Frequently asked questions about the MS in Business Analytics at the Carlson School of Managment:

What is the MS in Business Analytics (MSBA) program?

The MS in Business Analytics program at the Carlson School teaches students how to extract insights with creative data analysis, and then apply the results in real business settings. Students graduate with a unique combination of data science skills and business acumen to lead in an increasingly data-driven world. Through the Carlson School MS in Business Analytics, students learn and apply key skills in three important areas:

  • Data Engineering: Creatively collect, clean, and integrate structured and unstructured data from internal and external sources
  • Exploring, Predicting, and Optimizing: Build dynamic, real-time, practical decision models and tools for managerial use
  • Communicating the Vision: Focus on core performance drivers and build infrastructure to leverage future opportunities
How can I learn more about the program?

The best way to learn more about the Carlson School’s MSBA program is to attend a Carlson School Event where you can meet our admissions staff and get answers to your questions. You can also explore our website for an overview and to watch videos of MSBA students talking about the curriculum, the Carlson Analytics Lab, faculty, and living in Minneapolis. To connect with admissions staff directly, please contact the MS Programs Office at msba@umn.edu or 612-625-5555.

How do I know if the MS in Business Analytics program is right for me? Is the MSBA program the same as MS in MIS, MBA, or MS in Data Science?

The MS in Business Analytics (MSBA) program is a good fit for your career goals if you are interested in learning:

  • How to harvest, process, and analyze data to extract important insights
  • How to leverage big data to identify business opportunities, and apply findings to take action.

MS in Management Information Systems (MS in MIS) is a broader, more general-purpose degree about various issues related to IT and IT management in businesses and organizations.  MSBA is much more specialized, focusing on specific issues of data analytics, data science, big data, etc.

MS in Data Science is a more specialized degree, specific to the technical side of working with data and focused on combining statistics, computing systems, and data-driven applications. The degree focuses on the development of new methods for data science. MSBA has broader business function, employing some data science techniques in combination with business application.

Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a broader, more general-purpose degree about various issues related to business and management, covering areas such as accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, and operations in a manner most relevant to management analysis and strategy. Visit the Carlson School’s MBA website to learn more. MSBA is much more specialized, focusing on specific issues of data analytics, data science, big data, etc.

Are there dual degree programs offered with the MS in Business Analytics?

The Carlson School of Management does offer an MBA/MSBA dual degree program

What sort of careers can MS in Business Analytics graduates expect to enter?

MSBA graduates typically have job titles such as Data Analyst, Data Scientist Analyst, Business Analyst, Digital Analyst, Senior Analyst, etc. The careers page highlights information about starting salary, location, and employers of past graduates.

What is the difference between the full-time and part-time MSBA programs?

The full-time MSBA program is a rigorous one-year program designed for recent college graduates and early career professionals who wish to study full time. The program begins in June and ends in May, with classes held during the day Monday through Thursday and mandatory workshops/events on Fridays.

With classes held in the evenings, the part-time MSBA program offers the flexibility that working professionals need to complete a graduate degree while working full-time. The program begins in fall (August or September) with classes held weekday evenings and some limited online offerings. International students who require an F-1 visa are not eligible for the part-time version of the program.

Curriculum and content is very similar across both the full-time and part-time program formats, with both programs requiring completion of 45 credits. The two core business courses in the full-time MSBA program are predetermined, whereas the part-time MSBA program has an assortment of core business courses to choose from to satisfy this requirement. The full-time program has a 6 credit experiential learning course, whereas the part-time program has a 3 credit math fundamentals course and a 3 credit capstone project.

Can I work while completing the full-time MSBA program?

We generally do not recommend that students work while enrolled in the full-time MS in Business Analytics program. Student have a rigorous academic schedule and will be taking 15 credits every semester, so we do not believe students will have time to work in addition to the heavy course load and time constraints. 

How long is the program? Can I change the duration of the program to complete it in more or less time?

