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Put your leadership career on the fast-track by learning more about the MBA in Analytics. Our practical guide contains info on everything from MBA core coursework and analytics concentrations to unique program opportunities. Use our sections to find details on admissions requirements, estimates of tuition prices, and degree choices (e.g. MSBA vs. MBA). Plan ahead by exploring common career paths and employment data for MBA graduates. Or skip to our listings of MBA in Analytics programs to start creating a shortlist of options.
What is an MBA in Analytics?
An MBA in Analytics (or a closely related field) is a degree that’s intended to help corporate leaders bring their knowledge of analytics to bear on major business challenges. Unlike the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA), an MBA is a business administration degree. It’s much less technical than the MSBA and much more focused on strategic management concerns. MBA graduates must understand the nuances of data and have the knowledge to lead interdisciplinary teams, plan data-intensive projects, and craft business strategies.
Earning an MBA is a major step in your career, so we urge you to do your research before you commit. Have a look at our sample MBA curriculum and our sections on career prospects and job & salary data. Talk to current professionals with MBAs and MSBAs. Read the discussions on Reddit. Because of over-saturation, MBA graduates don’t always have an easy time in the job market. And many companies are still sorting out what they want to see in analytics leaders. It’s not a degree for everyone.
How They Work: MBA in Analytics Overview
MBA degrees in our listings come in a dizzying array of flavors & formats. Some affordable MBA in Analytics programs can be as short as 30 credits and take just 10 months to complete on a full-time basis. Prestigious programs from top-tier Schools of Business can range from 40-70 credits and might take 2-3 years to finish.
In a typical MBA, you’ll be required to complete core coursework in business administration & management subjects, concentration courses in data or business analytics, and—potentially—an internship and/or capstone project. Higher-end MBAs will also offer unique opportunities such as global field trips.
The standard timeline for an MBA program in data or business analytics is 2 years. But this isn’t a hard & fast rule. Many Schools of Business now offer a range of full-time and part-time options. Within the same university, you might be able to choose from an:
- Accelerated 1-year MBA
- Traditional 2-year MBA
- Executive MBA (for experienced candidates)
- Flexible MBA for part-time study—usually up to 6 years
- Dual MSBA/MBA
Explore the degree links in our listings to see what’s on offer.
Sample 2-Year Program
Let’s say you decide to opt for a standard cohort-based, 2-year MBA in Analytics. That means you’ll be studying alongside your classmates as you complete a fixed schedule of courses. And your calendar could look something like this:
- Year 1 (Fall & Spring): Taking 2-3 courses per semester, you’ll explore core coursework. Classes may occur in the evenings and on weekends.
- Year 1 (Summer): Many Schools of Business will allow you to pursue an analytics-related internship or work on independent business projects in your first year.
- Year 2 (Fall & Spring): The second year will include a lot more work in your concentration. You’ll be able to select analytics electives in your field of interest and—perhaps—apply them to a capstone project. You could also take part in international residencies.
Unlike MSBA programs, which dive straight into analytics & technical subjects, MBA in Analytics programs always contain a core of courses in fundamental business practices. No matter which concentration you choose, you will have to complete ~10 courses in administration & management. Here are some of the most popular subjects for the MBA:
- Strategic Leadership
- Managerial Accounting
- Managerial Finance
- Marketing Management
- Operations Management
- Supply Chain Management
- Global Business Environment
- Applied Microeconomics
- Organizational Behavior
- Business Law & Ethics
Any MBA program that takes a data-driven approach may include 1-2 mandatory courses in technical subjects. So you could also encounter core subjects such as:
- Applied Statistics
- Fundamentals of Data Analytics
- Business Analytics & Marketing Research
- Decision Models for Business and Economics
- IT Management
Note: If you’re coming from a non-business or non-technical background, you may need to take additional “foundation” courses from the university (e.g. Business Analysis). These prerequisites can often be tackled in the summer before your program begins.
