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Why an M.S. in Business Analytics?

Data has changed the way businesses make decisions. In the increasingly competitive marketplace, organizations need data-savvy business leaders  who can make decisions informed by disparate sources of data.

Analytics are important to  every industry, including finance, education, transportation and retail. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the data analyst’s job category is one of the fastest-growing career fields, and demand continues to outpace available talent. McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2018 in the US alone, there will be a shortage of 140,000-190,000 people with analytical expertise, and a shortage of 1.5 million managers and analysts with the expertise to make decisions based on the analysis of big data.  Furthermore, a degree in business analytics aligns directly with the top two jobs listed in U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 list of Best Business Jobs.

The program

The M.S. in Business Analytics (MSBA) at the Orfalea College of Business is a comprehensive, 10-month interdisciplinary business degree program that encompasses economics, finance, statistics, marketing, and information systems. The program offers a holistic approach to data analytics that combines an analytical mindset and technical skill set.  Working on collaborative industry projects, students will engage with real world problems while gaining valuable experience working for a client in a team. With particular emphasis on advanced statistical modeling, data visualization and communication, students will be equipped to harness the power of data, by asking the right questions for the analysis and creating actionable intelligence.

The MSBA offers its students an incredible opportunity to advance their professional careers in the exciting and fast growing field of data analytics. Graduates will be tapped for exciting leadership opportunities at the forefront of business. They will also be able to serve as a critical link among senior management, data scientists, and clients.

Industry Connection

The MSBA program is supported by an extensive advisory board made up of key executives from top companies in a variety of industries.  Their participation aligns curriculum development with industry needs in this rapidly evolving field of data analytics. The advisory board members, along with other key partners, mentor our students, and provide real data for collaborative industry projects.  In these projects, students interact directly with these companies in a consultant-like relationship.

Click here to read an article by a former MSBA student about his experience working with our partners on these projects.    

“Here at Oracle, we know there is a tremendous demand for new business school graduates with the ability to glean competitive insights from the massive amounts of data being generated today… [The] MS program in Business Analytics … add[s] to the appeal of Cal Poly as a go-to source of finance and business administration talent for innovative companies in the Bay Area and beyond.”
— Jeff Henley, Executive Vice Chairman, Oracle 

“Both Google as a company, and Google Analytics as a product, have an ever-present need for tomorrow’s leaders able to bridge the business and technical worlds with the necessary analytical skills to materially impact our bottom line. Cal Poly’s new MS program is uniquely positioned to provide a local talent base with the skills to hit the ground running.”
— Joshua Knox, Engineering Program Manager, Google 

To learn more about how industry informed the development of Cal Poly’s MSBA program, you may view this Question & Answer excerpt from our 2015 webinar, featuring Rich Clayton, Executive VP Business Analytics at Oracle, and Joshua Knox, Engineering Program Manager at Google.


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