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Why Business Analytics is So Important

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This month, TopUniversities launches a brand new series of rankings of top postgraduate programs in three areas: management, finance and business analytics. The QS World University Content: Business Masters Content 2018 aim to provide greater insight for business-minded students who aren’t sure whether they should pursue a traditional MBA degree (Master of Business Administration) or a more specialized business master’s degree.

Of the three subjects featured this year, management and finance are both well-established study options, but business analytics is perhaps more unknown. Read on for more information about this growing area of study and find out whether it’s right for you.

What is business analytics?

Business analytics takes a data-driven approach to the world of business, using statistics and data modelling to develop new business insights. This blend of technology and business makes it an ideal study option for anyone with an interest in programming or working with big data.

While programs vary between universities and business schools, typically students will be trained in data analysis and business intelligence tools, so they’re able to do things such as predictive modelling. This involves analyzing data about a business’s past performance to predict how it will perform in the future and make business decisions accordingly. For example, a chain of restaurants may use data to decide where to open their next branch.

Why is it becoming more popular now?

As a postgraduate program, business analytics is relatively new. However, the concept dates back to the late 19th century and was notably used by car manufacturer Henry Ford, who would measure the time it took to make each component on the assembly line in his factories. Business analytics has developed vastly since then though, with the rise in computing power allowing for increasingly complicated analysis to take place.

Now, business analytics is used in most of the world’s major companies and is particularly valuable in Silicon Valley, where tech start-ups are keen to exploit any data-driven advantages which will help them break into the mass market. Some larger businesses may not have their own in-house business analysts, but there are also a notable range of business analytics companies which offer their services on a consulting basis.

Due to the rising interest in business analytics in the tech sector, more and more business schools have begun to offer a master’s in business analytics. This rise has largely been driven by American universities and schools, which explains why the majority of institutions in the QS Business Analytics Content are from the US.

So, which are the best business schools for studying business analytics?

The first-ever ranking of business analytics degrees is topped by Sloan Graduate School of Management at MIT in the US. Containing over 40 institutions, you can view the full table here.

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Written by Craig OCallaghan
As editor of TopUniversities.com, Craig oversees the site's editorial content and network of student contributors. He also plays a key editorial role in the publication of several guides and reports, including the QS Top Grad School Guide.

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