Once you’ve got a fair chunk of your MBA core coursework completed, you’ll be able to focus on your concentration. You’ll usually have the option to select 3-5 courses from a range of analytics & data science electives. Use the course links in our listings to get a quick sense of your options.
You’ll need a little time to sort through them all! We’ve seen MBA programs offering dedicated analytics concentrations or specializations in:
- Business Analytics
- Data Analytics
- Marketing Analytics
- Healthcare Analytics
- Supply Chain Analytics
- Financial Analytics
- Business Intelligence & Business Analytics
- Game Design & Analytics
Within these concentrations, you’ll frequently see course titles such as:
- Data Analytics
- Predictive Analytics
- Business Intelligence
- Data Mining & Machine Learning
- Data Visualization
- Data Management
- Programming in R & Python
- Fundamentals of Big Data
The level of technical difficulty in these courses will depend on the subject and which department is delivering it. Many MBA programs in analytics will only give you a broad overview of tools & techniques. However, if it’s a concentration in a specific field (e.g. financial analytics), courses will dig a bit deeper into the subject (e.g. risk management systems, trading strategies & systems, financial information systems, etc.).
Internships & Capstone Projects
To justify their high tuition prices, MBA programs in analytics often feature opportunities to work on real-world projects with corporate partners (and if they don’t, they should). In our listings, you’ll find plenty of degrees that include internships and/or capstone projects as a mandatory part of the curriculum.
- Capstone Project: An MBA capstone project involves independent research work on a business consulting challenge. Working alone or with a small team of students, you’ll be expected to tackle the problem and present your findings in a final presentation. Many capstone ideas are supplied by industry partners who have ties to the School of Business. Not seeing a project in the core curriculum? You may be able to choose a capstone as an elective.
- Internship: A number of MBA programs favor internships over capstone projects. In a traditional 2-year program, the internship will often take place during the summer of the first year. If you have to complete an internship, make sure you understand how they’re organized. Will they contain a lot of analytics work? Which companies can you work for? Will you have to find your own internship opportunities? And will it be a full-time commitment?
Capstone Project Ideas
Although MBA capstone projects revolve around corporate strategy, you can customize them to focus on data-related topics. For instance, here are some examples of real-life capstone project ideas from CMU’s highly-ranked MBA in Business Analytics:
- Construction of a Pricing Strategy using Marketing Transaction Data
- Optimizing a Delivery Distribution Network
- Customization of Promotional Strategies to a Micro-Market Level
- Planning a New Distribution Channel
Always ask the MBA program coordinator for a list of recent analytics capstone projects or internship placements. That will give you all kinds of useful information on the worth of the program.
Unique MBA Opportunities
We like to call this the “bells and whistles” part of your curriculum. MBA degrees are big money-earners for a university, so Schools of Business love to stuff them with unusual career opportunities. Depending on the size & price of the program, you might be able to take advantage of:
- Global residencies with international companies
- Entrepreneurship labs & training
- Consulting gigs with local-area businesses & start-ups
- Individualized leadership coaching & mentoring
- Career planning services, résumé reviews & mock interviews
- Networking trips to conferences, business events & summits
- Student organizations like the Wharton AI & Analytics Club
- Case competitions with industry partners
Not all MBA programs are built like this. Affordable online degrees from smaller public & private universities may have none of these options. Programs from prestigious Schools of Business will have tons. When in doubt, talk to recent alumni to see if they felt like the additional benefits were worth the cost.
MBA in Analytics: Admissions
MBA programs in analytics are often looking for business candidates who have a strong interest in data or—alternatively—current analytics professionals who are interested in moving up the ladder to management positions. The best programs tend to be highly competitive, so be sure to have your ducks in a row before applying.
