Business analytics is the science of studying, analyzing and transforming data into meaningful conclusions that drive business strategy. Business analytics professionals help companies discover more about customers, identify the need for certain products and services, and learn how to market companies in more effective ways. Using business analytics, a company can improve operations and increase revenue.

Data analytics is increasingly important in business today. According to a 2020 report by ReportLinker, the global big data and business analytics market is projected to grow from $192.24 billion in 2019 to $446.42 billion by 2025. Via channels like e-commerce and digital marketing, businesses have access to more data than ever before.

If you enjoy gathering information and analyzing data to create meaningful change, a career in business analytics may be for you. An MBA with a specialization in business analytics teaches students advanced business principles with an in-depth focus on data analytics.

Mohit Tawarmalani, Krannert School of Management at Purdue University business analytics professor, explains how an online MBA focused on business analytics can equip you with the tools to make sound business decisions. If you’ve wondered why you should earn an MBA with a specialization in business analytics, this guide explains potential career paths you can take.

Why Choose Business Analytics?

Business analytics is one of the most in-demand career areas across diverse business landscapes today. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) named data scientist and mathematical science positions among the 20 fastest-growing occupations through 2029, with a 31% job growth rate. 

With an MBA with a specialization in business analytics, a graduate may be able to pursue leadership positions in business. An MBA is an advanced degree that teaches students management and business planning skills, in addition to advanced data skills that a business analytics degree would offer.

“An MBA is often a way to get into more managerial positions and into places where a variety of different skills are required to operate  the marketing, financial aspects and other enterprises,” says Tawarmalani. 

In business analytics programs, students learn how to use data analytics tools, create data analysis reports and make data-driven decisions. They also learn how to apply analytics best practices to business areas like sales, marketing and finance.

What’s Driving Growth in the Analytics Field?

The amount of data that’s being created in the world is rising exponentially. According to a 2021 report by Statista, the volume of data/information worldwide is expected to grow to 181 zettabytes in 2025, up from 64.2 zettabytes in 2020 and 2 zettabytes in 2010.

(How big is a zettabyte? According to Cisco, a zettabyte is 2 to the 70th power bytes, also expressed as 10^21 [1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes] or 1 sextillion bytes. One zettabyte equals approximately 1,000 exabytes, 1 billion terabytes or 1 trillion gigabytes.)

“Major companies such as Amazon, Tencent, Alibaba and Google all use data to inform their business decisions,” Tawarmalani says. “They are all acquiring data, building new platforms and engaging with companies on the backend to provide customers with the services they seek. For any company that wants to play in this field, it is critical that they have managers who are analytics-savvy. The demand has been by growing leaps and bounds.”

Companies of all sizes can use data to optimize their operations. From free website analytics tools like Google Analytics to more robust data-gathering and analysis systems, there’s a variety of data tools and systems businesses can use to scale their growth.

What Skills Are Needed?

Those who work in business analytics should have a natural affinity for processing data and putting it into actionable insights for the decision-makers in a company. According to the BLS, important qualities for a position such as an operations research analyst are:

  • Analytical skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Problem-solving skills

Since data is based on numbers, it’s also important to have a math-driven mindset.

“Business analytics requires the ability to deal with numbers, the ability to deal with software and the ability to deal with communicating these ideas or managing change as it occurs in an organization,” Tawarmalani says.

Business skills like communication, writing and interpersonal skills are also important for analytics professionals. They have to collaborate with and communicate their findings to key stakeholders within a company.

What Careers Are Possible With an MBA With a Specialization in Business Analytics?

A variety of jobs are available for graduates with this type of MBA. According to Tawarmalani, “These positions almost always include the term ‘analyst,’ like analytics manager or credit analyst or operations research analyst. The job descriptions are changing more toward the growing need for data-friendly and analytics-enabled positions.”

An MBA with a specialization in business analytics prepares students for job titles like the following listed by Krannert School of Management at Purdue University:

  • Advanced analytics consultant
  • Associate manager – customer analytics
  • Business analyst
  • Business intelligence analyst
  • Data analyst
  • Compliance analyst
  • Data scientist
  • Marketing analyst
  • People analyst
  • Research analyst
  • Revenue management analyst
  • Senior product strategy analyst

Grow a Business Career With an MBA With a Specialization in Business Analytics

An MBA degree prepares graduates to advance their business careers using leadership skills, expert knowledge and business strategy. An MBA degree program focused on business analytics helps students master data analytics skills to help businesses optimize their operations.

The Krannert MBA with a specialization in business analytics is offered online, so students can study from wherever they are in the world. The program prepares graduates to grow their careers in business analytics and achieve their professional goals. Find out more information today.