Business leaders in analytics
Source: Orfalea College of Business

Business analysts are becoming indispensable to companies across a broad range of fields. Being able to analyse data from past business performance gives you invaluable insight, allowing you to steer the business in the right direction for growth.

Graduates with these key analytical skills are becoming increasingly sought-after among contemporary employers. Studying an undergraduate, master’s, elective or even minor program in business analytics will put you ahead of the competition when you embark on your career.

The key to a successful first role as a business analyst is having prior industry experience. If whilst at university you’ve gained insight into real-world data analysis, you’ll be far better prepared to tackle your new role head on.

Schools such as California Polytechnic offer unique opportunities for students to hone their analytical skills though consulting projects with industry partners, which not only gives participants crucial industry experience, but also leads to potential employment post-graduation.

Not only will you need strong analytical skills and industry experience, you’ll also need the necessary soft skills of management and effective teamwork capabilities to carve yourself a successful career in business.

Luckily for you, we’ve selected four leading universities providing innovative options for business analytics, in and outside of the classroom.


The Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) at Cal Poly blends data science with business strategy, preparing students for in-demand analytics careers.

Source: Orfalea College of Business

Strongly adhering to the university’s ‘Learn by doing’ motto, students in the MSBA program engage in collaborative consulting projects with industry leaders to create data-driven business solutions to pressing problems.  MSBA student Matt Fagan remarked that consulting for these clients was “above and beyond any [typical] class project thanks to its legitimate impact.”  Adding, the “targeted questioning…proved to us just how well we understood the data and the story we built with it.”

Throughout the 10-month program, you’ll learn how to work with a variety of data types, and become well versed in statistical modeling, data mining, data visualization and communication. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to leverage robust data analysis skills to influence key business decisions.

The university’s proximity to Silicon Valley offers unparalleled career opportunities in analytics.  Sixty percent of the project partners ultimately go on to hire one or more students from the Cal Poly MSBA program for a full-time role, and the program has an eighty-eight percent job placement rate overall.


The Business Analytics Honors Program at Poole College of Management offers select undergraduate honors students additional preparation for careers in the high-demand field of business analytics.

Source: Poole College of Management

This unique program combines challenging analytics coursework with a practicum course, engaging students with local employers working on real-world business analytics projects with real data.

For example, this year one team worked with American multinational technology conglomerate Cisco, applying skills learnt in class to a real world scenario while working in a collaborative team environment.

Admission to this program is competitive and based on prior academic achievement, but this is definitely worth it for the crucial industry experience gained.

Students who successfully complete the program requirements will have a business analytics honors designation added to their university transcript, demonstrating to employers that you have a foundation of knowledge that has prepared you for a career in this continually evolving field.


Gies College of Business believes in thinking big and attaining excellence. With a faculty of visionary leaders and innovators, pushing boundaries and taking the lead to achieve their goals, the college constantly embraces new possibilities.

Source: Gies College of Business

Studying at the University of Illinois sencourage you to think big. Here, you’ll acquire the tools needed to unleash your potential and become a future business leader.

The university’s data analytics think tank, The University of Illinois-Deloitte Foundation Center for Business Analytics, launched in 2016 as a result of a US$5 million gift from the Deloitte Foundation. The center exists to better integrate the essential analytics component to the university’s existing Business programs.

The center has adopted a cross-disciplinary approach to provide advice, ideas and materials that aim to revolutionize the practice surrounding big data, utilizing data analytics in education and business to empower students.

Through the center you can study a First Course in Foundations of Data Analytics, building a practical foundation for data analytics by teaching you basic tools and techniques that can scale to large computational systems and massive data sets.


At the Questrom School of Business, you can study an MS in Business Analytics, a 10-month program that equips you with essential skills in all areas of business analytics, ranging from data mining and experimental methods to privacy and ethics.

Source: Questrom School of Business

Boston University realises that this growing field is quickly becoming indispensable, as companies of all sizes and industries utilize business analytics to explore past business performance and gain necessary insight. That’s why the school provides this course – to give you a head start in your career.

Questrom School of Business will not only enhance your analytical abilities, but also develop the soft skills that are highly valued by employers and essential in business, such as effective communication, collaboration and leadership.

Starting salaries for Questrom graduates are 13 percent higher than the national average. Graduates have been hired by companies like Amazon, Forbes and YouTube.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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