Here are some standard admissions requirements for an MBA in Analytics:
- Undergraduate degree (in any major) from a regionally accredited college or university
- Minimum GPA—some programs will be on the lower side (e.g. 2.75); top-tier programs may be higher (e.g. 3.25)
- GRE or GMAT scores—these are occasionally optional or waived for certain candidates
- Résumé—schools may wish to see your educational history, work history, and any experiences related to your interest in analytics work (e.g. internships, certificates & certifications, published articles & projects, volunteer experiences, industry memberships, etc.)
- Letters of recommendation
- Essay/Statement of Purpose
- Interview—video interviews are now common
- TOEFL or IELTS scores for international students from a non-English speaking background
Work Experience Requirements
When it comes to work experience requirements, you’ll need to check individual admissions links in our listings:
- Many MBA programs will only consider applicants who have at least 2 years of full-time work experience.
- A few MBA in Analytics programs are willing to consider recent undergraduates with little or no work experience, but that may not be the best cohort for a business administration program.
- Executive MBA programs often want to see candidates with 5-7+ years of experience.
Any MBA in Analytics is going to contain some technical coursework in business & data (e.g. data management, data visualization, etc.). Some Schools of Business are happy to walk you through the fundamentals of applied statistics & data analytics after you’re in the program. Others may expect you to have a:
- Working knowledge of college-level mathematics, including calculus
- Undergraduate course in business analytics, business statistics, or statistical analysis
Follow the admissions links in our listings to get a sense of what’s required. If you don’t have the necessary prerequisites, you’ll usually be able to take them through the university.
MBA in Analytics: Tuition Cost $
Calculating the Price
As a general rule, MBA programs are going to be more expensive than master’s in business analytics and master’s in data analytics programs. That’s the price you pay for a business administration degree. You can bring that tuition number down by assessing the playing field:
- Public vs. Private: Is there a well-respected School of Business in your state? At a public university, you may qualify for reduced in-state tuition rates and find internships at local corporations. On the other hand, a well-known private university with strong industry connections may set you up for a higher earnings boost after graduation.
- University Aid: A huge number of MBA programs offer scholarships & financial assistance to applicants. These awards can be based on need, merit, and/or category (e.g. women leadership). On-campus students may also qualify for assistantships & fellowships. Talk to the program coordinator about your situation.
- Online vs. On-Campus: Online MBA in Analytics programs will be cheaper than on-campus programs. In addition to saving on tuition, you won’t be paying for time off work, commuting costs, and campus expenses. But on-campus MBAs carry more prestige with hiring committees. They’re also places where you can take advantage of valuable networking opportunities and business connections.
- Company Sponsorship: A lot of people hold on earning an MBA until they are sure that their company is going to help subsidize their education. This might take the form of student loan reimbursements, partial funding in return for a work commitment, or 100% funding of the degree. Make an appointment with your HR representative to go over your options.
Real-World Price Data
Ready for some wild numbers? In our rankings of Affordable Online MBA in Analytics programs, you’ll find distance learning options under $15,000. On the other hand, “top of the line” MBA degrees in our on-campus listings will cost more than $100,000.
We crunched the data and came up with the following ballpark figures for MBA in Analytics costs:
- Low-End Tuition: $12,000-$25,000
- Mid-Range Tuition: $40,000-$60,000
- High-End Tuition: $80,000-$150,000
With prices like these, the outcome better justify the expense! Have a look at our MBA in Analytics section on job & salary data for more on this debate.
Which MBA is Best for Analytics Professionals?
Types of Analytics MBA Programs
All of the MBA programs in our listings are tailored toward professionals with an interest in corporate leadership & business analytics. As we’ve mentioned in our section on concentrations, you can choose to get a broad overview of analytics or focus on a specific realm of interest (e.g. financial analytics). The second option may be more useful for MBA candidates who already have prior analytics experience.
Once you’ve decided on your concentration, you’ll need to think about the format. Do you want to try and squeeze all your studies into a one-year, accelerated timeline? Or do you need the flexibility to attend part-time (e.g. one course per semester)? Would you prefer a cohort-based, in-person experience? Or do you only have the bandwidth for an Online MBA in Analytics? You’ve got plenty of options.