The full-time MSBA program is a one-year (12 month) program beginning in June and ending in May. The part-time MSBA program is a three-year program beginning in August/September. Both MSBA programs have structured lockstep curriculum and are based on a cohort format. As such, there is no option to change the duration of either program.

Is the MS in Business Analytics program STEM certified? Do students qualify for OPT or CPT?

The MS in Business Analytics program is a STEM-designated degree program. STEM-designated programs are those selected by the U.S. Customs & Immigration Services as providing an in-depth curriculum in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Students graduating from a STEM-designated program have an additional 24 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT), totaling 36 months beyond graduation. Please visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website for up to date information about OPT.

The MS in Business Analytics program does not authorize CPT (Curricular Practical Training) during completion of the program since CPT requires students to be enrolled in the program for at least a year.

What are the programming languages used in the program?

The MSBA programs uses Python and R.

What elective courses are available? Can I specialize or concentrate my studies in a specific area?

Both the full-time and part-time MSBA programs have a structured, lockstep curriculum and are based on a cohort format. The two core business courses in the full-time MSBA program are predetermined, whereas the part-time MSBA program has an assortment of core business courses to choose from to satisfy this requirement. Beyond that, there is no elective coursework and no option to specialize further within the program.

What is the Experiential Learning Project (ELP) in the Carlson Analytics Lab?

Experiential learning projects are part of the full-time MSBA program, taking place during spring semester and unfolding over 14 weeks. Working in teams of four to six, MSBA students work directly with their partner companies to derive business value from data analytics. Advised by faculty and staff members, students run their own projects from start to finish, assessing needs and devising project-specific approaches to the work. Students finish their MS in Business Analytics degree with real work experience, making them very attractive to potential employers. Watch student videos about the Carlson Analytics Lab and learn more about past projects with Sun Country Airlines and the Mall of America.

Are there opportunities for international study or study abroad in the MSBA program?

International study or study abroad is not offered as part of the MSBA program structure or curriculum.

What are the admissions requirements?

Full details regarding admissions and application requirements are available on this website.

The admissions committee will conduct a holistic review by considering your past academic performance (transcripts for any post-secondary coursework and GPA), standardized test scores, work experience and current resume, personal statement, and letters of recommendation.

We do not have minimum requirement for GPA, GMAT, or GRE scores. Our current averages are as follows: GMAT 690, GRE 318, GPA 3.58. We ask that students have above 80th percentile in quantitative section of GMAT and GRE.

How can I find more information about the GMAT or GRE?

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are standardized computer-adaptive test used by schools to help assess the qualifications of applicants for advanced study in business or management. They measure basic verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills. This is not the same as an English language proficiency assessment test (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.).

Prospective students should plan to take the GMAT or GRE before the application due date in order to meet the application deadline. We recommend taking the GMAT or GRE at least two to four weeks prior to the application date to ensure timely review of your application. The admissions committee considers only your highest GMAT or GRE score when reviewing your application. No preference is given to one exam or the other – the GMAT or GRE are considered equally.

The Carlson School’s full-time MSBA program requires every applicant to take either the GMAT or GRE. Our current averages are as follows: GMAT 690 and GRE 318. We ask that students have above 80th percentile in quantitative section of GMAT and GRE.

The Carlson School’s part-time MSBA program requires either the GMAT or GRE except in certain circumstances where a GMAT/GRE waiver may be applied for to fulfill this requirement. A waiver may be considered if the applicant has a minimum of three years full-time work experience in business analytics or related field (not including internships) and a demonstrated history of professional excellence. To be considered for the waiver, please submit the GMAT/GRE Waiver Policy request form.

I am from a country where English is the language of instruction, do I need the TOEFL/IELTS? Can I be waived of the TOEFL/IELTS if my undergraduate education was in the United States?

If English is not your first language, you must take the TOEFL or IELTS exam. We accept scores from both of these exams; it is not necessary to take more than one. Scores must be less than 2 years old when you apply. Applicants from certain English-speaking countries and regions may not need to take a proficiency exam. To determine if your country is included, please see the TOEFL Exemption list PDF document for details.

