Big data is nothing new. But the volume of data is growing exponentially, and most companies are facing information overload. As companies try to keep up, data analysts will find themselves increasingly recruited. Adding a data analytics concentration to an MBA can prepare candidates to meet the growing demand for qualified professionals.

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside, part of the University of Wisconsin system of schools, offers such a degree that students can complete in just 12 months. This all-online program prepares graduates with the business acumen and specialized skills they need to step into management in a rapidly evolving field. UW-Parkside’s MBA graduates will find abundant opportunities in the nearby Chicago area, headquarters for some of the top companies in the world.

What Is the Overall Demand for Data Analysts?

A typical iPhone might have up to 512 gigabytes of storage. But big data is on a different scale. Enter zettabytes. There are one trillion GBs in one ZB. Forbes reports that the world will generate 175 ZBs of data a year by 2025. Companies will need help making the most of all that information.

Based on a Burning Glass Technologies study, the demand for data analysts is only expected to grow:

  • From 2015 to 2020, data science and analytics (DSA) job listings were projected to grow by 15% — nearly 364,000 new listings.
  • DSA jobs remain open 45 days, five days longer than average. The difficulty employers have filling DSA positions can drive up salaries.

What Is the Data Analytics Job Outlook in Chicago?

Chicago is home to many attractions — the Willis (Sears) Tower, movable bridges, miles of lakeshore, and Wrigley Field. Chicago and its neighboring communities are also home to three dozen Fortune 500 companies, including 10 in the top 100:

  • Walgreens (17)
  • Boeing (28)
  • State Farm Insurance (36)
  • Archer Daniels Midland (49)
  • Caterpillar (58)
  • United Continental Holdings, now United Airlines Holdings (78)
  • Allstate (82)
  • Deere (87)
  • Exelon (93)
  • AbbVie (96)

These companies represent various industries, including retail, manufacturing (aerospace, construction, mining, machinery and equipment), insurance, agricultural commodities, aviation, energy and pharmaceutical. Each offers a potential career path for data-savvy MBAs.

Take the airline industry. Indeed postings for data analytics jobs with Chicago-based United Airlines (November 2019) include listings for:

  • Associate Analyst – Information Technology – IOE
  • Lead Analyst – Operations Data Analytics
  • Manager – Operations Data Analytics
  • Senior Data Analyst – IT
  • Senior Manager – People Analytics Adviser
  • Senior Analyst – Enterprise Data Analytics
  • Senior Analyst – Digital Personalization

Interested in the real estate industry? The Fortune 500 company Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), also headquartered in Chicago, has not cracked the top 100 yet, but it did move up from a 2018 ranking of 356 to 189 in 2019. JLL is a LinkedIn Where the World Wants to Work Now company. It also earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index and made Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies list.

Indeed postings for JLL are a sign of the demand for data analytics in the real estate industry. As of November 2019, job listings include:

  • HR Data Strategy & Governance Analyst
  • Senior Analyst, Valuation and Advisory Services
  • Senior Director, HR Business Intelligence
  • Business Analyst, Sales Operations
  • Data Analyst, Program Management

What Are Some Other Opportunities for Data Analysts?

Chicago Area is teeming with advertising, marketing and creative agencies, and they handle some of the world’s top brands, such as Nike, IBM, Google, Target and Tesla.

OMD (part of the Omnicom Group, a 2019 Fortune 500 company) took home Adweek’s Global Media Agency of the Year 2019 award. The company also ranks among the top 10 most effective agencies worldwide in the Effie Index.

In a recent Marketing Land survey, over 70% of agency marketers reported that data science and analytics will be the most in-demand technical skills in the coming years. Most agencies also reported that demand for data analytics talent exceeds supply.

How Do Salaries in Chicago Stack Up?

MBAs in general can expect to find much higher than average salaries. A 2019 Corporate Recruiters Survey puts the median annual salary for new MBA hires at an all-time high of $115,000 — more than double the salary for new bachelor’s degree hires.

Given the apparent talent gap in the field, MBAs with a data analytics concentration may see a salary bump. For job seekers in Chicago, Built In Chicago reports encouraging numbers.



Median Annual Salary Salary at the
High End
Additional Cash Compensation
Data Analyst $67,000 $150,000 $11,932
Analytics Manager $109,000 $163,000 $8,967
Senior Business Analyst $93,000 $130,000 $9,054
Director of Analytics $150,000 $196,000 $20,875
Chief Information Officer $235,000 $325,000 $40,000

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.Data analysts are in demand across the board — in organizations ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies. One challenge employers have is finding managers who understand both the technical aspects of analytics and the business side. An MBA with a data analytics concentration can prepare candidates with the business management knowledge and the advanced analytics techniques employers are seeking.

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


Apple: Device Storage

Forbes: 175 Zettabytes by 2025

Burning Glass Technologies: The Quant Crunch – How the Demand for Data Science Job Skills Is Disrupting the Job Market United Airlines Data Analytics Jobs

Working Mother: Best Companies – JLL

Human Rights Campaign: Best Places to Work 2019

LinkedIn: LinkedIn Top Companies 2017: Where the World Wants to Work Now Data Insight Analyst JLL Jobs in Chicago, IL

Built In Chicago: 50 Marketing and Advertising Agencies in Chicago You Should Know

PR Newswire: OMD Named Global Media Agency of the Year 2019 by Adweek

Effie Index: Most Effective Agencies 2019

Marketing Land: Client In-Housing, Competition for Talent Top Digital Agency Concerns

Graduate Management Admission Council: Corporate Recruiters Survey 2019

Built In Chicago: See How Your Salary Stacks Up