MBA in Analytics vs. MS in Business Analytics (MSBA)
We address this debate in more depth in our guide to the Master’s in Business Analytics. Thankfully, it’s a pretty straightforward decision!
- MSBA: If you want to specialize in analytics roles and spend most of your days involved in technical work (e.g. business analyst, financial analyst, data analyst, analytics consultant, etc.), then you should be pursuing an MSBA or an MSDA. You can always consider an MBA later in your career.
- MBA: If you’re interested in management roles that involve overseeing analytics departments, creating business strategies & initiatives, managing processes, and collaborating with multiple teams, then take a look at the MBA. You’ll usually need work experience to apply, so this is a popular choice for mid-careerists.
Business Analytics MBAs vs. Data Analytics MBAs
Schools of Business have a bad habit of jumping on academic bandwagons. As soon as data came along as the hot new subject, they started offering MBA concentrations in business analytics and data analytics. You’ll find both options in our listings.
In our research, we didn’t find any major differences between the two. They cover similar course topics such as the fundamentals of analytics, data mining, data visualization, and Business Intelligence (BI). Business Analytics MBAs may lean slightly more toward business applications, but this will depend a lot on the program. As always, check the curriculum carefully.
Executive MBA vs. Traditional MBA
Do you have more than 5 years of experience in the business world? Are you eyeing a major position such as CDO, VP, or CEO? You may qualify for Executive MBA (EMBA) programs in our listings. These cohort-based degrees are designed for seasoned professionals who have a lot of practical knowledge under their belt. They’re often held on weekends and they may contain special networking opportunities and/or international experiences.
It’s not your only choice. We’ve seen some impressive “traditional” MBA in Analytics programs that do a brilliant job of mixing younger technical students with seasoned business pros. Depending on your career aspirations, you may also find that an MBA in a certain city (e.g. San Francisco) will be much more useful to you than an EMBA across the country.
Tucked in amongst our listings are some intriguing dual degree options. These programs will give you the chance to earn an MBA and the MSBA at the same time. In some cases, total credits may get reduced because of the crossover in business & analytics coursework.
A combo degree can be a useful tool—if you have a strong sense of your career goals and you’ve talked to employers about your plans.
- Some dual MBA/MSBA alumni say they regret the expense; others say they have secured great jobs thanks to their combination of technical & managerial qualifications. The latter tend to be folks who already have work experience.
- At the beginning of your career, you may want to stick with the MSBA, practice your hard skills, earn some solid on-the-job experience, and then think about applying for a company-sponsored MBA to qualify for leadership positions.
Career Prospects for an MBA in Analytics
What Can You Do with an MBA in Analytics?
MBA programs in data & business analytics are designed to help you qualify for corporate leadership positions. We’re talking about managerial, directorial, and executive-level roles that focus on strategic thinking and informed decision-making. An MBA is not a technical master’s degree like the MSBA or MSDA.
When we analyzed employment sites, we came up with a number of roles that might require—or simply prefer—an MBA in an analytics field. Bear in mind that many of them also required a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in a technical field and/or plenty of prior work experience in analytics.
Typical Job Titles
- Chief Data Officer (CDO)
- Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
- Senior Vice President (SVP)/Head of Data & Analytics
- Vice President (VP) of Financial Planning & Analysis
- Director of Business Analytics
- Director of Analytics & Data Strategy
- Business Intelligence Manager
- Business Analytics Manager
- Senior Product Manager
- Senior Manager, Reporting & Analytics
- Senior Analyst
- Data Science Consultant
- Management Consultant
Analytics MBA Job & Salary Data
MBA in Analytics Employment Data
It’s easy enough to find employment data for MBA-holders, but it can be a little trickier to find specific data on MBA in Analytics graduates. It’s a relatively new degree in a niche discipline. But the demand is real—companies desperately need technically-minded folks who can also step back and see the 30,000 foot view.
To get a sense of the employment landscape for analytics leadership positions, have a look at the following:
- University Data: Reputable Schools of Business publish their own MBA Employment Reports (e.g. MIT Sloan, CMU Heinz, NYU Stern, UPenn Wharton, etc.). They’ll list the percentage of graduates who have received full-time job offers, average salary numbers, names of actual employers, and average signing bonuses. Even if you don’t have the wherewithal to attend these schools, you’ll know more about typical alumni pathways.
- Government Data: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does a stellar job of tracking wage & employment trends for Chief Executives and Computer and Information Systems Managers. You may also want to take a gander at stats for Operations Research Analysts and Management Analysts. Projected 10-year growth rates for the last three job titles are particularly strong.
- GMAC Data: Every year, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) publishes the results of its Corporate Recruiters Survey. The survey tracks outcomes of MBA and business master’s graduates, including MSDA & MSBA alumni. It also publishes hiring and salary data for regions across the world. For instance, from 2021-2022, expected hiring rates in the U.S. for MBA graduates remained fairly consistent. Overall, employers were most likely to hire MBAs in strategy/innovation, consulting & marketing roles.
We particularly like GMAC’s work because it breaks down employer preferences for highly desirable skill sets (e.g. communication, data analysis & strategy), corporate perceptions of business programs, top concerns from specific sectors (e.g. finance & tech employers) and more. Take a minute to download the survey and examine the results for yourself.
MBA in Analytics Salary Data
You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to MBA salary data—it’s one of the most carefully monitored statistics in the business world. We’ve highlighted a few reputable sources, but you’ll find even more estimates within Reddit threads, School of Business websites, and job postings. Publications like Poets & Quants, Fortune, and Bloomberg Businesweek also publish regular salary reports.
- GMAC Data: Salary data from GMAC’s Corporate Recruiters Survey indicated that the estimated starting salary was $125k for MBA graduates and $85k for MSBA & MSDA graduates in the United States in 2023. These aren’t surprising numbers, given that MBA graduates apply for higher-level management positions.
- Government Data: GMAC’s estimates tally with the BLS’s wage figures for Computer and Information Systems Managers. In 2022, the lowest 10% of these managers were earning $97,430 per year. However, the median salary was $164,070.
- Glassdoor & Payscale Data: Glassdoor tracks Business Analyst MBA Salaries and MBA Analyst Salaries. In 2023, average salary numbers for these two jobs was hovering around $100,000-$112,000. Payscale had a lower figure for MBA Business Data Analysis graduates—they were quoting $84,000 as the average base salary.
Your choice of industry is going to affect your salary number. Financial services & technology companies traditionally offer much higher wages than non-profits and manufacturing companies. On the other hand, you might find more job stability and a better work-life balance in a lesser known sector (e.g. energy). Keep your options open as you’re investigating opportunities—managers with an in-depth knowledge of data are now required in every industry.
MBA in Analytics FAQ
How Do I Choose the Best MBA in Analytics for My Career Goals?
“Horses for courses” is the phrase we’re going to use for the answer! In prosaic terms, it means different MBAs in our listings will be suitable for different aims. You may really need than $100k on-campus MBA in Business Analytics if you want a job with a highly renowned global consultancy firm. But you may not if you’re looking to tick a degree box for your current employer.
- Consider Your Career: Are you at the beginning, middle, or more established phase of your career? Beginners might want to earn an MSBA, MSDA or industry certifications before landing on an MBA. Mid-careerists may crave the opportunities that come with a full-time, on-campus program. Established folks vying for CEO and CDO positions may wish to consider the EMBA.
- Choose Your Industry: Where do you want to work after graduation? An MBA graduate in the finance industry is going to require a different arsenal of analytics tools & management techniques (e.g. quantitative trading) than a consultant in the tech sector. Think carefully about your concentration. You’ll need to demonstrate to hiring committees that you can speak the language of the industry.
