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Want to use data to help businesses solve problems? Wondering if a BS in Business Analytics is the right degree for your goals? This guide is built for you! Dig into details on undergraduate coursework, admissions requirements, and prices at public and private universities. Learn whether to choose an analytics or business major. Explore potential job titles, employment statistics for cities & states, and entry-level salaries. Or jump ahead to our listings of all the bachelor’s degrees in the country.
What is a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Analytics?
A bachelor’s degree in business analytics (or a related field) is a 4-year undergraduate program that teaches students to employ their skills in data & analytics to provide practical business insights and solutions. Working with a team, you’ll help answer questions like:
- How can we increase our company’s sales volume next quarter?
- Should we develop a new product line?
- How do we make our supply chain more efficient?
Business analysts with analytics expertise are focused on using their technical knowledge to make informed decisions about challenges within a business. Their deep understanding of particular industries (e.g. manufacturing) and/or realms (e.g. IT) allows them to be super-specific about improvements in processes & systems.
How They Work: Bachelor’s in Business Analytics Overview
Undergraduates in business analytics are required to complete 120-130 credits of lower division coursework (freshmen & sophomore years) & upper division coursework (junior & senior years). The most common degree is the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Analytics, but there are other options. See our listings of bachelor’s degrees for examples!
- Lower Division (Years 1 & 2): In the first two years, your program will be a mix of mandatory liberal arts credits and foundational courses in business analytics. You’ll be schooled in the core areas of business, applied mathematics, and computer science fundamentals.
- Upper Division (Years 3 & 4): In the last two years, you’ll be allowed to tackle advanced subjects in your major. You’ll investigate the intersection of business & data, learn more about business operations & management, and pursue electives and/or a concentration in your area of interest. Some programs will also offer an internship.
Lower Division: Core Requirements/Foundation Courses
Your freshmen & sophomore years will contain a strong base of foundation coursework in business and computer science. You’ll be able to build on these ideas in your final years:
- Business Fundamentals: Be prepared to explore core areas of business, including courses in Financial & Managerial Accounting, Microeconomics & Macroeconomics, and the like.
- Applied Mathematics: Schools will also expect you to take at least a few college-level credits in Business Calculus, Business Statistics, or Mathematics for Business Applications.
- Computer Science: Any courses in computer science will relate to a business setting—we’ve seen titles like Introduction to Business Analytics, Systems Analysis, Information Systems in Organizations, Computers in Business, Digital Technologies for Business, etc.
- Communications & Composition: Although they’re often grouped under Liberal Arts requirements, these skill sets are essential in a business environment.
Lower Division: Liberal Arts Requirements
Liberal arts credits can also be referred to as General Education (GE) requirements. Think of courses in humanities, civics & government, and natural sciences. Some of these topics may not seem relevant to business, but it’s surprising how much you can learn about systems & human behavior. Explore what interests you—there’s no pressure at this stage.
Upper Division: Coursework in the Business Analytics Major
Here’s where the fun begins. Upper division coursework will be devoted to advanced studies in analytics & business—and the intersection of the two fields. You’ll be able to delve into:
- Analytics with a Business Focus: Business analytics programs contain a healthy chunk of technical coursework, but—unlike data analytics programs—these upper level credits are often focused on business concerns. For instance, you might be taking courses in Relational Databases for Business Applications, Advanced Business Analytics, Business Analytics Programming, etc. You’ll also see courses in standard data analytics topics such as Data Mining, Database Design & Administration, and Business Intelligence (BI).
- Business Operations: Strong business analytics programs will train you to deal with complex corporate ecosystems. So you may encounter upper division courses in subjects like Operations & Supply Chain Management, IT Project Management, Strategic Management, Decision Models, Economic Forecasting, and the like. The best degrees also feature credits in IT Governance & Ethics and the Legal Environment of Business. These are major concerns for data experts.
Upper Division: Minors, Concentrations & Electives
Within the specialized field of business analytics, you may want to sub-specialize! You can do this by choosing electives in a relevant area of interest. Some schools even offer minors or concentrations. For instance, we’ve seen offerings in:
- Healthcare Business
- Marketing Analytics
- Operations & Supply Chain Management
- Finance & Risk Analytics
- Business Administration
- Information Technology
- Data Science
Upper Division: Capstones & Internships
Your BS in Business Analytics will usually culminate in a capstone or senior year project in the field of business strategy. You’ll be challenged to use your analytics & business acumen to solve a real-world analytics problem. You’ll also be required to communicate your findings in a final presentation.
