Published On: Fri, Feb 7th, 2020

Is a Degree in Business Intelligence Right for You?

Photo by Adeolu Eletu/ Unsplash

By Contributing Author

A degree in business intelligence is something that many students or people returning to study might think is beyond them, but it really isn’t the case.

It’s a course and a career that offers much to the individual who has both an interest in learning the fundamentals of business management and data analysis.

So, what skills are needed and how do you even think about getting into this field? We’ll explore this below and outline information that will help you determine whether a degree in business intelligence is right for you.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence is an all-encompassing area of online data analysis which has its roots in two very separate, but distinct areas: computer science and business strategy.

Why would you want to opt to take an MBA in business intelligence? Let’s take a look at all the reasons to go this route as well as get some insight into the skillset you’ll need.

Why Opt for an MBA in Business Intelligence?

Opting to enrol on an MBA in business intelligence course is something that many people will decide to embark upon and it’s a decision they won’t regret as it affords them many opportunities they could otherwise have missed out on.

There are many who think that spending sums of money on education isn’t worth it, but taking part in an MBA course will open up a wide variety of jobs in a huge array of industries. Here are the main reasons you should opt for this kind of course.

Offers a Flexible Way of Working

This is a varied field to be working in and it offers a lot of scope and areas in which you can choose to focus on. This means there’s a good deal of career flexibility without a real need to shift your skillset or your current expertise.

For instance, if you already enjoy computer science and programming and data, but have missed face-to-face human interactions as part of your day-to-day work, you can decide to take work in that arena.

Conversely, if you would rather focus on delving into the much more technical aspect of the role and don’t relish meetings or face-to-face interactions so much, you can choose instead to work on a more individual basis.

A Wealth of Work Choices After You Graduate

Business intelligence degrees mean that you can choose to work in very specific areas or niches of work in industries you might not have thought of. For instance, you might want to work within healthcare reform using your data and online experience in order to make hospitals or doctors’ practices run a lot more smoothly.

Alternatively, if you prefer different aspects of IT such as systems admin, you could work with smaller companies across a broader range of subject matters. As an example, you could be the system admin tech who everyone turns to for advice when they need it (on business matters only, of course!)

Healthy Earnings are Very Possible

While all the above may sound great, you’ll also want to know how much you could potentially earn. One reason for taking a business intelligence degree is how positive its future is and how much scope there is for advancement. There is also the added bonus of a decent salary with the right qualifications and the right opportunities.

The US Bureau of Labor estimates that by 2026, demand for people with a business intelligence degree will be up by as much as fourteen percent. This actually makes it a very wise career move for the short and long term prospects it offers.

Become More Business Aware

Students who take MBAs in business intelligence are often given the chance to gain a lot of free insight and business tips from all the entrepreneurs they meet. You could have the same opportunities by opting to study too.

Bring New Life to an Old Career

It may seem like small fry, but those three letters after your name following all those years of study can open more doors than you think.

Many businesses require staff with MBAs these days, not least those who also have business intelligence qualifications too. Not only does it give them a boost, but it also means they’re impressing the people they deal with by making sure they hire competent, highly qualified staff.

Once you gain a job with a degree such as this, it’s up to you to capitalize and trade on that. You can start to utilize all the skills gained from studying and put them into practical use. As a graduate, you’ll be a strategy specialist and an adept problem solver.

Rebrand Yourself

Are you working in a sector that you’ve grown tired of? Would you like to make a change? Perhaps you, too, would like to get more involved in education, or even health, and really make a difference to people’s lives.

Studying a course like this will give you the clarity you need and it will also give you a good idea of the industry you can make a difference in. It doesn’t matter how big or small that may be. You may want to start your own charitable fund, your own education enterprise, or simply carry on in the same industry you’ve always worked in — but you can then start to make changes from a newer angle. An MBA will give you all these opportunities and more.

What Skills Do You Need to Succeed in Business Intelligence?

So, now that we’ve covered the reasons to pursue this type of course, what skills does the industry require? Let’s take a look.

Depending on whether you want to be a front-end professional or take more of a back-end approach to your work, it does vary. Those who want to work in the latter will need to think of their skillset as being more technical in nature and relating to business intelligence platforms, such as data visualization tools.

Those who want to work in the front end will find their work is geared more towards assimilating and presenting data to others. It doesn’t matter which choice you opt to take, there is always the scope to change should you find that one suits you more than another — and there are no hard and fast rules.

It could also be that you decide to take on a mixture of both roles, especially if you work at a small to medium business. However, whatever career path you do choose, the following skills are ones you’ll definitely need since they are foundational to the subject area.

  1. SQL Programming

SQL is a programming language that is used a lot in business intelligence. Even as a front-end operator, you’ll need to be skilled in SQL and know how to use it.

  1. Data Analysis

Data helps most business intelligence specialists make better decisions. You’ll need to be good at assimilating and collecting a lot of different sources of information and making successful conclusions based on them.

  1. Problem Solving

Once you have the data, what do you do with it? It needs to be used to solve problems and create workable strategies that can be implemented now and in the future. As an example, you could be the person in the team who can offer real insight into KPIs that will often need to be drafted and presented to other business leaders in meetings.

  1. Good Insider Knowledge

You’ll need to learn on the job as most people do, but you will also need to have some insider knowledge of the industry so you can help make changes, solve problems and keep ahead of trends to help with business growth.

  1. Solid Communicator

You’ll need to be a solid and effective communicator to make sure that any findings you make can be discussed effectively with professionals you work with who are in the same industry, and also in other fields.

If you’re working more in the back-end, you’ll need to communicate less, but should still make sure you’re able to articulate yourself professionally and be able to explain technical concepts to non-technical people on the team!

  1. Solid Eye for Detail

Business intelligence careers require people who are noted for their attention to detail. Sometimes you’ll need to work with the tiniest bit of information and be able to turn it into an actionable plan.

Forward thinking is essential as planning for the future. Looking at the small print and being able to analyze and look for potential pitfalls is also a must.

  1. Business Acumen

Last, but by no means least, is business acumen. To have any chance of success in a career like this you’ll need to have the ability to get to the heart of your company’s business model to gain maximum value from the key performance indicators that have been put in place. Then you can make strategic decisions that will help to keep the company afloat not only on a daily basis, but long term too.

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