What Degree Do You Need to Be a Business or Management Analyst?
Business and management analysts find ways to make an organization more efficient. There are several different types of specializations in this area; some might specialize in inventory management, technical solutions, staffing, HR, or other aspects of operations.
Business analysts typically interact with both business stakeholders and technical teams to assure the delivery of technical solutions that advance the needs of the business. That often requires strong communication skills as well as business savvy—in order to determine what items on stakeholder wishlists will actually help the business reach its goals, and which might be inefficient or not cost-effective. Business analysts also need strong technical skill, and often serve as a “translator”
between internal divisions and business units and the IT function.
These types of analysts may work as independent consultants or for a specific company. There are a variety of types of degrees you might use to get started as a management or business analyst. These include:
A Bachelor’s degree
A bachelor’s degree in management or business analysis is the typical entry-level requirement. While a degree focused in on business or management analysis is helpful, these are not common degrees—and a degree in business, technology, or the operational area in which you intend to specialize will also work.
A Masters degree
While a bachelor’s degree is the lowest entry-level requirement, more and more employers are starting to look for masters degrees in this area. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook*, 28% of management analysts had a masters degree as of 2010. While it’s difficult to find a masters degree specifically in management or business analysis, it’s possible to enter the field with a degree in accounting, economics, statistics, management, IT, or engineering—the credential will vary depending on where you specialize.
A very specialized type of masters degree that focuses in business, there are many online MBA programs these days that focus on specific areas of study that would be useful in a business or management analysis career—particularly, for business analysts, MBA’s that focus on areas of IT. These degrees send a signal to employers that your education has a solid grounding both in the technical realm and in business—both key to a successful business analysis career.
While licensure is not required by law, you can get an industry certification through the Institute of Management Consultants USA, Inc**. There are several different levels of certifcation; the minimum requirements include at least three years of management consulting experience, at least five satisfactory client evaluations, and either Bachelor’s degree or additional hands-on experience and professional education. You must also pass a written and oral examination.
Some business and management analysts are self-employed consultants. In this capacity, it’s less essential to have a specific degree to get the work—sometimes work experience and connections are all you need to land assignments. However, it can still be useful to have at least a Bachelor’s-level degree in order to compete.
While every employer is different, many are fairly open to accredited online college degrees when hiring for business analysis positions—and some employers will pay for their staff to earn MBA- or Masters-level degrees in specialized areas such as these.
If you’re interested in a career as a business or management analyst, you’ll need at least a Bachelor’s degree to be competitive—although a Masters-level or MBA degree will give you an edge over other applicants. The professional certification is particularly rigorous, and highly recognized in the industry. Do some research to determine the best option for you—and you should be able to get a strong start in this area.
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