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What can you do with a business analytics degree?

All businesses collect data, and most collect more than they know what to do with. Sales and financial information gathered during customer interactions can show a business how to refine its sales techniques, improve its marketing or find ways to save money. But data-driven decision-making can only happen when someone is able to turn raw numbers into insights that can inform and guide business leaders’ actions.  

Business analysts are trained to do just this. Business analytics students gain a deep knowledge of both business operations and data analysis, so they can translate business questions into data queries and those queries into analytics reports, which provide business predictions and recommendations.  

They learn to address business problems by:  

  1. Identifying and defining the problem 
  1. Determining what information is needed to address the problem 
  1. Obtaining, managing and cleaning that data, as necessary 
  1. Analyzing the data using analytical tools including Excel, Tableau and Power BI 
  1. Interpreting the data 
  1. Creating visualizations of the data to communicate its lessons to leadership 

Business analysts serve as catalysts for the companies they work for, helping leadership better understand the ins-and-outs of operations and enabling them to improve outcomes in many settings. 

“It’s absolutely amazing, that as an analyst, I get to work with the senior management and that they depend on my analytical abilities to become the best decision-makers in their positions,” said Arooj Rizvi, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a business analytics concentration from University of the Pacific in 2021 and a Master of Science in Business Analytics in 2022. She works as an institutional research analyst at San Joaquin Delta College.  

Business analytics vs. data science

The advantage that business analytics students have over statistics or data science majors is that they are better equipped to relate data to a company’s strategic objectives and operational processes that would lead to more data driven decision-making. They can speak the languages of both business and analytics and translate between them, which helps to improve communication within a business and enables it to work more efficiently.  

There are similarities between business analytics and data science programs’ coursework: both learn statistics and how to use similar analytical tools. But data science students learn computer programming, whereas business analytics students learn how to apply these tools and techniques to solve business problems and drive strategic decision-making

Business analytics graduates have an advantage in a variety of analytical jobs because they can combine strong analytical skills with a deep understanding of business operations and strategy.  

For this reason, Leili Javadpour, an associate professor in Pacific’s Eberhardt School of Business, encourages her business analytics students to double-major in another field of business such as finance or marketing, arguing that doing so makes students competitive with business degree and data science graduates.  

Business analytics jobs

“Business analytics is a rewarding career choice that gives us the skills to support the core of the organization,” said Rizvi. “Inevitably, all organizations will depend on the existence of data being captured for business intelligence.” 

Jobs that business analytics graduates commonly obtain include:  

  • Financial analyst: Financial analysts advise the leaders of their organizations about the best ways to responsibly manage their funds and increase their earnings. This might mean doing market research to figure out what products or offerings might sell best or analyzing financial trends to ensure that an organization’s investments are optimized. They are key staff involved in creating budgets and financial reporting.  
  • Marketing analyst: Marketing analysts determine the effectiveness of sales techniques and assess how well advertising campaigns worked—and why. They figure out what the most effective ways to increase sales are, to help companies spend their advertising budgets efficiently and to help marketing and sales staff spend their time on the efforts that are most likely to provide the greatest benefit to the company.  
  • Accounting analyst: Accounting analysts are responsible for monitoring and reporting on a company’s financial wellbeing, both overall and at the level of individual business units. They conduct audits to make sure the company is complying with all relevant financial regulations, create invoices and billing statements, monitor and track financial transactions and assist with tax preparations.  
  • Institutional research analyst: Institutional research analysts work at schools or nonprofit institutions to analyze internal data about members of a community and their work. Research could be undertaken for many reasons: to demonstrate compliance with regulations, to forecast enrollment numbers to inform budgets, to meet accreditation requirements and many other purposes. 
  • Database architect/administrator: Data architects and administrators ensure that an organization has access to the data it needs; the data is well organized, so that needed reports can be pulled easily; the database itself is maintained and updated as necessary; and the database integrates with other platforms as needed. They may also provide and interpret reports based on the data they manage, as well.  

Pacific’s business analytics degree

Business analytics students at Pacific experience the university’s hallmark small class sizes and benefit from personal attention from faculty members who are invested in the success of each of their students.  

“Pacific is offering a competitive program allowing mentorship from seasoned professionals and a competitive curriculum right from the start,” says Rizvi. 

Javadpour says that she and her colleagues regularly rework their classes to incorporate the most recent market trends and introduce new tools and technologies. The Pacific business analytics degree builds on that foundation.  

“We are focusing on teaching students problem solving skills rather than just how to work with software,” says Javadpour. “Software is changing and we won’t know what will be the tool to use in four years when they are graduating. Analytical skills and a problem-solving mindset will equip them with what they need in their future jobs.”   

Flexibility in the curriculum allows motivated students to make the most of their time at Pacific and makes it comparatively easy to double-major and gain practical experience.  

Business analytics students complete an experiential learning capstone project in their final semester. Rather than writing a thesis, students are assigned to clients—either corporations or business units at Pacific—and work with them to find solutions to existing problems. At the end of the semester, they present their work to their clients and professors.  

Learn more about business analytics at Pacific. 

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