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Career Paths in Business Analytics

18 Apr
Finance Manager Holds A Budget Meeting Presentation To Review Financial Analytics.

Aiming for a terrific business analytics career? A reputable Online MSBA from a high-quality program sharpens your competitive edge with business leadership soft skills and technical acumen. It’s also your entryway to highly attractive career outcomes, with a notable impact on your position and salary. According to the 2023 GMAC Corporate Recruiters Report, 79% of employers plan to hire graduates of business analytics graduate programs.1

Read on to explore several business analytics careers for which you can qualify with the right degree and expertise.

Overview of Business Analytics

Today’s companies create and collect massive volumes of information, but they often lack the analytical skills to extract insights and derive value from their disorganized, sometimes archaic datasets. With so much usable data available, businesses are increasingly invested in finding the right people to help them capitalize on it: professionals with deep understanding of data analysis, business analytics, and information technology. The positions and responsibilities are diverse, so a strong master’s program in business analytics prepares you for a wealth of career options.

Business Analytics Careers for MSBA Graduates


Median annual salary: $117,0002

There are numerous reasons why U.S. News & World Report ranked this position as #4 among the Best Business Jobs for 2024: With stress levels below average and upward mobility rated as High, statistics “can be applied to a vast number of fields or issues, like the environment, public safety, health care and sports.”3 Devan Mehrotra, executive director of the biostatistics department at Merck Research Laboratories, summed up the appeal by saying, “Being a statistician is not stressful by any stretch of the imagination. It's got a great work-life balance. It's intellectually rewarding. And statisticians are paid very well.”3 As if that weren’t attractive enough, the demand for statisticians is going up. The United States Bureau of Labors Statistics (BLS) projects 30% job growth—much higher than the national average—between 2022 and 2032.4

According to the BLS, statisticians design surveys, questionnaires, experiments, and opinion polls for collecting the data they need. In most of those surveys and polls, they gather data from people in a particular group, determining the type and size of the population sample.

Your career as a statistician will call on you to understand abstract concepts while paying keen attention to details. Your responsibilities will include these:4

  • Decide what data are needed to answer specific questions or problems
  • Apply mathematical theories and techniques to solve practical problems in business, engineering, the sciences, and other fields
  • Design surveys, experiments, or opinion polls to collect data
  • Develop mathematical or statistical models to analyze the data
  • Interpret the data and communicate your analyses to technical and nontechnical audiences of stakeholders: colleagues, clients, company leadership, and so on
  • Use statistical software to conduct data analysis
  • Use data visualization techniques (graphs, dashboards, etc.) to present your findings and aid decision-making in business

U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) notes that the fields of statistics and data science, while closely related and often confused with each other, are not the same thing. Statistics is a component of data science, and data scientists need a basic working knowledge of statistics.

Data Scientist

Median annual salary: $155,0005

Ranked by the employment site Glassdoor as #3 among the 50 best jobs in America,6 a career as a data scientist involves wearing many hats. Part mathematician, scientist, statistician, and computer programmer, you’ll use analytical, statistical, and programming skills to collect, analyze, locate patterns in and interpret large data sets—all in the service of helping your organization make intelligent, data-driven decisions.

As a data scientist, you could work for diverse organizations, including healthcare providers, academic institutions, government agencies, and sports teams, among many others. Depending on your company’s area of specialty, your work may focus on looking for information that can be used to:

  • Predict consumer behavior
  • Identify new revenue opportunities
  • Detect fraudulent transactions

You’ll need expertise in statistics and machine learning, coding languages (such as SAS, SQL, and Python), databases, and reporting technologies in order to create algorithms and data models to forecast business outcomes.

