What is a Master of Science in Analytics?

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Data has a large impact on businesses today, and this impact keeps growing. The capabilities to collect, store and interpret ever-increasing amounts of quantitative information have transformed organizations in a wide variety of industries, from manufacturing to finance. Essential functions such as operations management, supply chain efficiency, strategy development and cybersecurity now depend on gathering data from a range of sources and analyzing these findings to produce illuminating insights.

Analytics offers a powerful means of gaining fresh perspective on complex problems, allowing professionals to discover valuable opportunities for growth. Using big-data tools to accomplish long-term objectives requires teams of individuals who possess specialized knowledge and advanced skills. Anyone interested in leading the way for a data-driven business can gain the necessary background by earning a Master of Science in Analytics degree.

A graduate education in big-data strategy

Thanks to the emergence of robust tools for capturing analytics information and constantly expanding storage provided by cloud solutions, organizations are gathering data all the time. Businesses have embraced the possibilities of technology that helps them find inefficiencies in manufacturing or fulfillment processes, seize chances to expand into new markets, and understand the online behaviors of consumers. This shift has brought an explosion in hiring for positions like operational research analysts, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 27 percent growth in these jobs between 2016 and 2026.

An advanced education in leveraging quantitative information is a major asset for professionals pursuing careers in analysis, management, statistics or data science. Completing an MSA degree prepares graduates to take on the most pressing challenges in business, revealing better ways to achieve organizational objectives and planning for complex issues ahead. They learn how to use the latest software packages and techniques as part of a curriculum that stays up to date with emerging best practices.

Building a career in unlocking the potential of big data requires extensive technical knowledge, but also means making the crucial connections between raw numbers and their real-world implications. Leaders in business analytics also need a deep comprehension of strategic operations and the ability to communicate discoveries to stakeholders throughout the organization. By finding key pieces of intelligence and conveying why they matter in reports, presentations and visualizations, analytics experts optimize the use of big data.

The online MSA program at Villanova University is designed to equip students with extensive skills in managing and interpreting analytics. They can learn how big data can be put to work on the questions facing businesses and point the way toward more informed decision-making. Learning from faculty with industry experience, graduates finish with the expertise that’s in demand at organizations looking to sharpen their competitive edge with analytics.

Learning the skills that enable long-term growth

Students working toward their MSA from the Villanova School of Business take courses that cover every aspect of how businesses work with big data. The 36-credit-hour curriculum includes instruction and hands-on experience in using statistical analysis software to collect, manage and interpret quantitative information. By the time they graduate, professionals have the necessary foundation to uncover business intelligence and implement predictive and prescriptive analytics models.

Along the way, students take courses touching on many of the most important aspects of applying big data in the business world. First, a series of foundational classes ensure they have the necessary exposure to quantitative concepts and the essential abilities for success in the program. Students begin with an overview of business analytics before digging into topics like modeling, multivariate methods for data analysis and programming in “R”—a language popular among business analysts for statistical computing and displaying graphics.

The program proceeds with classes examining core areas of professional development for analytics specialists. Students learn to create applications and dashboards with business intelligence tools, as well as develop an enterprise data management strategy that efficiently integrates and retrieves information. They gain a wealth of practical knowledge including lessons in mining data and text for meaningful patterns or trends, and using modeling techniques to simulate and optimize business processes.

At the end of the program, MSA students take part in a capstone built around an application-based practicum project. Partnering with an organization to work on real problems, students show how far they’ve come by using analytics tools and thinking through strategic questions. Graduates can emerge having already experienced what it’s like to perform the day-to-day tasks of big-data specialists.

The advantages of online courses from a leading institution

Professionals interested in advancing their careers by taking a leading role in analytics need to start with a high-quality education. By learning from experts while becoming familiar with best-in-class software, they can go on to find meaningful insights in a tremendous mass of information and work out effective strategy for a growing enterprise. That’s why Villanova University’s online MSA program is custom-designed with input from executives and other industry experts to meet the demands of a fast-paced marketplace.

For busy people looking to step up their big-data skills and enhance their future job prospects, a full-time, on-campus graduate program is likely impractical. However, students can earn a master’s in analytics degree from Villanova entirely online with no residency requirement. This part-time program was created to be convenient for individuals who have already embarked on their careers.

Each semester is split into two sessions, so students can take one class at a time and still finish their degree in as few as 24 months. Courses take place entirely online and are based mainly around asynchronous elements such as recorded presentations, discussion forums and interactive case studies. Online discussion sessions and virtual office hours give students opportunities to interact live with their instructors and peers.

To apply for the Villanova MSA program, you must submit:

  • An online application, including two essays
  • A professional resume, noting any technical or quantitative background
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • An official transcript from every educational institution you have attended
  • Optional exam scores from the GMAT or GRE, which are recommended if you have a non-technical background or an undergraduate GPA lower than 3.0
  • A TOEFL score if you are an international applicant

Find out more about earning your Master of Science in Analytics degree at Villanova by visiting the program page.

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