- Dig Into MBA Employment Reports: Always check the School of Business’s MBA Employment Reports and research the companies that are recruiting graduates. These reports will tell you what sandbox the School is playing in (e.g. tech, retail, healthcare, etc.). If you don’t see specific data for analytics students, ask the MBA program coordinator for more information.
- Evaluate the School’s Location: It’s going to be surprisingly important. Choose a public university in your state and you may qualify for affordable in-state tuition rates and local internships. Choose a school in Southern Florida and you may find yourself working on data-related consultancy projects for resorts, golf courses, and hotels. Whatever your goals, you want to put yourself in the epicenter of activity for your fields of interest.
- Compare Business School Rankings: Reputation does matter! In a 2023 report, U.S. News & World Report discovered that “grads of B-schools with the most sterling academic reputations are, in some cases, paid a salary and bonus more than triple that of grads of the lowest-ranked schools.” To find those schools, check out the rankings from U.S. News, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, Fortune, Financial Times, and Poets & Quants.
- Talk to Current Students & Recent Alumni: They’ll give you their unfiltered perspectives on the program. You can ask them about the level of technical difficulty in the analytics coursework, their old jobs and their current roles, their experience with the School’s career services, their projects with industry partners—pretty much anything that relates to real-world outcomes.
Is an MBA in Analytics Worth It?
Maybe. If you’ve evaluated career paths, chatted to a lot of peers & mentors in the business, and identified where you want to work after graduation, an MBA in Analytics can be incredibly fulfilling. In its 2022 report on The Value of Graduate Management Education (GME): From the Candidate’s Perspective, GMAC found that:
- 84% of respondents reported that GME had helped them improve their professional situation.
- 68% reported that GME had helped them achieve their financial goals.
- More than 85% of graduates moved up from entry levels and more than half moved up from middle levels.
- 50-60% of graduates changed job functions after obtaining their degrees (the technology industry had the lowest amount of transition).
On the other hand…
- The field is crowded—you’re going to be competing with a helluva lot of other applicants for jobs that are still in the process of being defined by companies.
- Unless you have outstanding internships & projects on your résumé, someone with an MSBA, team leadership skills, and project management experience may be more attractive to hiring committees.
- Your pay bump may not be as large as you think it will be. And you may need a well-paying role to work off any student debt you’ve accrued.
Don’t trust the School of Business on this one. Speak to industry people about your background before you make a decision.
Can an MBA in Analytics be a STEM-Designated Program?
Yes. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stipulates that a STEM-designated degree must feature at least 50% of coursework in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). Happily, a number of MBA programs in analytics in our listings fall into this category (e.g. Illinois Tech’s MBA in Business Analytics).
- International students in full-time master’s degree programs in the U.S. are able to apply for the F-1 Visa. With an F-1 Visa, you’re typically eligible for 12 months/1 year of Optional Practical Training (OPT)/temporary employment after you graduate.
- But anyone in a STEM-designated program can apply for an additional extension of up to 24 months/2 years of Optional Practical Training (OPT). That’s 3 years of employment in total. An OPT extension can also help prepare you for a work visa.
Is an Online MBA in Analytics Going to Be Respected?
Not necessarily. Even though Schools of Business will tell you that the “online” label doesn’t matter (and won’t feature on your transcript), companies have been slow to accept the worth of distance learning MBAs. In its 2023 Corporate Recruiters Survey, GMAC reported: “Only 27% of U.S. employers say they value online and in-person degrees equally at their organization, down even from 29% last year.”
However, there may be less of a stigma attached to programs with a technical feel (e.g. Online MSBA). “While U.S. employers indicate that they value in-person degrees over online degrees overall, only 43% say they value the technical skills of in-person graduates over online graduates.”
If you are thinking about an Online MBA in Analytics, you’ll need to put in some extra hours of field research to find out if it’s going to hinder you in the job hunt. You may not have any problems if your online degree is from CMU Tepper. You may struggle if it’s from an unknown private school in the Midwest. We talk more about the pros & cons of distance learning in our separate guide.