We are drawn to the analytics field for many reasons: a desire for interesting projects, a fascination with data, a near-obsession with problem-solving. But the ambition to earn a decent paycheck is also usually high on people’s lists.
The good news for data analytics professionals? “In general, the market is valuing people with this skill set very highly,” said Stephen M. Rakas, executive director of the Masters Career Center at the Tepper School of Business. “Part of it is the perceived value, and part of it is a real-life shortage of talent.”
Companies who have declared that they want to be “data-driven” are searching for people who can make this vision a reality. And companies who have already realized that business analysts derive actionable insights that help them make money and save money are expanding their teams. It’s a great time for master’s in business analytics (MSBA) graduates.
“I definitely used my MSBA in my job search,” said Priyanka Shirur, a senior RWE consultant at Real Chemistry and a graduate of Tepper’s online MSBA program. “I was able to negotiate for my new position and did get a higher salary than what they had originally offered.”
We’re all data folks here. Let’s jump into some numbers.
What Salary Can You Make with an MS in Business Analytics?
In the past year, job postings that required a master’s in business analytics degree had a median salary of $87,264, according to the labor database Burning Glass. On average, these positions paid almost $10,000 more than those that didn’t require an MSBA.
For those who attend an elite school such as Tepper for their MS in Business Analytics, their salary potential jumps even higher. The average starting salary for graduates was $103,000, a 22% increase from the salary they had before starting the program, according to a survey of Tepper alumni.
Data Analytics Salary Ranges By Job Title
When you dig into specific data-related roles, you’ll see a broad range of salaries. Below is a list of the job titles most frequently associated with a master’s in business analytics and their salary ranges.
|Job Title||Salary Range|
|Data Analyst||$68,845 to $87,476|
|Senior Data Analyst||$86,001 to $109,201|
|Data Scientist||$64,837 to $96,477|
|Senior Data Scientist||$119,239 to $147,491|
|Business Analyst||$69,914 to $86,980|
|Senior Business Analyst||$86,648 to $105,264|
|Data Engineer||$91,070 to $126,976|
|Senior Data Engineer||$105,801 to $137,074|
A survey of analytics professionals by Burtch Works found that respondents with four to eight years of experience plus a master’s degree had a median salary $14,000 higher than those with a bachelor’s degree alone.
We’ve mentioned this in a previous article about what you can do with a business analytics degree, but it’s important to repeat: while these are the jobs most commonly associated with a business analytics degree, many MSBA graduates are in roles that don’t include “data” or “analyst” in the title. Others are in upper management or executive-level positions that don’t center on analytics but they still benefit from knowing how to wield data for a competitive advantage.
Routes to a Higher Salary With a Master of Science in Business Analytics
There’s a reason MSBA programs teach business-domain knowledge and communication strategies as much as technical skills; no matter how well you can manipulate a dataset or create a functioning model, you will also need to be able to present your insights to people outside your team who may not share your technical acumen.
This includes higher-ups on the lookout for how you benefit their mission and bottom line. If you demonstrate that your skills add value to your organization, you are in an excellent position to demand more in return.
Make a Case for a Promotion and a Raise
As you saw in the chart above, senior-level positions can pay thousands of dollars more than entry-level roles. Even at the lowest end of their salary range, senior data scientists earn $22,000 more than their junior counterparts.
However, moving up requires more than just spending X years on the job. Employers want to see that you have advanced abilities and that they can trust you with increased responsibility. For example, the Harvard Business Review list of top executive-level skills includes
- Strategic thinking and execution
- Technical skills
- Team- and relationship-building
- Communication and presentation
This is when the business side of an MSBA becomes especially important. Scroll through the primary objectives and MSBA curriculum of programs like Tepper’s and you’ll see these very same skills reflected throughout the coursework.
For Tepper alumni like Andrew Kwiatkowski, the online master’s program paid off; he credits the degree and its staff with his recent promotion.
“Tepper helped me drastically increase my ability to be able to communicate and gave me a lot more confidence in my presentation skills,” Kwiatkowski said. “Not only have I been able to implement my technical knowledge but I’m able to effectively communicate my worth to the company.”
