Business Analytics Concentration FAQ

What does the admissions committee look for in business analytics (BA) concentrators? 

The admissions committee looks for similar talents and traits across all M.S. in Commerce concentrations: academic strength, strong motivation, and qualities of character. Successful candidates demonstrate competency in quantitative, analytical, and communication skillsets. For the BA concentration, the committee seeks candidates who possess strong analytical and problem-solving skills and the ability to conceptualize a problem, ask good questions, gather and analyze information, and devise and articulate solutions. Analytical and problem-solving skills can be demonstrated through coursework, the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT, and internship or extracurricular experiences. (Visit the admissions page for more detailed information on overall admission criteria.) 

Do you have to be a science, math, or economics major to be successful in business analytics? 

No. Many liberal arts, science, and engineering courses can you help develop strong analytical and problem-solving skills, including courses that require you to break down problems, ideas, or theories; identify key patterns, issues, or trends; and articulate conclusions with supporting arguments or documentation. 

I have been told that business schools do not pay much attention to the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section of the GMAT. Is that true for the McIntire School of Commerce? 

No. The admissions committee considers all four parts of the GMAT (Verbal, Quantitative, Written, and Integrated Reasoning). The IR score, in particular, is very relevant for candidates interested in BA. 

Is this a new area of teaching for the McIntire School? 

No. McIntire faculty members have been teaching BA as part of both the M.S. in the Management of IT Program and the undergraduate program’s BA track. The M.S. in Commerce–Marketing & Management concentration has included a customer analytics course that has helped graduates pursue BA-related careers. The interest generated by these graduates and our McIntire Center for Business Analytics corporate partners led to the creation of the M.S. in Commerce Program’s BA concentration. 

Because the concentration is new, will there be employers seeking to hire for BA positions from the M.S. in Commerce Program? 

Absolutely. McIntire has been working closely with consulting firms, analytics firms, infrastructure and services firms, and customer-/client-facing organizations anxious to hire M.S. in Commerce students. Many of these firms have consulted with faculty in the development of the BA curriculum and have agreed to provide “live” cases, data sets, software, and expertise both inside and outside the classroom. They look forward to meeting with and potentially hiring M.S. in Commerce students. In addition to Commerce Career Day, Employer-in-Residence, and other recruiting activities, M.S. in Commerce students will have the opportunity to interact with leading BA employers during McIntire’s Analytics Colloquium in September. 

In addition, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, the number of business analysis jobs is predicted to increase 19 percent by 2022.

What makes the M.S. in Commerce – Business Analytics different from an M.S. in Business Analytics? 

The M.S. in Commerce’s business analytics concentration provides students with a strong foundation in business, a global perspective, and analytics-specific knowledge and skillsets, areas necessary to effectively use data to gain business insight and inform strategy. Because of the Program’s integrated curriculum, students gain practical experience working in teams to solve complex, enterprise-wide problems while learning to effectively communicate insights to clients and executives. 


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