On-campus or online MSA: Which one to choose?

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The speed of business is constantly accelerating, thanks in part to the widespread adoption of analytics-driven approaches. To keep strategic planning, manufacturing, fulfillment, marketing and a variety of other functions on track, organizations need personnel with a deep understanding of big data. Analytics specialists provide the information companies rely upon to develop forward-thinking, efficient processes.

Earning a Master of Science in Analytics can help you become an expert in the relevant tools and strategies necessary  for taking the next steps in your career. As you begin the application process, consider all the factors that will affect your learning outcomes and prospects for future advancement. Online courses may offer a number of benefits that you won’t find in a physical classroom. It is important sto understand the advantages possible through either option before coming to a decision.

What’s the difference between online and traditional programs?

When you’re considering a graduate program in business analytics, there are a number of choices. You’ll have to think about what areas of study are your top priorities, which school is the best fit for you and how to make time for all your responsibilities. One of the most important questions to answer is whether you would rather pursue your degree in a traditional, on-campus setting or would prefer to explore an online MSA program.

A traditional education can be great for fully immersing yourself in your studies and a learning community, especially if you prefer a highly structured environment to keep you on task. You get to meet in person regularly with instructors and peers, providing ample opportunities to discuss your studies and expand your network. Still, there are good reasons to take classes online.

U.S. News & World Report suggests weighing the ease of making connections in person against the convenience of adapting a graduate school experience for your own needs. If you’re busy working a full-time job, the time commitment of traveling to campus and attending classes may be impractical. Online education allows greater flexibility, as you can access course materials from anywhere with an internet connection and can often complete tasks on your own schedule.

Depending on your preferences, you may find that you learn and retain key information more effectively from a distance. Remote classes commonly provide taped lectures that make it easy to refer back to an instructor’s explanation of a tricky concept. Students can even participate and engage with their peers through contributing to classroom discussion boards.

How Villanova empowers online analytics education

The key to making the most of an online education is attending an institution committed to providing off-campus students with top-quality teaching and plenty of room for professional growth. Villanova University online MSA students benefit from an advanced education in the latest analytics tools and strategies. They complete a curriculum that’s updated based on input from business leaders, learning from instructors who are experts in the field.

The 36-credit-hour MSA program is only available online. The curriculum was created to meet the requirements of working professionals, as well as business, math, engineering or computer-science undergraduates with interests in analytics. Over five semesters, students take one class at a time, progressing from introductions to business analytics, data models and the “R” statistical programming language through courses on enterprise data management, business intelligence and data mining. The program wraps up with an analytics practicum capstone, linking students with major companies to work on real big-data projects.

The Villanova School of Business program is designed to allow MSA students to complete class requirements around their own schedules. The bulk of the material is delivered asynchronously through recorded lectures, online forums and interactive case studies. That doesn’t mean there’s no time to engage directly with instructors and peers — live discussion sessions and virtual office hours are ways to connect and find new contacts. And while there is no requirement to visit campus, students are welcome to visit and engage in-person.

Students in online MSA programs can develop the big-data skills that are in demand at a broad range of organizations. Villanova University brings students in-depth learning and hands-on experience at the cutting edge of business strategy, combining exceptional education with convenience. Visit the program page to find out more about what Villanova has to offer and how you can apply.

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