Quantitative analyses and complex mathematical calculations are a central concern in the field of business management and administration. The ability to work with big data, whether it is data involving production and supply-chain management, or data concerning consumer behavior and buying patterns, can provide businesses with a competitive edge and opportunities for optimizing efficiency. Big data analytics has also become a key component of decision-making and strategic planning in the realm of business administration and management. Most MBA programs offer some training in analytics methods and in the IT systems that facilitate data mining, storage, and analysis processes. For MBA students who want to delve further into this area of business operations, there are MBA programs that offer an analytics specialization. These programs are often referred to as MBA in analytics degree programs.
The MBA is a master’s-level degree designed to provide students with general training and instruction in a broad range of business proficiencies, from sales and marketing to accounting and financial management. One common area of study in an MBA program is business technologies. These IT systems are integral to the field of business analytics, which involves collecting, storing, and processing data for use in accounting, finance, marketing, and other core areas of business administration. Analytics involves leveraging big data technologies to improve efficiency, reduce financial risk, and inform decision-making in many facets of daily operations management and long-term strategic planning. Some MBA programs offer students the option of specializing in analytics, which means taking two or more courses in advanced analytics topics in place other elective coursework.
Online MBA programs with an analytics specialization offer students the same basic curriculum as their campus-based counterparts, but do so through distance-learning technologies. Students in an online MBA program receive all or most of their instruction through learning management systems (LMSs), which support the delivery of lectures and other interactive course materials, facilitate interactions with classmates and instructors, and allow assignments and exams to be submitted online. An online MBA program with a specialization in analytics includes general MBA coursework in functional areas of business operations planning and management, as well as advanced coursework in analytics tools and technologies.
OnlineEducation.com researches online MBA programs and classifies these programs based on several key features. All of the programs listed on the site are offered by regionally accredited, non-profit colleges and universities. In addition, the business school or department that offers the program must be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). In order for the program to be classified as online it must offer all or most of its courses online. MBA programs that require more than two campus visits per year are not listed on the site. Finally, for a program to meet the criteria for MBA in analytics programs, it must offer a designated track or specialization in analytics comprised of two or more courses in business analytics topics.
The general MBA curriculum covers knowledge and skills in accounting, finance, human resource management, logistics, marketing, organizational leadership, and strategic planning. This core training takes up much of the first half of a typical MBA program, and often a good portion of the second half as well. Students study key business functions, cultivate communication and leadership proficiencies, and learn how to apply this skill set in various business environments. The analytics portion of the curriculum generally consists of several courses that introduce students to the technical aspects of business IT systems and to their practical use in areas like accounting, finance, marketing, and operations management. In addition, most MBA programs include a final project or capstone course, which allows students to apply what they have learned to real-world business challenges. Students who opt for an analytics concentration generally complete a capstone project related to business analytics.
The analytics portion of an MBA program with an analytics concentration generally includes between two and five courses in specific uses of data technologies. The following table offers an overview of courses that are typical of a business analytics MBA specialization:
|Data Mining||An introduction to the core analytics process of collecting, sorting, and analyzing data for use in business operations and decision-making.|
|Modern Data Management||An overview of the database systems and other data collection and data analysis hardware and software commonly used in business environments.|
|Customer Analytics||An introduction to the process of collecting an analyzing consumer data, and the methods used to draw conclusions about buying patterns, customer preferences, and other marketing concerns using analytics tools.|
|Financial Analytics||An overview of analytics applications in accounting and financial management, including methods for using data in financial reports to predict future patterns in business operations.|
|Digital Marketing & Social Media Strategy||How analytics tools are used to assess and optimize online marketing plans and in the deployment of social-media marketing campaigns.|
The admissions requirements and criteria for online MBA programs with an analytics specialization are typically no different from general online MBA programs. Applicants are required to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and to submit undergraduate transcripts. Some programs may have a minimum cumulative GPA requirement, and it is common for MBA program applicants to supply two or three letters of recommendation and a short person goals statement. There are online MBA programs that require GMAT test score, and online MBA programs that do not. While an undergraduate degree in business in not generally an admissions requirement, some programs may have a list of bachelor’s-level prerequisites, such as a statistics course, an algebra course, and/or an economics course. Potential applicants should check carefully to determine the specific admissions requirements for individual programs.
While all of the MBA programs listed on OnlineEducation.com are offered online and require no more than two campus visits per year, not all online programs are the same. There are several format variations that may make some programs more suitable than others, depending on a student’s needs. The three main structural difference between online programs concern the method of online instruction; part-time vs. full-time enrollment options; and whether or not a program requires students to attend on-campus instructional and/or networking sessions. Our main MBA Degree Programs page features an in-depth examination of these format variations and the pros and cons of each.