planner’s main focus. Through data recovery strategies and risk assessments, they test and modify existing policies and procedures to account for unforeseen events that can disrupt a company’s ability to function normally. A business continuity planner must consider any situation that may lead to a loss of data or the inability for a company to conduct business, from a cyber-attack to a natural disaster.

Establishing procedures to handle disruptive situations includes analyzing the impact and risk to essential business functions and information systems that each potential scenario might involve. The aim is to quickly recover lost data and functionality to not only keep corporate information safe, but also to get the organization back up and running in a timely manner. Having realistic expectations around infrastructure, recovery time and knowing what to prioritize can aid a business continuity planner in their strategies to keep a company prepared for a variety of damaging scenarios.

Demand for this position is sustained by the importance of preparing for and minimizing risk around situations that impede operations of a company, and the field is expected to grow. The median salary for this position, according to Payscale, is $74,000.

Learn more about your potential careers in business analytics

Having an educational background in analytics can be imperative when dealing with big data. According to Pei-yu Chen, an associate professor of information systems from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, “earning a master’s degree in business analytics provides you with a level of expertise in terms of how to deal with data. The program focuses not only on technical skills and tools, but also on general business insights.” By fostering an environment of global thinking, the program aims to help students understand how far-reaching big data is throughout the economy and prepare for career opportunities that focus on data analysis.

Earning a graduate degree while building valuable work experience may feel like a challenge, but the flexibility of a fully online program, such as the Master of Science in Business Analytics degree from the W. P. Carey School of Business, can allow you to learn on your own schedule. With courses ranging from data mining and supply chain management to applied analytics, the online Master of Science in business analytics can help you develop skills to support a career working with data.


An operations research analyst presenting data to management.
An operations research analyst presenting data to management.
A business analysts shares data and sales trends with a coworker.
A business analysts shares data and sales trends with a coworker.


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