How Do I Earn an MS in Business Intelligence?

C. Mitchell
C. Mitchell
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

In order to earn a master's of science (MS) in business intelligence, you must enroll in and complete a university program that is designed exclusively for the study of business sales, statistics, and data analysis. Receipt of an undergraduate degree is almost always a prerequisite. Business intelligence is a very nuanced field, and as such, dedicated master’s degree programs are relatively rare. Finding a school that offers an MS in business intelligence can take a bit of research.

Business intelligence, which is often abbreviated simply as “BI,” involves using computer programs and other technology to analyze, study, and predict business trends. It is taught in a broad sense in most business administration courses. People who want to work as business intelligence officers, or who want to help companies maximize profits and efficiency, often seek to emphasize BI in their studies. The MS in business intelligence degree is designed for this kind of student.

MS in BI programs are relatively rare. Students in master's of business administration, or MBA, programs at business school can often specialize in business intelligence, but this is not the same as actually getting a degree in BI. The first thing you will need to do to is find a list of schools that offer the program.

Many undergraduate career counseling offices have information on available programs, or can at least provide you with the resources for locating programs on your own. Even if you are no longer in school, your alma mater may still be able to provide you with this information. Most colleges and universities offer career counseling services to alumni as well as enrolled students.

Identifying appropriate programs is one of the hardest parts of earning an MS in business intelligence. Most are offered on school campuses, usually through the business school. The majority of these are full-time, but many are part-time or evening based, as well.

If you are hoping to continue working while earning your degree, you will need to look for programs geared towards part-time professional students. Many of these programs are offered online. Full-time programs can usually be completed in about two years, while part-time programs can take much longer, depending on course load.

Once you have identified a handful of MS in business intelligence programs, you will need to evaluate their admissions criteria. Most MS in business intelligence programs require lengthy applications, often including letters of reference, undergraduate transcripts, personal essays, and GMAT® or GRE® scores. You will need to be sure that you have all of this information together well before the application deadline.

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