In addition to these varied proficiencies, an avid sense of curiosity will help you thrive and succeed in this business analytics career path. You’ll be called on to “develop and test hypotheses, make inferences and analyze things such as customer and market trends, financial risks, cybersecurity threats, stock trades, equipment maintenance needs and medical conditions.”7

Machine Learning Scientist

Median annual salary: $215,0008

To explore this career, familiarity with a few terms quickly becomes necessary:

  • Machine learning refers to the ability of computers to execute commands without human input
  • Supervised machine learning describes a computer’s ability to learn that input “x” corresponds to output “x.” By giving the system enough examples, artificial intelligence (AI) can predict outcomes based on data it has not seen
  • Unsupervised machine learning gives the system uncategorized data, allowing it to find patterns, anomalies, or relationships

As a machine learning scientist in industries ranging from healthcare to finance, you’ll specialize in researching and developing algorithms and statistical models that enable machines to learn from and make decisions based on data, and to perform specific tasks without explicit instructions.9

Using supervised and unsupervised learning, you’ll build predictive models that can be used to make decisions or automate processes, and that can adapt and improve with time.9,10 As your data-scientist colleagues do, you’ll need strong skills in multiple areas, including computer science, mathematics, and domain knowledge. For this career that combines research, experimentation, and implementation, you’ll need a strong sense of inquiry and will be responsible for:10

  • Developing and implementing machine learning models
  • Testing and evaluating models
  • Optimizing models for performance and scalability
  • Integrating models into production systems

Management Analyst

Median annual salary: $111,00011

Management analysts—#5 on the USNWR list of Best Business Jobs for 20243—help organizations become more efficient and profitable. Also called management consultants, they’re in strong demand, with the BLS expecting 10% job growth (much higher than the national average) between 2022 and 2032.12

As a management analyst, whether you work for a firm or as an independent consultant, you’ll collect and analyze data about a given company’s business operations. You’ll then recommend changes geared to improve business efficiency by lowering costs and increasing revenue and profits. As noted on Glassdoor, the process works in this sequence:13

  • Collect and organize information about the problem to be solved or the procedure(s) to be improved
  • Examine financial and other data, including revenue, expenditure, and employment reports
  • Interview personnel and conduct on-site observations to determine what methods, equipment, and personnel will be needed
  • Analyze the collected data
  • Develop solutions and/or alternative methods of operation
  • Recommend new systems, procedures, or organizational changes
  • Effectively communicate with all stakeholders to ensure the success of newly implemented systems and/or procedures

In addition to strategic thinking and the investigative, analytical, and business acumen these tasks require, you’ll need to be an excellent writer and a confident public speaker with strong communication skills. Further, it helps to have a passion for problem-solving. “You need to know how organizations work and how companies work, and you have to like solving problems and fixing things," said Peter Aman, managing director and Atlanta office head for the consulting firm EY-Parthenon. "You need to have a sharp analytical mind and the ability to establish frameworks and analyze things in an efficient manner and bring data to bear."14

Advancement Strategies in Business Analytics

Several smart choices can help you advance in a business analytics career:

  • Create a strong professional network
  • Seek mentorship from experienced business analysts
  • Pursue leadership opportunities whenever possible
  • Embrace technological advancements and incorporate them into your position

Always continue to acquire new skills. Set career goals focusing on continued education and experience to expand your resume and enhance the value you provide to employers. Strive for ongoing improvement in your technical acumen, business strategy, and soft skills, and in the experience-borne insight you can offer.

Earn the Degree You Need for the Career You Want

The business world continues to evolve quickly. Stay ahead of advancements by earning Santa Clara University’s Online Master of Science in Business Analytics. With the mentorship of our experienced faculty, you’ll develop expertise in business analytics, machine learning, and information technology, learning to use data-driven insights to lead innovation and foster organizational growth.

Balance your education with your employment and personal commitments. Designed for working professionals looking to expand their networks and move up, our flexible online program delivers the foundational business knowledge and principled leadership skills to propel your career, in Silicon Valley and beyond.

To learn more about how the Leavey School of Business can help you reach your career goals, schedule a call with an admissions outreach advisor today.