Most business professionals know that familiarity with data analytics is a must. Big data is here to stay. The challenge is how to find the value in all of it. This is why data analytics is one of the most sought-after skill sets for new business school hires.

A Master of Business Administration continues to be in demand. Add a concentration in data analytics, and watch that demand intensify. MBA students at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside can choose such a concentration, designed to prepare graduates for high-level roles ranging from data analyst to chief data officer.

Companies are constantly collecting data. Think about how much data is generated by Google searches alone — over 40,000 searches per second. Most of this potentially valuable data goes unused — thus the demand for data analytics professionals. Big data is a business asset, but most companies cannot come close to keeping up with everything they collect and store. Forbes reports that a mind-boggling 2.5 quintillion bytes of data (and growing) is created daily.

A Deloitte survey of IT executives identified analytics as a “top investment priority.” A 2019 Corporate Recruiters Survey supports the need for MBAs with expertise in business analytics. Among its key findings: Business intelligence/analytics is one of the top three job functions for new MBA hires.

What Is the Data Analytics Talent Gap?

Data analytics is just one of dozens of options when it comes to choosing an MBA specialization. When approaching this important decision, consider the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) that companies have difficulty finding in MBA graduates.

A recent Graduate Management Admission Council market intelligence report analyzed 10 KSAs that employers expect in new business school graduates. Data analysis and interpretation was one of the most difficult skills to find. Aspiring data analysts with their eye on top-ranked companies should note that 20% of survey respondents were in the Fortune Global 100.

The Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey 2018 backs up the strong job outlook for data analytics specialists. For four years in a row, chief information officers and technology executives identified big data and analytics as “the number one skill in short supply.”

MBA graduates with a concentration in data analytics can help close this talent gap. Opportunities can be found with numerous companies and top industries:

  • Energy
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Construction
  • Financial services
  • Transportation
  • Agriculture
  • Telecommunication
  • Manufacturing
  • Hospitality

Benefits of a Data Analytics MBA

Interested in joining a Fortune Global 100 or Fortune Global 500 company? The survey of recruiters found that over 90% of responding Fortune Global 100/500 companies planned to hire MBAs. These companies most often seek MBAs for strategy/innovation jobs, but strategy and innovation are much more than having an aha moment. In today’s business world, it takes data analytics to build the case for innovation.

A Forbes article on the role of data analytics in innovation points to It’s Fresh as one example. This U.K.-based waste-reducing food technology company backed up every step of its product development with data. As its founder noted, “Having solid case study data to validate the efficacy of our technology is vital.”

Data analytics is essential in most businesses. It especially helps retailers reduce out-of-stock situations and lost sales. Data is even helping small-scale farmers improve their bottom line. As Food Tank explains, big data can help farmers manage variables such as weather and pests to improve efficiencies and profitability without increasing their impact on the environment.

With the data analytics specialists they need, companies can improve their ability to:

  • Understand market conditions
  • Anticipate changing customer needs
  • Identify areas for improvement
  • Budget for growth
  • Make more informed decisions
  • Boost operational efficiency, improve quality, reduce costs
  • Reduce risk
  • Identify opportunities, such as with new products

A high earning potential is another benefit of an MBA in data analytics. MBAs in general can enjoy much higher salaries than new hires with a bachelor’s. GMAC’s 2019 Corporate Recruiters Survey puts the median starting salary for new MBA hires at $115,000 per year, compared with $55,000 for graduates with only a bachelor’s degree.

As of December 2019, lists an average annual salary of $115,900-$137,600 for big data analytics managers, and high-level careers typically pay more. For example, base salaries for chief data officers range from $192,090 to $264,790. Incentives can increase base salaries for CDOs to $352,990.

Companies are collecting and storing more and more data by the second. The need for data analytics specialists is likely to grow in response. Business professionals can launch a career in this high-demand field by earning an MBA in data analytics. At UW-Parkside, students can graduate in 12 months, prepared for a rewarding data analytics career.

As a general note, salaries included here are meant to be a guideline and are not guaranteed. Actual salaries will depend on location, company, experience and more.

Learn more about the University of Wisconsin-Parkside online MBA program with a Concentration in Data Analytics.


Internet Live Stats: Google Search Statistics

Forbes: How Much Data Do We Create Every Day? The Mind-Blowing Stats Everyone Should Read

Deloitte: Dark Analytics: Illuminating Opportunities Hidden Within Unstructured Data

Graduate Management Admission Council: Corporate Recruiters Survey 2019

Graduate Management Admission Council: The KSAs Companies Expect from Business School Graduates: Corporate Recruiters Survey 2018

KPMG: Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey 2018

Forbes: Industry 4.0: At the Intersection of Readiness and Responsibility

Food Tank: Bigger Data, Smaller Farms: The Role of Big Data in Sustainable Intensification Big Data Analytics Manager Salary in the United States Chief Data Office Salary in the United States