5 new master’s degree programs in business analytics illuminate an industry expected to grow up to 25%

BY Sydney LakeMarch 17, 2023, 1:22 PM
Statue of Confucius among cherry blossoms, George Mason University campus in Fairfax, Virginia, as seen in March 2022. (Photo by: Robert Knopes—UCG/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

If the current technological revolution has shown us anything, it’s that data is everywhere. Gadgets like Apple watches collect our health data, while companies consistently monitor our behaviors online. All of these small decisions we make each day constitute innumerable data points for companies to sift through—and consequently use to make business decisions. 

Enter the business analyst, who is specifically trained to find patterns and trends in the oceans of data created by consumers. The demand for these professionals has consistently been growing, and various roles are expected to grow as much as 25% during the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

“Today, virtually every business is a technology business, and what drives growth in technology-enabled businesses is understanding patterns in the oceans of data produced by these businesses,” says Michael Yoo, general manager of technology and developer portfolio for education tech company Skillsoft. “Companies are looking for patterns in how customers behave, how their sales channels sell, how their products and services are used, and how they perform versus their competitors.”

In step with the growing demand for business analysts, several universities have launched master’s degree programs in business analytics during the past year. While a master’s degree isn’t always required for a job as a business analyst, professionals who have one have a much higher earning potential. 

Business analysts in North America who have a master’s or doctorate degree earn 17% more than those people in the same roles who hold only undergraduate degrees, according to a report by Skillsoft released in November 2021.

For people interested in upping their earning potential as a business analyst, Fortune has compiled a list of five new master’s in business analytics programs. We also rank the best online master’s in business analytics programs if you’re interested in more program options. 

1. Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business

Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business announced in mid-January 2023 plans to launch a part-time master’s in business analytics program specifically for professionals with at least five years of work experience in data, IT, and analytics. The school also offers a full-time MSBA program that takes 10 months to complete. 

The part-time business analytics program also takes 10 months to complete, and includes 10 core classes and two elective courses. Students meet for two “immersive residencies” in Atlanta and two that will be in other places around the globe. During these residencies, which range from three to six days in length, students meet for lectures and hands-on projects. 

Prospective students first have to complete an interest form and “viable candidates” then will be invited to apply. GMAT/GRE scores aren’t required for admission, but students need a resume, transcript, essay, and at least one letter of recommendation. There is also an admissions interview. The entire program—including tuition, mandatory fees, and the application—costs $86,000.

2. University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business

To provide more flexibility for early-to-mid career working professionals, the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, which Fortune ranks as a top business school, announced in August 2022 it will relaunch an online master’s in business analytics offering to include prospective students from a wider array of backgrounds.  

The new program includes asynchronous (recorded) content and periodic live meetings with program faculty. The program, which requires 30 completed hours, can be finished in as few as 16 months, and the first cohort started this January. Course topics include programming tools such as Python, R, SQL, and Tableau, as well as predictive analytics, data management, statistical modeling, and decision science.

The program costs about $25,000 in total. The application requires an essay, resume, one recommendation letter, official transcripts, and some prior exposure to business analytics coursework.

3. George Mason University School of Business

The George Mason University School of Business, which is located in close proximity to Washington, D.C., announced in September 2022 the launch of its master’s in business analytics program. The school already offered business analytics courses to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a graduate certificate in business analytics.

“Graduates of the program will be able to help businesses, organizations, and government agencies achieve their initiatives to improve data-driven decision making through the application of business analytics,” Jessica Hoppner, co-director of the program, said in a statement.

The in-person business analytics master’s program offers evening courses in Fairfax, Virginia, and previous work experience is not required to apply. Students can complete the program in one year, and a GMAT/GRE score isn’t required to apply. Tuition is billed by credit hour, and the program requires 30 credits to graduate. 

4. University of Wisconsin-River Falls

One of the most recent business analytics master’s programs to be announced is hosted by the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The school announced in mid-February 2023 that it will offer an online master’s in business analytics to “fill a growing need in the business sector, helping fulfill demand for more data analysts and data-informed professionals,” according to the announcement.

The program is set to begin this fall and will require 30 credit hours. Full-time students can complete the program in one year, and part-time students can complete it in two years. The school anticipates having 20 students enrolled during the first year of the program, which they expect to grow to 150 students during the next five years. Application and tuition information has not yet been released.

5. Bryant University

Bryant University, a small, private university in Rhode Island, announced in September 2022 the launches of master’s programs in business analytics, data science, health care informatics, and taxation that will start enrolling students in fall 2023. 

“There is an urgent need for leaders and analysts who can see connections and innovate to develop smart, effective strategies to solve problems,” Rupendra Paliwal, provost and chief academic officer at Bryant, said in a statement.

The master’s in business analytics will be a full-time, in-person program that includes eight core courses and three elective courses that match a student’s specialization. Tracks for specialization include fintech, international business, and global supply chain management. Tuition is $3,489 per three-credit course. Applications must include a statement of objectives, resume, letter of recommendation, and transcripts.

Check out all of Fortune’rankings of degree programs, and learn more about specific career paths.