For modern businesses, the most valuable asset they have is their data. Yet, with a predicted job shortage of 1.5 million big data experts by 2018, many organizations will struggle to manage and use their data effectively. Data specialists with a flair for business are already in high demand and will play an increasingly transformational role for their employers.

There are several ways for data experts to develop their careers and stand out in this highly competitive field. Two popular advanced education paths are the MS in Business Intelligence and the MS in Business Analytics, but how do you know which is the right path for your career?


MS in Business Intelligence vs. MS Business Analytics

business intelligence vs business analytics
Both the MS in Business Intelligence and the MS in Business Analytics are designed for data experts who want to transform raw data into actionable information for businesses, but they take slightly different approaches to achieve this goal.

Here’s a look at some of the key differences between these two master’s degrees.


MS in Business Intelligence

Professionals pursuing a career in data are well-suited to obtain a business intelligence graduate degree. These students will learn in-depth knowledge of business technologies (e.g. Tableau) used to help non-technical employees understand and act on complex data. Students will become familiar with dashboarding technologies to understand how they can be integrated with other IT systems and be used to make large-scale data more digestible at all levels of an organization.

An MS in Business Intelligence typically offers courses that focus on data mining, storage and management. To best teach students how to improve business acumen within an organization, business intelligence graduate degree programs may offer concentrations related to business technology integration, database design, or modeling.

Attaining an MS in Business Intelligence is a great option for data experts who want to help other members of an organization make better use of business data.


MS in Business Analytics

Earning an MS in Business Analytics is ideal for professionals who want to use sophisticated data analysis and mathematical modeling to transform raw data into meaningful business insight. Like their counterparts who earn business intelligence graduate degrees, these students will become skilled in applying data in a business environment; however, those with an MS in Business Analytics will gain advanced analytical and software engineering skills such as machine learning and mathematical optimization in addition to the appropriate business knowledge and communication skills necessary to solve complex business problems.

Course offerings included in the pursuit of a master’s degree in business analytics will teach students, for example, how to identify data trends and communicate what these trends mean for their organizations moving forward. Students will learn machine learning techniques related to structured and unstructured datasets with an emphasis on their business application. Additionally, the MS in Business Analytics provides students with a comprehensive foundation of statistical analysis, programming, mathematical modeling, and communication skills.

Business analytics experts solve a wide range of problems, such as predicting how customers will likely respond to a new product, applying machine learning algorithms to business applications, optimizing the network structure of a supply chain, or advising the rest of the business on what action to take once a trend has been found in the data.


About Tepper’s Online M.S. in Business Analytics

The online Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University helps students to develop proficiency in the full range of state-of-the-art business analytics techniques. With a comprehensive curriculum that encompasses data visualization, machine learning and optimization, large-scale data management and more, graduates leave the program positioned for advancement in their careers.

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