Career spotlight: Management analyst

View all blog posts under Articles | View all blog posts under Business


Management analysts monitor a wide variety of metrics and use this data to inform company decision-making.

Analytics is now the primary fuel for strategy at forward-thinking businesses. To gain the greatest value from the wealth of information an organization collects, leadership must be prepared to turn those findings into actionable plans for growth. That’s why it’s vital to enlist management analysts who have an extensive grounding in the latest big data tools and techniques.

What are management analysts?

Management analysts play a crucial role in putting data to work for a business, setting an agenda to bring about greater performance and sustainable profitability. These professionals improve efficiency by offering insights into current operations, advising leaders on setting a path to achieve larger goals for the company. Earning an online Master of Science in Analytics can be a major step toward building a successful career in this field.

Reacting to changes in the marketplace is not sufficient for a company looking to fulfill its potential. To compete at the highest levels of their industries, organizations must take a proactive stance based on extensive business intelligence and must possess experienced employees who can analyze data and create recommendations for decision-makers. A robust store of quantitative information about relevant issues like manufacturing, logistics, customer behavior and the needs of workers can make the difference in progressing toward the company’s mission.

The role of the management analyst revolves around taking that information and finding practical ways to apply it to the specific questions confronting the organization. Analysts research business problems by examining relevant data and interviewing stakeholders. Through these methods, they discover the means to streamline the company’s functions and boost the bottom line.

Analysts are adept at both working out solutions to complex questions and communicating their ideas to business management. They develop clear policy recommendations, submitting formal reports and giving presentations to lay out steps it will take to solve certain problems. In the process, they take into account factors like the organization’s culture and position in the market. Analysts are at the forefront of data-driven change, revealing the possibilities for accomplishing the company’s goals faster and more effectively.

Skills to possess as a management analyst

To deliver exceptional results in a fast-paced world of global commerce, management analysts should possess a thorough knowledge of business processes. In addition, they must be able to gather and organize information and interpret and apply the data they receive. Their expertise allows them to define the nature and extent of a business problem so it can be addressed with a plan of action. They need a strong awareness of the decision-making processes used by organizations, as well as an understanding of how the changes they suggest will yield benefits throughout the company.

The role of a management analyst is best suited to people who are thoughtful and well-versed in the art of problem-solving. Analysts should possess strong critical thinking skills so that they can solve the issues that come their way and interpret the information at their disposal correctly. They should also be strong communicators, who can relay various topics in ways that are easy for non-analysts to understand—and they will frequently provide their analyses and suggest plans of action to their superiors or other decision-makers. It is also worth noting that those looking to pursue this career must be comfortable in typical business environments, as most management analysts often work in offices. Strong organizational skill is also a must due to the tight deadlines inherent in this line of work.

Big data is increasingly essential to capturing that big-picture view and conveying it to decision-makers. Consistently laying out solutions to pressing business problems and delivering valuable ideas for the future requires training in advanced software and techniques. By using cutting-edge tools for data collection and analysis, management analysts gain a more precise understanding of how a company can make improvements by restructuring and seizing opportunities to enhance efficiency.

Education requirements for management analysts

Certain educational steps must be taken to become a management analyst. For most entry-level positions, a bachelor’s degree is required, but there are many employers who may prefer applicants who have master’s degrees in analytics or similar fields. The higher the level of a position, the more companies are likely to want professionals with an advanced degree. Additionally, candidates who have taken post-collegiate certification programs, such as the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) curriculum, are increasingly sought after as well.

For a basic bachelor’s degree in analytics, business administration or a related field, prospective management analysts will take courses to further their business acumen and analytical skills. Foundational classes such as accounting, statistics, communications and others will prepare students for a career in typical business environments.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree, students would be wise to consider continuing their education to pursue a Master of Science in Analytics (MSA), which can give them a leg up in their job searches. Master’s degree holders are particularly sought after for management analysis roles, thanks to the relevant skills and techniques they acquire while in school. Such programs can give future analysts the tools they need to excel, such as advanced analytical expertise and training in various software. The typical MSA program lasts two years after the initial four to acquire a bachelor’s.

Compensation and job outlook

Pay for management analysts can be quite generous. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2018 median pay for management analysts was $83,610 per year, which comes out to around $40.20 an hour. This number only increases commensurately with the more years of experience one accumulates (and, not infrequently, with the more education on one’s record).

With the increasing importance of big data for day-to-day operations in a huge variety of industries and organizations, opportunities for management analysts are only expanding. The BLS projects a 14% rate of growth in available positions through 2024, double the average rate of 7% for all US occupations. The tremendous possibilities for qualified individuals in this line of work led U.S. News & World Report to rank the role of management analyst as one of the 10 best jobs in business.

When companies are looking for ways to lower costs while delivering better results, they see the importance of having experts on hand to provide an informed perspective on the prospects ahead. At some organizations, management analysts work in house, gathering intelligence and providing strategic guidance over the long term. In other cases, management analyst consultants are brought in to provide an outsider’s perspective at an important juncture for a particular business, traveling frequently to meet with clients and staying in touch through teleconferencing.

Focused on solving problems, management analysts are always tackling new questions. This is an occupation that involves constantly looking forward to the next chance to make organizations run more smoothly and achieve their objectives. That makes it a job well-suited to people who are always interested in learning more and taking on fresh challenges. Analysts might travel frequently or stay in one place. They could help a multibillion-dollar corporation adjust its marketing strategy or work as a one-person team to help get a small business on track. The career offers a wide variety of possible opportunities, some of which defy conventional classification.

Pursuing an MSA

A Master of Science in Analytics from Villanova University provides the education today’s management analysts need to offer forward-thinking strategic recommendations. While exploring techniques for gathering business intelligence and mining data, students work with the latest in statistical analysis software and learn to use the power of big data to prepare companies for ongoing growth. Learn more and find out how to apply by visiting the program page.