Applicants who have completed 24 quarter credits or 16 semester credits (within the past 24 months) in residence as a full-time student at a recognized institution of higher learning in the United States (or other English-speaking country) before entering the University of Minnesota are automatically exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement. If this is the case, simply leave the TOEFL and IELTS sections of the online application blank.

Are official academic transcripts and credential evaluations required?

Transcripts for each institution of higher learning from which you have earned credit must be submitted with your online application (this includes partial or incomplete transcripts for all higher education courses). We allow for unofficial transcripts or academic records to be uploaded directly to the ApplyYourself online application. Non-English transcripts must be accompanied by an English translation. We do not require credential evaluations such as WES evaluations. If admitted, you must submit official transcripts or academic records prior to your enrollment at the University of Minnesota.

Do you require an admissions interview?

Admission interviews are by invitation only. Not all applicants will be interviewed. Interviews may be conducted on campus or via Skype. The interview is approximately 30 minutes in length and aimed at better understanding a candidate’s academic and professional background. You should treat the interview as you would a job interview. Appropriate attire is business professional. We do not provide any additional information regarding interview content.

What are the application deadlines and when can I expect to receive an admission decision?

Current application deadlines can be found on our website. Deadlines that occur on a holiday or weekend will be extended through the next business day.

Applications are reviewed in batches after each deadline has passed. Applications submitted in between rounds will not be reviewed until the next deadline has passed. After each deadline, applicants can expect to receive an admission decision within approximately two months.

Early application is highly recommended in order to ensure a timely review of your application, and for competitive scholarship consideration in the full-time MSBA program. Both the full-time and part-time MSBA programs have limited space and may fill during the final application rounds.

When do the programs start? My undergraduate program doesn’t end until June. Can I enroll in the full-time MSBA program?

Admission for the full-time MSBA program is only offered for the summer semester (beginning in June) and does not offer intake for fall or spring term. Required orientation takes place the week before classes officially start in early June. All students are required to report to campus on the first day of orientation.

If your undergraduate program finishes in time for you to report to campus on the required orientation date, you are eligible to submit an application for enrollment in the full-time MSBA program for that year. We will work with you directly regarding official academic transcripts and certification of degree completion.

Admission for the part-time MSBA program is only offered for the fall semester (beginning August or June) and does not offer intake for spring or summer term.

Does my undergraduate degree or work experience need to be in computer science or business?

You are not required to have an undergraduate degree, coursework, or work experience in computer science or business. As you can see in our full-time MSBA class profile, many of our students come from a computer science, engineering, math & statistics, or business undergraduate or professional background with 10-20% of student backgrounds in a wide variety of disciplines and functional areas (such as communications, biology, education, history, political science, etc.).

What are the program prerequisites?

The MS in Business Analytics program is for recent graduates and early-career professionals with analytical backgrounds. Ideal candidates should meet the following criteria:

  • Recently completed undergraduate study in economics, mathematics, engineering, business, computer science, statistics, or related field is strongly recommended
  • Demonstrates aptitude for excelling in a demanding academic setting
  • Demonstrated proficiency in computer programming is required (programming languages that satisfy the requirement: Python, R, C, C++, C#, VB, Java, Pascal, and Fortran)
  • At least one-semester college level calculus course with a grade "C" or better required
  • Work experience is not required, but strongly preferred
I have not taken calculus or do not have computer programming experience. Can I still apply?

At least one-semester college level calculus course with a grade "C" or better required. There is no exemption to this requirement. Applicants who did not complete this requirement as part of their past undergraduate or graduate education should take a semester-long calculus course (typically Calculus I) at an accredited college or university prior to submitting their application. An online course through Coursera or MOOC does not satisfy this requirement. Short Calculus or Pre-Calculus do not satisfy this requirement.

