A master’s degree in analytics is quickly becoming one of the most popular choices for students in U.S. business schools.
- In a little over a decade, the master’s in analytics had grown to become one of the most popular programs for U.S. business students—second only to the MBA.
- Around 183 U.S. business schools offer the program. In 2021, more students enrolled in this program than in any other specialized master’s program, Bloomberg reports.
- In 2021, nearly 10,000 students graduated from business analytics, data analytics, or data science programs.
Why it’s news
The popularity of these programs is likely in response to the vast number of businesses that make money by harvesting data from the internet. An entirely new career field has opened up as data collection has become more valuable to these companies.
Students entering these programs have access to a relatively new career field, opening them up to greater opportunities in data analyst fields.
North Carolina State University’s Institute for Advanced Analytics was among the first programs offering a master’s in data analytics. Michael Rappa, who designed the curriculum, developed the course around what businesses were looking for at the time.
“We started with what employers were looking for, in terms of the skills a student must have, and then assembled the curriculum,” Rappa says.
Other schools, like the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business, followed a similar path.
“Our department head saw the writing on the wall that data was going to be at the center of everything we do,” Haslam professor Missie Bowers says.
Now, the curriculum is a must-have for many business schools across the U.S. Students who follow the course must complete a mix of math and programming classes. There are some more traditional classes, such as analytic disciplines, that management science students may study.
How much business management instruction students receive varies depending on the school. Michigan’s Ross, for example, dedicates about half of the curriculum to the subject. Haslam’s program has a much smaller focus.