If you’re lucky, your undergraduate degree program will include an internship as a course requirement. If it doesn’t, talk to the program coordinator about what’s available through the School of Business. The School should be coordinating internships on a regular basis.
Bachelor’s in Business Analytics: Admissions
A bachelor’s degree in business analytics is like any other undergraduate program. The standard requirements for admissions include:
- High school diploma or GED
- SAT or ACT scores
- Admissions essay
- Letters of recommendation
Having said that, universities & colleges will be particularly interested in business analytics applicants who have strong interpersonal skills, solid grades in calculus & statistics, and familiarity with basic analytics applications. You can impress them even further by showing that you’re interested in project management, operations, and business systems.
Bachelor’s in Business Analytics: Tuition Cost $
Calculating the Price
Calculating the total cost of your bachelor’s degree in business analytics is going to involve some complex budgeting! Here are a few major decisions you need to make early:
- Public vs. Private: Private universities are expensive. If you’re lucky enough to live near a public university that offers a strong business analytics program, in-state tuition rates are going to save you a ton of money! On the other hand, some private universities offer superb scholarships, internships & employer connections. So always ask the program coordinator about your funding options.
- Online vs. On-Campus: Online bachelor’s programs in business analytics will be cheaper than on-campus programs. Plus you’re not paying for campus living costs or commuting expenses. But at this stage in your education, you may want to be forging professional friendships, talking one-on-one with teachers & mentors, and collaborating with teammates on portfolio projects.
Real-World Price Data
Browse through the cost links in our listings to get a sense of real-world prices. You’ll notice that:
- Tuition for the best private schools can be more than $55,000 per year.
- In-state tuition at public schools can be less than $15,000 per year.
In addition to tuition, you’ll also have to think about living expenses (tech-friendly & business-friendly cities are often expensive), course costs, travel, and the like. However, with the right program, your entry-level job prospects are going to be strong. Business analysts with analytics expertise often climb the career ladder to become senior managers, highly paid consultants, and even CEOs.
Are you really worried about your budget? You have the option to complete an Associate Degree in Business Analytics at a community college and transfer into a standard BS in Business Analytics at the mid-point of the program. Before you make this decision, talk to the program coordinator. You want to be sure that this approach is permitted and that all your hard-earned credits will transfer.
Which Degree is Best for Business Analytics?
Common Degree Titles
Undergraduate programs in business analytics are widely available. Two of the most common degrees for business analytics students are the:
- BS in Business Analytics
- BS in Data Analytics with a Business Minor
However, remember that you also have the option to choose other majors.
- Business: Pursue a BS/BA in Business or a related field (e.g. Management, Business Administration, Finance, etc.) and customize it with a concentration or minor in analytics. This might be a good choice for aspiring CEOs and managers who want to know the ins & outs of the field, but don’t want to be dedicating their lives to the subject.
- Data-Focused: Earn a degree in a field like Data Science, Operations Research, or Management Information Systems (MIS) and ensure that the program includes a healthy dose of business-focused coursework.
Unsure about which path to take? Check out our guide to the best majors for analytics students.
What the Degree Should Cover
Universities have a fair amount of leeway to decide what subjects will be covered in a BS in Business Analytics. In our analysis of degrees, we noticed that:
- Some business analytics programs like to do a deep-dive into technical skills & data analytics applications.
- Other business analytics programs have decided to focus more on advanced business & management subjects.
So take a moment to jot down your career interests and examine the curricula before you make a decision. Your bachelor’s degree should cover the fundamentals of analytics and business and prepare you for daily responsibilities, but it should also be relevant to your goals.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the School of Business have strengths in specific areas (e.g. finance)? Does it receive funding for industry-related research projects?
- Are professors who teach the analytics courses actively working? Are they technically qualified? What ties do they have to specific business sectors?
- How much real-world experience is included in the teaching? Does the program help you create a portfolio of projects and earn common industry certifications? Can you take part in relevant internships?
You’re in the driver’s seat here. There are so many options in our listings that you can afford to be choosy.
Career in Business Analytics: Is It Worth It?
What Can You Do with a Bachelor’s in Business Analytics?
A bachelor’s degree in business analytics will set you up for a large number of entry-level positions. An undergraduate degree is the standard requirement for starter opportunities.
However, if you scan through job listings, you’ll find that “Business Analyst” is a fairly generic term:
- Read the job description carefully. The level of analytics expertise required will depend on your position and the needs of the company.