Demonstrated proficiency in computer programming is required. Programming languages that satisfy the requirement are Python, R, C, C++, C#, VB, Java, Pascal, and Fortran. This can be demonstrated one of three ways: through formal education via completion of programming coursework as an undergraduate or graduate student, through professional experience using computer programming in your work environment and detailed on your resume, or through completion of online coursework or certification in computer programming.

The calculus and computer programming prerequisites must be completed before the time of application.

Can my full-time MSBA application also be considered for a different program (MBA, MS Finance, etc.)?

A separate application is required for each program. Please contact the specific program or visit their website for additional information about submitting an application. Applications from other programs cannot be considered for the full-time MSBA program.

Are letters of recommendation required with my application? Do these need to come from my supervisor, professor, etc.?

We require three letters of recommendations for application to the MS in Business Analytics (MSBA) program. These letters can come from any professional reference who can speak to your academic and/or professional abilities. If you are currently working, we recommend at least one letter of recommendation come from a supervisor.

When applying to the MSBA program, please enter your recommenders’ information on the Recommendations page to give your recommenders access to the recommendations system. Your recommenders are then prompted via email to complete an online form and upload their letter of recommendation. Applicants do not have the ability to upload recommendation documents; do not send your recommendations directly to the program office. Recommendation documents must come directly from recommenders through the recommendations system.

Do you offer any form of conditional admission?

We do not offer conditional admission to the MS in Business Analytics program. All admission requirements must be met at the time of application for admission consideration.

Can the application fee be waived?

All applicants for the MS in Business Analytics program are required to submit an application fee. The application fee cannot be waived nor deferred, and is non-refundable.

What is the cost of the program – tuition, fees, etc.? Are MS in Business Analytics students eligible for scholarships and financial aid?

Tuition, fees, and financial aid information can be found on our website. The Carlson School and the University of Minnesota award a limited number of academic merit-based scholarships. Scholarship consideration is extremely competitive. No special application is required for these scholarships.

I have a three year bachelor’s degree from India. Am I eligible for admission?

To be considered for admission, the MS in Business Analytics program requires a first university degree that is an equivalent to a 4-year U.S. bachelor's degree. Students with a 3-year degree from India do not satisfy this minimum requirement and must complete an additional year of post-baccalaureate study before submitting an application to the program.

If a student is unsure whether their degree is an equivalent to a 4-year U.S. bachelor’s degree they should email their transcripts and proof of degree to the Office of Graduate Admissions for review. Their email is gsquest@umn.edu.

What student clubs and organizations are available to full-time MSBA students?

Full-time MS in Business Analytics students have the option to participate in any of the full-time MBA clubs and organizations. A full list can be found on the MBA Clubs & Organizations website. These clubs host events that include anything from industry speakers and site visits, camping, ping-pong tournaments, formal events, and happy hours. There is an annual membership fee as part of opting into these clubs. 

What housing is available to graduate students?

Graduate students at the University of Minnesota have a variety of housing options, including on-campus and off-campus accommodations. Most of our students choose to pursue housing off-campus. Visit the Housing & Residential Life website to learn more about on-campus graduate student housing.

Can I apply for a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Graduate Assistant (GA) position during the program?

The MSBA program does not offer graduate or teaching assistantships. Because students have a rigorous academic schedule and take 15 credits every semester, we do not believe they will have time to commit to these type of assignments. 

Can I complete an internship as part of the full-time MSBA program?

The full-time MSBA program does not have an internship built into the curriculum. Instead, students complete an experiential learning project during spring semester over 14 weeks. Working in teams of four to six, MSBA students work directly with their partner companies to derive business value from data analytics. Advised by faculty and staff members, students run their own projects from start to finish, assessing needs and devising project-specific approaches to the work. Students finish their MS in Business Analytics degree with real work experience, making them very attractive to potential employers. Visit our website to watch student videos about the Carlson Analytics Lab and learn more about past projects with Sun Country Airlines and the Mall of America.

 

Do students have access to career services and job search support?

Information about career services available to our students can be found on our website. In addition, the full-time MSBA job placement report highlights information about starting salary, location, and employers of past graduates. 

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