Gear Up for a New Career with an Online Business Intelligence and Analysis Degree

June 3rd, 2014 by

Business AnalystFor many aspiring students, business is a desirable industry to be a part of. With a number of lucrative salaries, incredible versatility between one career and the next and the potential to travel or meet interesting people, it is certainly easy to see the appeal of a business career.

With so many options, however, knowing which area of business to focus on, and which degree to earn, it not always as easy. One increasingly popular option is the business intelligence and analysis degree.

Find out more about this degree option, what it includes, whether you are the right candidate for the field, potential career opportunities after graduation and the benefits of earning an online business intelligence and analysis degree.

Business Intelligence and Analysis: What Is It?

The first step in determining whether this degree is right for your future should be understanding what business intelligence and analysis means as a whole and what it can mean for you.

This field focuses on making sense of the often overwhelming amount of data collected by a typical business. The study combines tech-savvy with managerial skills, and the end result of the degree is students who can analyze collected data and then implement in within the business to improve productivity, address recruitment concerns or increase profits.

Types of Degrees Available in the Field

There are three major degree options that you can choose from in the field of business intelligence and analysis.

The first is the associate degree, a two-year program that introduces students to the key concepts of analyzing data. The associate degree can prepare you for entry-level careers, but it is usually not sufficient for managerial positions within most businesses.

The second option is the bachelor’s degree, a four-year undergraduate option that is the minimum requirement for most hiring managers when selecting new recruits for their staff.

Finally, the third option is the master’s degree. This is a graduate degree that follows the bachelor’s degree, and it typically takes students between one and two years to complete.

This master’s degree allows students to focus on a particular specialty in the field of business intelligence and analysis, and it often helps propel them to career advancement in their field.

What Subjects are Typically Included in the Degree Program

As is typical with most degree programs, the exact courses you might find on your syllabus will vary from college to college and even from professor to professor based on their individual preferences.

For the most part, however, this degree places a heavy emphasis on using databases to procure relevant information and how to transfer that information from data on a screen into usable strategy for the business.

To reach that end, expect courses with titles like managerial applications of business intelligence, how to interpret big data, operations strategy, informed decision-making and database concepts.

Prerequisites for Degree Enrollment

Before you can begin earning your degree online or through a traditional college campus, you will need to meet the school’s prerequisites, formally apply, be accepted and then enroll into the program of your choosing, which in this case might be a bachelor’s degree in business intelligence and analysis.

While the prerequisites for applicant acceptance vary from college to college, they almost always start with the requirement that applicants have a high school diploma or the equivalent of a general education degree.

Additionally, those seeking a bachelor’s degree might be expected to have suitable SAT or ACT scores, a specific grade point average on a 4.0 scale, a written application essay detailing their interest in this degree program and references from employers or teachers who can attest to your best qualities.

Those who want to earn a master’s degree, on the other hand, will need to have their bachelor’s degree completed, and in many cases they will also need minimum scores on the GRE, or Graduate Record Examination.

Choosing Between Online and Traditional Campus Degrees

Once you have made up your mind to pursue the field of business intelligence and analysis, and you have selected the level of degree you want to earn, you’ll have one more decision to make.

College degrees are now commonly earned online, rather than just on traditional college campuses, which means that you have the option of either type of education. For many students, the benefits of attending an accredited online college are numerous.

The course materials and often the teaching staff are identical to what you might find on campus, but the flexibility of course completion and convenience of online study in unmatched.

You can watch lectures streaming live in real time, or you can watch the recorded versions later on when you have more time in your schedule. Read through texts at your own pace, participate in online classroom discussions with your peers and complete online examinations from the comfort of your own living room.

As long as you have access to a computer and an Internet connection, you can earn an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree in business intelligence and analysis without ever stepping foot onto an actual college campus.

Attributes Found Among Successful Business Analysts

Having a degree is the first step in becoming a business analyst, but there are a number of additional traits that can help you succeed in this field.

Many of the most successful business intelligence analysts have a background in computer science, or they are at the very least familiar with most basic computer applications, spreadsheets and software programs.

While you will cover the study of databases and information harvesting during your degree, starting as a complete beginner may not be easy.

Other skills that are important to have as a business intelligence analyst include excellent communication skills, the ability to think critically in order to solve problems and the ability to work alone or as a part of a larger team when necessary.

Exploring Career Potential in Business Intelligence and Analysis

Graduating with either an undergraduate or a graduate degree in business intelligence and analysis makes you eligible for a number of different careers across several industries.

The majority of graduates will go on to become data analysts or business intelligence analysts for large multinational finance or retail corporations. However, that is not the only use for your skills and education. Graduates are often happy to work in other field where data needs to be analyzed, which could include education, politics or even law enforcement.

The salary for those who eventually become management analysts can be quite lucrative, with median pay per year coming in around $78,600  and only rising with additional experience and education.

If you see yourself as a business or management analyst, then the first step toward fulfilling your career goals will be earning the right degree.

Thanks to programs offered through colleges and universities listed at, even the busiest students can fit a business intelligence and analysis degree into their schedule by taking classes and even exams from the comfort of their own home.

About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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