Isenberg’s MS in Business Analytics (MSBA) continues to grow as industry data needs intensify. The one-year degree has become a popular credential, with enrollment numbers growing every year since it was launched in 2017. This fall, the program is welcoming 115 new students, with new admits starting in the spring and summer too.
“The MSBA was always envisioned as an accessible, high-demand program that offers marketable skills,” says Traci Hess, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at Isenberg. “Advanced business analytics techniques are now mainstream, enabling business leaders to process data on past performance, assess the current situation, and predict future opportunities and challenges,” she adds. “Businesses need professionals with analytical skills who can deliver better business decisions. We knew that a flexible specialized master’s program in business analytics would appeal to many people.”
A key component of the MSBA is its accessibility to students from any background. Undergraduate students who are nearing graduation are focused on their futures and want to move quickly into their graduate degrees, says Hess. “Student-athletes want to pursue a business graduate degree while working around their daily practices, like the amazing women athletes on the university’s lacrosse team. Working professionals have to balance work, studies, and raising families. We set up our program to accommodate people’s lives and career needs.”
Isabel Prussman ’21 MSBA calls the program the best decision she has made in launching her career in business analytics. “The program supplemented my background in managerial economics by giving me the hard skills I required to pursue my career in data analytics with confidence.”
The MSBA curriculum is designed to meet students where they are: from having no experience in analytics to being comfortable in that space. “The curriculum provides the combination of a solid business foundation and advanced analytics techniques,” says Hess. “Regardless of their level of experience, students can build the program they want to advance their careers.” Coursework includes Business Intelligence, Application Development with Python, Data Mining, and Data Science for Business, and Data Management for Business Leaders.
“The MSBA program gave me a very well-rounded skill set to confidently launch my career,” Prussman adds. “Understanding database management, SQL, and Python have been incredibly useful in my current position as a Support Analyst for Broadridge Financial. My broad knowledge of data analytics and the hard skills I was able to learn help me on a day to day basis excel in my position.”
The MSBA offers great flexibility to students—they can complete the degree in person or online at the pace they want. There are three ways that students can complete the MSBA:
And if on-campus students land their dream jobs mid-year, they can start their careers while wrapping up the degree online. “Start in one mode, finish in another,” says Hess.
Anna McCarthy ’20 MSBA chose to study at Isenberg following her positive UMass Amherst undergraduate experience and because of the flexibility offered by the program. She enrolled in the MSBA at UMass Amherst's Mount Ida campus in Newton. As well as fitting her professional and academic needs, the flexibility of the program appealed. “Since I live in Weston, I could easily take courses online and in person and manage my demanding family and professional schedule," McCarthy says.
“One positive outcome from the Covid-19 pandemic is the emergence of virtual internships offered in the fall and spring along with the traditional in-person internships in the summer,” says Rachel Snyder, career coach for the MSBA program. “The employment cycle has changed and companies like Opensignal (formerly ComLinkData) are willing to hire interns that work remotely. This is an advantage for MSBA students who can intern throughout the program.”
Isenberg offers two graduate certificate programs that can serve as pathways into the MSBA. The Foundations of Management Certificate and the Business Analytics Certificate can be completed as standalone credentials to help students make a make a career leap, or a pathway towards the MSBA, says Hess. “All credits earned in the certificate programs are transferable to our MS in Business Analytics, giving you a head-start on your master’s degree.”
The new MBA/MS in Business Analytics dual-degree program is a supercharged path to becoming a business leader with strong analytical skills, says Hess. “Earning two graduate degrees, in as little as two years for full-time students, is very attractive.” This dual-degree option is available as an immersive residential program, based at the UMass Amherst campus, or in a purely online mode. Both options deliver individualized career support and empower students to strategize and lead in a data-centric world.
The MSBA degree offered on campus in either Amherst or Newton is ideal for international students. The STEM OPT classification allows students to extend their time in the U.S. to gain practical work experience, and the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) requirements allow them to accept paid internships.