Let’s be clear, it’s not always as simple as (1) earn a master’s, (2) walk into your HR office, and (3) get a promotion. Some companies immediately recognize the relevance of advanced degrees and promote accordingly. Others require you to make a business case for yourself. But if you can demonstrate that you have strong problem-solving abilities and that your knowledge is improving business decisions, you will be in a powerful negotiating position.
Bonus: If you choose an MSBA program that comes with a strong career services team, you can turn to career advisors who will equip you to assess and present your specific case for a promotion and a raise.
Become a Decision-Maker
Do you love the moment when you have an answer to a question that stumped everyone else? Imagine that experience on a much bigger scale, at a level where your solution can determine the direction of an entire organization.
Analysts know how to dig into data to find better solutions and they can find new pathways others miss. With the knowledge of operations, accounting, and marketing that comes with an MSBA, a business analytics professional also knows how to turn those solutions into action.
“For a lot of our students, right now they can do the analytics but they hand it off to someone else who decides what to do, which limits their careers,” explained David Lamont, associate teaching professor at Tepper.
“If they become the person empowered by the organization to make the decisions and who has deep analytics skills, they gain a lot more flexibility in terms of where they want to go in the organization,” Lamont said.
Shirur is a Tepper graduate who has put her degree to work in her role as a senior RWE consultant. “I have advocated for myself a lot,” she said. “I have been able to push myself into lead roles because of my MSBA. I have shown my peers and my manager that I do have the skills that you need to become a lead on projects.”
Find a Job That Pays What You’re Worth
The beauty of an MSBA degree is that the associated skills are highly desired and highly transferable among departments, jobs, and sectors. If you want to pursue a higher salary at a new firm or enter a different industry, your business analytics skills are ready to travel.
For instance, Tepper MSBA alumni work around the world for some of the best-known brands in a wide variety of industries, including:
- The Walt Disney Company
- Lockheed Martin
“A great thing about having an MSBA is that it gave me a lot of really good exit opportunities,” said Shirur. “I know that this degree is very valuable.”
At Tepper, an alumni survey found that 84% of business analytics graduate students seeking either a promotion or new position had secured a new role within just three months of graduation.
“If you are ready to pivot your career, it’s a smart decision; take the year and a half and get that degree so that you can take your career in the direction you want,” Shurir said. “The MSBA allows you to have a broad reach and won’t stick you in one niche.”
An MSBA Is a Waste of Your Time and Money if It Doesn’t Teach Relevant Skills
Here’s the catch: all the points made above are dependent on you completing a comprehensive MSBA program, one that actually teaches up-to-date technical skills plus useful business strategies. Having “master’s in business analytics” on your resume may get you past the automatic resume checkers, but you’re not going to go far if you don’t have the skills.
And here’s the pitch: Tepper’s online MS in Business Analytics is grounded in technical approaches without sacrificing the business side. Not only can our students do the work, but they can actually explain it to other people.
This is a degree that is purpose-built to meet the needs of industry. It’s also a program that innovates as technology evolves and the working world transforms.
“The degree changes as the market needs change,” explained Professor Lamont. “One of the things that I love about CMU is that we have no respect for what we did yesterday. If things need to change, we’ll change them, and therefore the program is going to evolve with the needs of our students and the people who hire them.”
About Tepper’s Online MS in Business Analytics
We’ve talked a lot about money here, but the value of a Tepper master’s degree goes beyond the potential for an increased salary. In the online master’s in business analytics program, our students dig deep into business analytics and emerge as data masters. With the education and experience they gain over the 18-month program, they have the confidence to take the lead on difficult problems or see business solutions that no one else spots.
You’re not going to find peers who are solely focused on their paycheck. Instead, our students create real camaraderie with each other. If you’d like to experience this for yourself, we can connect you with Tepper MSBA student ambassadors and alumni ambassadors.
To learn more about the Tepper School’s online Master of Science in Business Analytics, fill out the fields below to download a free brochure. If you have additional questions, please call 888-876-8959 or 412-238-1101 to speak with an admissions counselor.