How Do You Get a Business Intelligence Degree?

Business IntelligenceAs Big Data continues to be an even bigger employer for professionals in every industry, those in the corporate sector are typically looking at how to get a business intelligence degree and take advantage of these new opportunities. Business intelligence is perhaps the latest addition to the Big Data world, and focuses on the aggregation, manipulation, and analysis of customer shopping habits, business investment and marketing outcomes, and other data that concerns the company’s bottom line. Though it’s a useful pursuit, it’s worth noting that specializing in this field will almost certainly require a graduate degree.

Starting Out: Major in a Business Field at the Undergraduate Level

Business intelligence is typically offered to graduate students, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start preparing for this industry as an undergraduate. The best business intelligence analysts are those who already have a background in fields like management, economics, finance, marketing, or accounting. Undergraduate programs will even require business students to take at least one computer science class and one course in management information sciences, which will help them establish context for future data roles in business intelligence. Pay specific attention to classes focusing on database administration or business information. If possible, take elective classes in these areas to create a better framework for success in business intelligence courses later.

Find a Graduate Degree Program in Business Intelligence

Typically, business intelligence is taught as part of two separate, very distinct degree programs. The first of these, an MBA concentration, is perhaps the most common. Business intelligence originally was taught as part of a single class in information and database management, but the increasingly important role of Big Data has necessitated a concentration that focuses more how to record, aggregate, and analyze data, in line with ethical and legal requirements. As an added benefit, graduates also possess an MBA, and can use their degree to advance into a large number of other roles in an organization over time.

A concentrated graduate degree in this field is also available, though it’s a rare find at most business schools. The program is typically known as a Master of Science in Database Administration and Business Information, though the exact name of the program will vary between schools. Students will not emerge with an MBA if they pursue this option, nor will they take any business-centered graduate classes. In fact, the program is more oriented toward computer science professionals and those with a significant high-tech background. As a result, classes will focus on both computer theory and business intelligence practice, and the result will be a significant specialization in databases and information analysis within a business context.

Take Advantage of a Growing Industry with a Business Intelligence Specialization

The role of Big Data in business practices is only growing more essential, since it’s able to spotlight likely consumer behaviors, opportunities for new products, sound marketing strategies, likely investment results, and much more. All of these things are beneficial to a company’s long-term strategy and bottom line, and any professional who specializes in managing this data can expect to be greeted with a strong job market and moderately high starting salaries.

Related Resource: Information Technology Jobs

Unfortunately, business intelligence courses are almost completely absence from the traditional undergraduate business programs across the country. According to Information Week, for this reason, the best way to get a business intelligence degree is to enroll in a graduate program and specialize in the field either as an MBA concentration or as a standalone pursuit.