The Master of Business Administration degree has become so large and varying over the years, that it is no longer just one degree but a bigger umbrella full of concentrations, specializations, majors, and certificates. These niches will focus on a particular business sector or specialty, and give students more guidance and experience for their future careers. Students can pursue MBAs in Economics, Marketing, Business Analytics, HR, IT, Supply Chain Management, and the list goes on and on. Online MBA Today explores different specialization and concentration options in order to give students information on the fields and degrees available.
Let's explore the dynamic and growing field of Business Analytics.
High quality information has been integral to business for a long time. In 1985, Edward De Bono wrote a book called the "Six Thinking Hats" based on his approach to making decisions and exploring new ideas in business. One of the integral avenues into this decision-making process is focusing on just the facts of the situation. While optimism, creativity, emotions, and "worse case scenario" thinking has its place within business decision-making, the place of information can never go unexplored.
Business Analytics is at the intersection of statistics and strategic management. It explores how data is collected and how it is interpreted for organizational success. Not only that, but it is becoming a sector that explores the faster and easier ways to collect and analyze data. This data helps businesses analyze what is happening in the marketplace and what is most likely to happen next.
One article describes how Business Analytics is broken into three distinct categories: Descriptive, Predictive, and Prescriptive analytics. Businesses are constantly collecting data, from buying habits, public opinion, and website clicks, in order to gain insights into the greater public and their customers' needs. Through descriptive analytics, data is gathered in a way where smaller bits of information can be extracted and patterns can be detected. Predictive analytics is where forecasts come into play. Prescriptive analytics goes one step further and develops recommendations on courses of action. Take Target for example. If you are to start shopping online, the website will start gathering data based on your clicking patterns and even the amount of time spent on each page. This data can be collected for a larger descriptive analysis on the website. Predictive analytics can be seen at the bottom of the page where the site offers other products that people have looked at based on the product you are currently reviewing. Even further, predictive analytics takes place where further down the page are a list of items that customers, who have looked at your current product, have ultimately bought. Why? To increase sales. Target has found a way to gather and analyze data in real time in order to encourage customers to find something they want and ultimately close a sale.
But you don't have to be a multimillion dollar corporation to leverage business analytics. Gathering information has never been easier. More companies are adding newer and faster tools every day. Even our everyday tools and modes of communication are incorporating data acquisition. Facebook and Twitter are two common websites that incorporate data analytics. You can compare popularity of posts and the number of engagements on each post or tweet. You can even compare days to see if your target audience is more receptive in a particular pattern.
Forbes puts it this way, "Unleashing the insights hidden in unstructured data is providing enterprises with the potential to compete and improve in areas they had limited visibility into before." In fact, Data Analytics shows its usefulness beyond the boardroom. Moneyball, released in 2011, is a movie based on the true story of using data analysis as a competitive advantage in baseball. In fact, many businesses use data analytics as a competitive advantage. Zulily, for example, not only places emphasis on providing excellent products at a discounted price, but their competitive advantage heavily relies on how they intricately craft daily emails highlighting the right products in front of each customer based on their buying and browsing habits. The field of data analytics has grown to be integral in business, and the sector of business analytical software is expected to grow over 50% from 2015 to 2020.
Online MBA in Business Analytics
The growth of analytics and its importance in business has obviously increased the need for professionals who understand the field. An online MBA in Business Analytics is a great fit for professionals looking to move into managerial roles. The curriculum of a program in this field will give the foundational business and management courses and then focus solely on Business Analytics. Curriculum can explore quantitative analysis, modeling, data visualization and interpretation, and give students experience using tools in this field. Students will explore marketing analysis, web analysis, and economic forecasting and how to use all the data for decision-making and driving organizational success.
Based on our latest ranking of Online MBA programs in Business Analytics, here are the top three programs in the country:
- OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY SPEARS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
- VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
- BABSON COLLEGE F.W. OLIN GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
If you are a professional looking to enter into the growing field of data analytics, you have the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage in the field while continuing with your current professional and personal commitments. An online MBA in Data Analytics combines the exceptional education with a flexible schedule. Explore the programs available and narrow down your prospective list. Next, plan out your schedule for application requirements and deadlines and start walking your path toward your future career.
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