Q. How is the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program program different from an MBA program with an analytics focus?
A. The MSBA program is shorter and more focused than an MBA, targeted at individuals who know from the start that they want to pursue a career in business analytics. The program delves deeper into subjects related to data analytics and is generally more technical than the MBA program. The MSBA program also provides a capstone project experience where student teams work with companies to solve real world data-analytic problems.
Q. How is the Master of Science in Business Analytics program different from data science programs offered by computer science or engineering schools?
A. The MSBA program program provides a well-rounded skill set that combines data management capabilities and analytics methods with a deep understanding of business context, either in marketing, operations or advanced data analytics. Students are able to hone this data set in a capstone project with real-world data from a local company.
Q. Is the program STEM?
A. Yes. International students with an F-1 visa can extend their post-graduation time in the U.S. beyond the regular optional practical training (OPT) of 12 months by an additional 24 months, for a total of 36 months of OPT. This allows international students to gain additional work experience in the U.S. in their chosen field of study.
Q. How long is the Master of Science in Business Analytics program? How many units do I need to complete it?
A. The MSBA Program is an 11-month (four-quarter) full-time program. It requires eight core courses and five electives, for a total of 50 units to complete the program Elective courses are organized into three curricular tracks, however, the tracks are flexible and students can mix and match electives across the tracks. All MSBA students are expected to complete the program within four consecutive quarters during a consecutive 11-month period.
Q. What does the Admissions Committee look for in an applicant?
A. We are looking for students that want to become “data scientists” or “business analytics specialist”; i.e., professionals with the training and skill set to handle big data and gain intelligence from it in order to create business value at companies across a range of industries. We evaluate and take into account a number of criteria including test scores, academic performance, essays, resume, work experience, and letters of recommendation. An Admissions Committee will balance the diversity of education, work experience, background, and leadership potential to build a diverse and high quality classroom environment. We encourage you to apply if you have a genuine interest in the program.
Q.Do I need to have a business background to apply to the program?
A. No, but a strong quantitative background including coursework in subjects such as mathematics, computer science, economics, statistics, engineering, and physics is encouraged. Moreover, if the undergraduate training is not sufficiently quantitative, three or more years of work experience, in a field related to business analytics, is recommended.
Q. Do I need work experience to apply to the program?
A. The program will accept students with and without work experience. In either case, you would need to make a strong case in your essay why a Master of Science in Business Analytics is the right choice given your background and career aspirations.
Q. What is the capstone project?
A. Students complete a capstone project in the Winter and Spring quarters, which would be a group experiential project. The projects would be drawn from industry and would involve solving a real business analytics problem for a company, typically based in Southern California. The school is currently developing partnership opportunities with companies (e.g., IBM and Microsoft, Deloitte, Experian, Competitive Analytics) utilizing business analytics in areas that align with the curricular tracks.
Q. What are the curricular tracks?
A. Students can choose their electives to specialize in one of three tracks: data analytics; marketing analytics; and operations analytics. The tracks are flexible in that there are no strict credit requirements, and you can mix and match electives to design a custom curriculum that fits your own career goals.
Q. How does the Merage program differ from other MSBA programs?
A. The Merage program leverages its existing MBA curriculum to offer a unique program that balances technical data management and analytics subjects with a deep understanding of business context. It is unique in offering three flexible curricular tracks in data analytics, marketing analytics and operations analytics. It also offers a 6-month capstone project that allows students to work on a real-world data-analytic problem with a local company.