In the digital age, data analytics has become an important practice in the world of global business. The term refers to the process of interpreting large amounts of data to gain insight and draw conclusions on business-related trends, such as consumer purchasing and returns on investment. Given that data analytics is an increasingly important business practice, employers are looking for candidates that have a nuanced understanding of this often complex area.
A growing number of universities are offering students the opportunity to earn a Master of Science in Analytics. At Villanova University, MSA students learn strategies for data interpretation, the latest digital platforms in analytics and general best practices. Students are taught by a world-class faculty composed of statisticians, mathematicians and educators with extensive business experience.
If you are considering enrolling in an MSA program, but are uncertain about career prospects afterward, you will be pleased to know that MSA graduates are highly sought after in a number of different areas. The following three careers have particularly promising upward trajectories:
1. Data analyst
Perhaps the most common career path that MSA graduates follow is that of a data analyst. Many MSA students already have professional experience as a data analyst and are looking to build on and hone their skills in a bid to secure a more senior position. Data analysts will examine large quantities of data and subsequently draw conclusions about what the information is presenting, as well as offer solutions to business problems. Most large organizations will hire analysts to review and analyze data pertaining to sales, promotions, pricing and customers.
To enter the field, candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree, although an MSA is preferable for more senior roles. In terms of salary, figures vary considerably, contingent on a candidate’s expertise and area of specialization. According to Payscale, entry level salaries start at around $39,000 per year. The median nationwide salary is just over $55,000. Candidates with extensive experience and more advanced qualifications can command considerably more – with top end average figures exceeding $80,000 per annum.
2. Business Consultant
Business consultants, also known as management analysts, are typically hired by organizations to identify and resolve issues that are holding the company back. A business consultant can work in an array of business areas – from sales to accounting to human resources. Some will specialize in one specific area of business, while others may be more of a generalist. A business consultant will identify problems using an array of tactics, including data analytics, monitoring the daily operations of the company, and scrutinizing the behavior of competitors. Given that business consultants are typically hired to resolve an issue, they will usually be tasked with developing a strategy for improvement and then presenting it to company executives.
It is possible to secure a business advisor job with just a bachelor’s degree, although clients favor consultants with either extensive experience, an advanced degree or, ideally, both. An MSA degree is particularly helpful because consultants collect a vast amount of data that can then be analyzed to indicate trends and reveal issues. For that reason, an MSA graduate is particularly well suited for this role. Similarly, master’s in business administration graduates may find success on this career path.
In terms of salary, a career as a business consultant can be lucrative. The U.S. Department of Labor reported that entry level candidates can command almost $50,000 per year, with more experienced professionals earning in excess of $150,000 a year. The median average annual salary for 2015 was a little over $81,000.
3. Product manager
Product managers are often senior employees within organizations that oversee the development of a company’s brand or “product.” Many product managers work in the software industry and oversee the creation of new digital platforms.
Product managers monitor the development of a brand or product from conception to completion. They will assess crucial aspects, such as consumer demand, market research and the state of the marketplace, to determine whether or not a brand or product will be a success. Product managers will then lead a team as they develop, build and release the product.
This role necessitates strong interpersonal skills, a knack for management and an ability to monitor and elucidate industry trends. This is why MSA graduates are particularly well suited to this role, as the degree program places an emphasis on data interpretation to discover trends and propose solutions and strategies.
Salaries for product managers can be generous. Popular job search website Glassdoor reported that the average national salary for a product manager is almost $109,000 a year. Entry level positions command less, with salaries starting at around $55,000. Highly qualified and experienced product managers can make in excess of $160,000 per year.