- Some business analysts have little or no technical skills; some business analysts have extensive knowledge of analytics.
Perhaps the most important piece of info within the listing is the name of the company. That’s because your job will be centered on serving the needs of that particular business & industry sector.
- Technology Sector
- Finance & Insurance
- Government & Public Sector
- Healthcare & Social Services
Entry-Level Job Titles
- Junior Business Analyst
- Associate Business Analyst
- Junior Data Analyst
- Junior Financial/Business Analyst
- IT Business Analyst
- Business Systems Analyst
- BI Analyst
- Decision Science Analyst
- Operations Analyst
Daily Job Responsibilities
The easiest way to learn about a typical day is to look at recent job postings—this will give you industry-specific ideas. An IT business analyst is going to have different day-to-day responsibilities than a business analyst at a financial firm!
Generally speaking, employers are looking for business analysts who know how to deploy their analytics skills in order to:
- Evaluate internal & external data and engage with stakeholders in elicitation activities to define business requirements, identify important issues, and suggest improvements
- Work with cross-functional teams (e.g. legal, finance, business development, marketing, etc.) to create, maintain, test, document, and scale up business tools & processes
- Manage analytics projects, monitor performance, and make sure that deliverables are produced on time
- Create artifacts such as reports, dashboards, budgets, forecasts, pricing models, and data visualizations to better understand business performance
- Conduct competitive analyses, evaluate industry trends, and keep track of shifting markets & business policies
- Effectively communicate with a wide range of audiences, including clients, IT teams, senior managers, and business operations employees
Junior business analysts often meet with stakeholders & technical teams to discuss business issues and troubleshoot problems. They are also responsible for outlining requirements, documenting findings, and creating training materials & implementation instructions. So be prepared for paperwork!
Business Analytics Job & Salary Data
Business Analyst Employment Data
Business analysts with analytics expertise fall under the category of Operations Research Analysts in reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These are professionals who use math and logic to help organizations make informed decisions, collect & analyze data, and develop decision support services.
- Growth: According to the BLS, the job outlook for Operations Research Analysts is projected to rise 23% from 2021-2031. This is an outstanding rate of growth.
- Cities: Scroll through the maps in BLS’s state & regional data page and you’ll notice that Washington DC, Dallas/Fort Worth, NYC, Houston, Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago have strong employment numbers.
- States: States with the highest employment levels include California, Virginia, Florida, New York, and Maryland. None of this is surprising. California is a tech hub; Virginia & Maryland are part of the federal government corridor; and New York is a financial powerhouse.
To get a more nuanced picture of the job market, you should compare these data with the BLS section on Management Analysts. Just like business analysts, these are professionals who conduct organizational studies & evaluations, design systems & procedures, conduct work simplification & measurement studies, and prepare operations & procedures manuals.
- Growth: According to the BLS, the job outlook for Management Analysts is projected to rise 11% from 2021-2031.
- Cities: Take a look at state and regional data and you’ll notice metropolitan areas with the highest employment levels are the usual suspects: Washington DC, NYC, Chicago, Boston, Sacramento, and Atlanta.
- States: States with the highest employment levels for management analysts are very similar to operations research jobs, although Illinois tends to employ more management analysts than Maryland.
Business Analyst Salary Data
BLS Wages & Salaries
- States: In recent years, top-paying states for operations research analysts have included Virginia, Alabama, Maryland, Hawaii, and New York. Management analysts tend to earn strong wages in big financial & tech states such as Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Washington, and Illinois. But the cost of living in these areas is also high!
- Industries: Top-paying industries for operations research analysts include the technology sector, management & technical consulting services, and the Federal Executive Branch. Industries involved in mining, manufacturing, oil & gas, and financial firms that deal with securities & commodities pay management analysts very well.
Entry-Level Business Analyst Salaries
After you’ve jotted down a few baseline numbers, do a little more homework on entry-level salaries (BLS numbers can include mid-career and senior positions). For instance, in 2022:
- Indeed’s section on Business Analyst Salaries noted that business analysts with 1-2 years of experience earned an average salary of $78,630. The highest paying cities were NYC, Washington DC, and Chicago.
- Payscale’s section on Average Business Analyst Salary (Unspecified Type) stated that business analysts with less than 1 year of experience earned an average of $59,384. This number rose to $62,554 for analysts with 1-4 years of experience. These numbers are similar to entry-level jobs for data analysts.
