University Launches Master’s Program Focused on Big Data

Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School will introduce a master of science in business analytics, or MSBA, program in fall 2017 in response to the enormous and growing demand for professionals with big data skills.

Companies want leaders who can turn data into insights and dollars, and business analytics is influencing a variety of functional business areas, such as operations, marketing, sales, human resources, and logistics.

Yet the United States faces a talent shortage in big data, according to research from the McKinsey Global Institute, which predicts an unmet need of as many as 190,000 professionals with deep analytical skills and 1.5 million data and analytics managers by 2018, the year that the first full-time graduates of Suffolk’s program will be ready to enter the field. The MSBA may be completed in one year of full-time study or up to two years of part-time course work.

Projected job growth

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects faster-than-average growth in jobs for management analysts – including business analysts –in coming years, as follows:

  • Management analyst — 14 percent growth
  • Market research analyst — 19 percent growth
  • Operations research analyst — 30 percent growth
  • Financial analyst — 12 percent growth

“Equipped with knowledge and practical skills of data management and business analytics, our graduates will be able to implement high-level, data-driven decisions across a wide range of industries,” said Professor Ken Hung, chair of the Information Systems and Operations Management Department, where the program is based.

“We believe that MSBA graduates should be equipped with knowledge and hands-on experience in both data management and business analytics in order to be fully prepared for their prospective careers,” said Hung.  


The Master of Business Analytics Program qualifies as a STEM–designated program. In addition to readying MSBA graduates to apply business analytics technology and methodology in their fields, the MSBA program also may serve as an avenue to a career change for STEM graduates who seek to extend and apply their quantitative and analytical abilities in business analytics. The course work also can prepare graduates for future certification in SAS, Excel and SAP.

Students may opt to concentrate in areas including:

  • Finance
  • Healthcare
  • Accounting
  • Marketing

The Business School also offers undergraduate majors and minors in business analytics.