MBA vs MS In Business Analytics: Which Is A Better Career Move To Be In Data Science Industry

Data Science industry is one of the most attractive domains for making career moves. It requires a good balance of technical as well as business acumen and there are a lot of opportunities for professionals to explore in this space. While there are various job roles available in Data Science domain such as Data Architect, ML engineer, and more, there is often a question around what educational background can pave the way for a career in this field.

While Masters and PhDs in quantitative fields such as Math, Statistics, Computer Science or Engineering have been the most sought after qualifications, other qualifications such as MBA and MS in business analytics can also lead to a career in this field.

In this article, we explore how the two degrees face off in terms of course content, technical skills and which programme is best suited for offering a hands-on approach to analytical skills and methodologies.

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MBA Vs MS: Understanding The Difference

MBA degree in business analytics aims to provide an overall understanding of the working of the analytics industry and gives a lowdown on the role that you may be required to perform in the industry. While it largely attracts the managerial roles, the course provides a good outline on technicalities of the field so that you are able to troubleshoot problems whenever required.

Course Content: It covers an understanding of various analytical tools and technologies to be able to collect and analyse data while generating business intelligence and insights. It covers topics such as computer simulation, statistics, decision analysis, optimisation, data mining, AI, visualisation, predictive modelling, marketing, supply chain and more. MBA courses are at the intersection of business, information science and technology, with topics such as data analytics & modelling, designing data products and more. It is inclined towards learning scientific approaches to management and gives an option to choose electives such as finance, HR, marketing, management, and others. Though it provides analytical insights, the course focuses more on business planning, expansion and improving management.

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On the other hand, MS in business analytics is largely focused on data analysis and interpretation with more emphasis on data. It is geared towards a technical-oriented role and stresses on data-centric skills while providing an overview of business strategies.  

Course content: The course usually emphasises on technical and core subjects such as software engineering, machine learning, analytical modelling, hands-on experience in R, Python and other programming languages along with technical coursework combined with courses in management, business fundamentals, marketing and others. It mainly focuses on technical aspects while focusing on statistical analysis, modelling, domain knowledge of Python, SAS, SQL, Hadoop, R and so on. Business analytics equips with data review, financial planning, gap analysis, qualitative and quantitative research, problem-solving skills and more.

Opportunities In Store For The Two Roles

When it comes to career opportunities and placement in companies, there is often a debate on which role gets the most traction and a higher paying job. An MBA usually provides a broader horizon for job opportunities, whereas MS graduates lean towards Data Science job roles, limiting the opportunities to data science field.

Many studies also reveal that MBA graduates usually get extraordinary salary growth while it is not so in the case of MS Analytics graduates. Thus, the earning potential is relatively high for MBA graduates compared to MS Analytics graduates.

What Should You Chose?

Having discussed the different kinds of opportunities that both the roles bring, the course may be selected based on the core capabilities and interest of the candidate and future career prospects. For a career in the data science industry, MS in business analytics will be the right choice. Whereas if one wants to widen their horizons, MBA will be the best option. The decision can also depend on the expenses that one is ready to bear as an MBA might cost more expensive than MS in business analytics, and the time one is ready to spend as both the courses have different duration.

What Do Companies Prefer?

While both MBA and MS, when done from good colleges and training institutes, can get recruited in industries, they both need the candidates to have skills in analytics to be able to carry decisions and run processes in the industry. For the analytics industry, both MBA and MS can be quite competitive. While it is often debated as to which is a better degree, many companies might not even stress on the degree but only the skills that one brings to the table.

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by Vijayalakshmi Anandan

The Deep Learning Curve is a technology-based podcast hosted by Vijayalakshmi Anandan - Video Presenter and Podcaster at Analytics India Magazine. This podcast is the narrator's journey of curiosity and discovery in the world of technology.

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