Industry-Specific Business Analyst Salaries
Are you interested in a particular industry? Payscale has multiple salary categories for business analysts, including:
What’s more, starting salary numbers for business analysts can vary widely between sectors. According to Payscale, in 2022:
- Starting salaries in the software sector (e.g. Technical Business Analyst, System Business Analyst, etc.) were $60,108 for those with less than 1 year of experience.
- Starting salaries in the finance sector and healthcare sector were $2,000 below that number.
Earn a relevant industry certification and you’ll have even more leverage in salary negotiations.
Bachelor’s in Business Analytics FAQ
Do I Need to Know How to Code for Business Analytics Programs (Undergraduate Level)? If So, Which Languages?
No. Your undergraduate program in business analytics will cover all of the technical skills you need to succeed in your job. Most employers are going to be looking for entry-level candidates with basic analytics skills in programming languages such as Python, R, and SQL, as well as familiarity with tools like SAS, Tableau, and Power BI.
We recommend you look at recent job descriptions to see what’s required. You can then use the curriculum links in our listings to see if the coursework is covering all of the important bases.
What Math Do I Need to Take for Business Analytics Programs (Undergraduate Level)?
You should be comfortable with statistics & calculus—your undergraduate degree program in business analytics will build on high-school level coursework in these two subjects. See our sample curriculum for examples. College-level mathematics is going to crop up frequently in courses such as Accounting, Economics, Business Statistics, Business Calculus, and related fields.
What Does It Take to Succeed in a Business Analytics Program (Undergraduate Level)?
In addition to having strong interests in data applications, analytics, and the business world, it helps to have:
- Curiosity: Business analysts like to get “under the hood” and learn how business operations are working. They’re constantly looking for ways to use big data to improve processes, resolve problems, and maximize profits. The best business analytics students are curious ones.
- Love of Detail: A solid chunk of a business analyst’s job involves investigating different business data solutions, identifying hidden issues, and testing the efficacy of an idea. Do you hate sloppy errors? Do you love looking for the needle in the haystack? You’re good to go.
- Patience with Procedures: Every day, business analysts are summarizing requirements, documenting findings, creating visualizations, and issuing progress reports. If this sounds like torture, business analytics may not be the right degree for you.
- Interpersonal Skills: Business analysts with analytics expertise often serve as the liaison between technical teams, management, and business operations. That means they can explain themselves and their analytics goals to any kind of audience. A good undergraduate program will help you foster these skills, so come with a cheerful attitude and you’ll do just fine.
Are Business Analytics Programs at the Undergraduate Level Hard?
Business analytics degrees are not designed to be easy. You’re going to be dealing with a fair amount of analytical work in a complex business environment—colleges & universities want you to be prepared!
If you’re concerned about particular subjects or wondering whether the program is going to be technical enough, talk to the program coordinator. You may be able to:
- Attend/monitor a few foundation courses (e.g. Introduction to Business Analytics)
- Talk to undergraduate students and get some real-world opinions on the quality of the teaching
- Ask if there are online courses you can take to prepare yourself for the syllabus (e.g. Coursera)
The best programs are going to be a) challenging; and b) flexible. Business analytics tools & processes are changing weekly. So your undergraduate degree should include lots of opportunities to participate in real-world projects and professors who are willing to change the syllabus as the field evolves. You don’t want to be stuck with outdated skills upon graduation.
I’ve Earned a Bachelor’s in Business Analytics – What’s Next?
Business analytics is a high-demand field. That means you don’t need a master’s degree in order to apply for a good entry-level job. And if you’ve chosen a solid BS in Business Analytics from our listings, your program will have a career support structure in place. By the time you reach the final semester of your senior year, you may have already:
- Completed internships within the business world
- Pursued relevant industry certifications
- Created a portfolio of projects to show potential employers
- Participated in informational meetings, job fairs, career seminars & mock interviews
Talk to recent alumni to get a sense of their experience. Before you make any big decisions about graduate education, you may want to spend a few years in the job to learn where your interests lie.
- Leadership & Management: Business analysts who love meetings, interpersonal communications, and problem-solving often end up applying for leadership positions. They may even pursue an MBA or a master’s degree in management.
- Consultancy: Business analysts with strong analytics skills who are good at seeing the “big picture” and instinctively understanding how complex business systems work may branch out into consultancy positions with multiple clients.
- Data Careers: Business analytics experts who are fascinated with the possibilities of advanced data applications and solutions may decide that they want to transition into a more technically-minded role and earn an MS in Data Science.
Your career path will be as unique as your personality!