Business intelligence is the data and information that can be used to make effective predictions about the future (both immediate and distant) of an organization or business. The data is gathered using many different sources, before it is analyzed and presented using a range of different statistical reporting techniques. Someone with an MBA in Business Intelligence has the business knowledge that comes with an MBA, while specializing specifically in business intelligence data.
What We Do
Those who have completed an MBA in Business Intelligence spend most of their time collecting and analyzing data before presenting this to other senior managers to drive and shape policy and strategy. Additionally, they will make decisions in terms of what the data means and how any future issues that emerge from this data can best be addressed. Essentially, the focus on making evidence-based decisions by studying and analyzing data from a range of different sources.
Why It’s Hot
People who hold an MBA are in high demand across the world. They tend to enjoy very high salaries and a lot of professional respect. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has not yet quantified those with an MBA in Business Intelligence. However, they state that a management analyst, at bachelor’s degree level, earns a median annual salary of $78,600 per year, and it is known that obtaining a master’s degree can add as much as $15,000 per year to an average salary.
According to Payscale.com, business intelligence architects earn an average salary of $104,888. Additionally, they have reported significant growth in both salary and demand.
As big data becomes increasingly important in the world of business, so does demand for those who have the skills to not just understand this data, but present it to others as well.
In most cases, people with this degree will work behind a desk in an office, pouring over numbers and crunching data. However, a lot of the work they do is about finding data, and this can be done in a variety of ways. Indeed, it is not uncommon to find someone pouring over old archives in a library, going into the field to get handwritten notes and more. Hence, the work environment has the potential to be incredibly varied.
How to Do It
Before being able to enroll in an MBA in Business Intelligence course, you must first complete a four year bachelor’s degree. While different schools have different requirements in terms of majors or even prerequisite courses, meaning there are no set rules on which type of bachelor’s degree you should have completed, subjects such as mathematics, statistics, business or sociology are usually the best.
Admission to all MBA programs is incredibly competitive. Many schools will require you to pass a GMAT exam, unless you meet certain highly stringent requirements such as having an average GPA of 3.6 or above. It is vital that you do well on a GMAT exam in order to stand out from the crowd. As such, taking some undergraduate courses in related fields can be very beneficial. It is also advisable to apply to a number of different schools in order to increase your chances of being accepted to at least one program.
Schools around the country are offering MBA programs either online or on campus. One highly respected on campus option is the M.B.A. in Business Intelligence / Analytics offered by Nova Southern University H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business & Entrepreneurship. While this is an on campus option, it is offered very flexibly, including weekend and evening classes. The course starts five times per year.
MBA in Business Intelligence Online
A lot of people prefer to study online. One of the reasons for this is that most prospective MBA students are already in employment and are unable or unwilling to give up on their job to go back to school. Many times, their employer will actually sponsor their MBA program. A number of online MBA in Business Intelligence programs exist, including
- *Online MBA in Business Intelligence – Southern New Hampshire University – This degree focuses specifically on big data and how this can be used to drive big decisions. No GMAT is required for admission to this program. SNHU is featured in America’s Top Online MBA Programs rankings.
- Professional MBA Business Intelligence Specialization – University of Colorado Denver Business School – This MBA program includes 12 elective courses that focus on business intelligence. As such, students are able to design their degree so that it most suits their personal needs and requirements. While it is possible to complete the entire degree online, students are encouraged to take some of their courses on campus so they have an opportunity to interact directly with their peers and faculty. This AACSB accredited program is highly ranked and does not require the GMAT for entrance.
- Business Intelligence Master of Business Administration – Baker College – This online program is designed to ensure graduates understand the various different sources of data, how to extrapolate data from these sources, how to analyze it and how to present it in a way that makes sense for non-statistical people.
- Online Masters of Business Administration with a Concentration in Business Intelligence – Saint Joseph’s University – The business intelligence concentration is one of many different concentrations offered by the school. Essentially, all students enjoy the same core courses, to which they then add their concentration electives.
- MBA Business Analytics Concentration – Babson College – This college prides itself on delivering experiential learning to its students. Graduates have to take courses at three different levels, namely foundation, application and depth, with a number of possible electives that focus on business analytics and intelligence.
- MBA and Graduate Certificate Business Analytics – University of Nebraska Lincoln – This program can either be completed as a certificate for those who already hold an MBA, or as a full degree program for new MBA students, who will participate in core MBA courses as well in specialization and concentration options. UNL is fully AACSB accredited.
Pros & Cons
Enrolling in an MBA program is a significant commitment and it is important that you understand the pros and cons of this type of degree and career choice before deciding to commit.
- It leads to very interesting jobs and salaries, as well as high job security.
- You will earn professional respect from your peers and others.
- You have an opportunity to work across any type of industry around the world.
- Obtaining an MBA in any field is costly both in terms of time and money.
- Many feel that working with statistics and big data can get lonely, as it lacks a certain element of social interaction.
- A lot of responsibility will rest on your shoulders, as you will be expected to make accurate future predictions. If your predictions turn out to be inaccurate, you will get the blame for this and suffer the potential consequences. As such, the chance of burnout it high.
- Nova Southeastern University offers some scholarships.
- University of Colorado Denver offers a number of financial aid and scholarship options.
- Southern New Hampshire University provides some financial aid.
- Baker College offers financial aid.
Many different career options are open to you once you complete an MBA in Business Intelligence. Some of the most popular and in demand career options include:
- Business analyst. You will be responsible for the analysis and critical evaluation of data and business intelligence. Generally, you will extrapolate the data from a range of different sources. This will allow you to create helpful information that will benefit not just the business, but also its customers. Essentially, you will drive profitability and customer satisfaction by drawing evidence-based conclusions by analyzing and presenting the data you have worked with. You must be an excellent communicator to allow you to break down complex pieces of data and present this in a way that can be understood by others.
- Statistician. Here, you will essentially do the same as a business analyst, but you will focus on a specific area, rather than data in general. For instance, you may focus on agricultural statistics, bio statistics or economic statistics. Statisticians are needed across a range of different industries, including sports, finance, manufacturing, education, government and health. Essentially, your role will be to collect data, interpret it, draw conclusions from it and present it to others in a way that is easy to understand. Statisticians are experiencing particularly significant growth in demand.
- Financial analyst. Your role here is to provide guidance to organizations, businesses and individuals in terms of their investment decisions. You will monitor how different investments such as stocks and bonds are performing and report on your findings in a regular and detailed manner. As always, you must do this by gathering and studying data and then presenting it in a way that others are able to understand. The world of finance is becoming increasingly large, mainly because it is entering a global market, and this means the skills of people who are truly able to understand different pieces of data and translate those into plain English are in high demand.
- TDWI Business Intelligence Journal
- International Journal of Business Intelligence and Data Mining
- Pharma & MedTech Business Intelligence
- Rail Business Intelligence
Six websites with helpful resources for those working in a field relevant to an MBA in Business Intelligence: