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The message is clear. Your MBA is incomplete unless you throw in a bit of Business Analytics into it.
Less than a month back, McKinsey advertised global positions for MBA graduates (Marketing and Finance) who understand the science behind decision making. In other words, the company was looking for professionals who understood analytical tools and had familiarity with concepts of data science, in other words, Business Analytics professionals.
A Business Analyst typically uses tools like R to spot trends, manage a reporting dashboard and ensure that data is presented in a personalized, meaningful manner for consumption by the business and IT departments of an organization. Today, this is an integral skill that is expected from MBA degree holders. According to KPMG, MBA holders need to be technical enough to speak the language of data science, and also need to know how to use data to solve business problems and deliver results.
The role of a Business Analyst involves researching and extracting valuable information from data sources to explain business performance (present and future). A Business Analyst also determines the right approach to improve the business.
Business Analysts come with domain expertise but limited statistical abilities. This gap is filled by Data Scientists who are advanced statisticians.
A Data Scientist develops and deploys algorithms using statistical programming that support the Business Analyst’s plans. A Data Scientist automates the Data Analyst’s plans and models to help the business enhance output and performance.
For MBA holders, specifically from Finance and Marketing backgrounds, having familiarity with basic analytics and statistics is a must. This can range from advanced knowledge of Excel to skills around tools like R and SPSS. An overview of visualization tools like Tableau will be of great help. Having said that, the role of a Business Analyst is fast changing and the lines between a Business Analyst and Data Scientist are blurring, day by day.
A traditional Business Analyst job description was more focused around using a system or a set of systems to derive data and present to the Business. Today, they have the opportunity to shift towards the Tech side by learning the requisite skills to create advanced algorithms, and understand concepts of Regression and Modelling.
With experience, a Business Analyst with an inclination towards the Tech side of things, and a base in statistics and maths, can unlock a Data Science career which today, is one of the most lucrative ones in the industry.
With experts predicting that 40 zetabytes of data will be in existence by 2020, careers hinging on analytics will only shoot through the roof. Shortage of skilled professionals in a world which is increasingly turning to data for decision making has also led to the huge demand for Business Analysts and Data Scientists in start-ups as well as well-established companies.
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