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MS in Business Analytics (MSBA) vs MBA: Pros and Cons

MSBA (Business Analytics) vs MBAAn MBA isn’t the only masters-level degree out there; there are plenty to choose between. The right one for you depends on your career aims, and other factors, including:

  • Course duration,
  • Programme costs; and
  • Where you hope to work after graduation.


Different types of business masters degrees

Just about everyone in the business world has heard of the Master of Business Administration, or MBA – and there’s plenty of prestige attached to it.

Most other business degrees are comparatively new, including the Masters in Finance (MiF) and the Masters in Management (MiM). You’ll find Prodigy Finance loans for these degrees, as well as MSBAs and other masters degrees that can be completed in two years or less in the business and engineering departments of top universities.

MiM and MiF degrees at a glance

Some might consider the MiM degree as a “mini-MBA”, but this is not the case. While it’s true that MiM courses in the US are often shorter than the standard two-year American MBA, the reverse is true in Europe, where the MiM usually takes two years (which is double the typical European MBA). This is true for both Essec and SDA Bocconi, which both have high ranking MBA and MIM programmes.

Typically speaking, MiM candidates don’t require the same long years of work experience as demanded by MBA programmes.

The MiF degree, on the other hand, focuses on – as you would guess – the financial side of business, not the final decision-making.

Contrary to the MiM, most MiF programmes last about a year in Europe, as you’ll find at London Business School and HEC Paris. In the US, many MiF programmes span 18 months; degrees at MIT Sloan and Carnegie Mellon University are prime examples.

Many of these programmes are geared at students without previous work experience, though at schools like Georgia Tech, internship experience is strongly preferred.

Masters in management analytics in Canada

A new rising star: MS in Business Analytics

Though the MiF and MiM are better known, thanks, in part, to the Financial Times rankings of these programmes, there are plenty of others.

One degree that’s becoming increasingly popular is the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA, or sometimes MScBA). Similar to the MiF, an MSBA focuses its attention towards processing rather than management.

These degrees are available in Europe (at schools like ESADE and Warwick Business School) as well as in the US (at UCLA Anderson, Duke University, and NYU Stern, amongst others).

The length of study does vary, with some programmes reaching 18 months (Carnegie Mellon in the US) or two years (Bocconi in Italy), though most sit around the 12 month mark (as found at ESADE, MIT Sloan, and Chicago Booth). Also read Top STEM MBA Programs

Reduced study time often translates into savings

For the most part, MSBA degrees have a lower price tag than MBAs from the same school. But, be careful; you can’t just slice the price of an MBA in half – depending on the programme, you may pay more per semester hour for an MSBA degree – or you may pay considerably less:

University (location) MBA length MBA tuition * MSBA length MSBA tuition
Amsterdam Business School 24 months (part-time) € 40,000 12 / 24 months € 21,010
ESADE Business School (Spain) 12, 15, or 18 months € 64,900 10 months € 27,500
Essec Business School (France/Singapore) 12 months € 45,000 12-16 months € 20,500
Università Bocconi (Italy) 12 months € 52,000 24 months € 26,948
Warwick Business School (UK) 12 months £ 39,000 12 months £ 27,750
Carnegie Mellon University (Pennsylvania, USA) 21 months $ 132,000 18 months $ 64,410
Duke University (North Carolina, USA) 24 months $ 136,400 10 months $ 65,975**
Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia, USA) 22 months $ 84,392 12 months $ 1,966
MIT Sloan (Massachusetts, USA) 24 months $ 148,400 12 months $ 77,350
NYU Stern (New York, USA) 24 months $ 151,700 12 months $ 61,288
Purdue University (Indiana, USA) 24 months $84,368 11 months $47, 786
UCLA Anderson School Management (California, USA) 24 months $ 119,732 13 months $ 62,579
University of Chicago (Illinois, USA) 21 months $ 144,000 12 months $ 58,160
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Illinois, USA) 24 months $83,276 10 months $ 44,582
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Minnesota, USA) 24 months $ 97,872 12 months $ 60,300
University of Texas at Austin (Texas, USA) 24 months $ 109,000 10 months $48,000

* For US universities, the current one-year tuition cost was doubled to account for the second year and may not be an accurate two-year tuition cost as second year costs have not yet been released in most cases.
** Add $32,500 if you wish to have the (optional) certificate of research to accompany your degree.

Duration and cost aren’t the only differences between MBAs and MSBAs

Besides the obvious difference that a degree in business analytics will cover different ground than one in business administration, as well as the duration and cost of such degrees, there are a few more difference you should really consider if you’re wavering between the two:

  • MBAs often require five to seven years of work experience; MSBA programmes often don’t require work experience – and many suggest alternative courses if you have five or more years of experience.
  • As a result, candidates are usually much younger, often in their young twenties.


What isn’t so obvious is the possible benefit of the extended three-year OPT visa (read this) for MSBA programmes in the US.

However, you shouldn’t make the mistake of believing every degree qualifies just because it’s a Masters of Science. While only a few MiM and MiF programmes qualify, most MSBA degrees do. That said, if it’s your intention to take advantage of this benefit, you must check in advance.

Another outcome which requires a little more clarity is post-grad salary. MBAs expect (and often achieve) extraordinary salary growth – sometimes as much as 100% or more after receiving their degree. MSBAs may – or may not – achieve these figures.

At the moment, it’s tough to tell; these programmes are relatively new and the data needed to make predictions isn’t readily available (nor uniformly calculated between programmes).

What is available are salary increases for MiM and MiF programmes that have made it to the Financial Times ranking:

University MBA rank Salary increase MiM rank Salary increase MiF rank Salary increase
Edhec Business School 75 79% 16 47% 1* 79%
London Business School 4 109% 4 63% 1** 72%
University of St Gallen 60 64% 1 67% 10 42%
Warwick Business School 41 77% 21 84% 9 104%

*1st position on the MIF pre-experience ranking.
**1st position on the MIF post-experience ranking.
If you’re wondering why there aren’t more American schools on these lists, it all boils down to the age of the programme; the Financial Times doesn’t look at programmes under five years old (which should tell you just how new these degrees are).

However, a few programmes do provide salary outcomes – especially if they’re housed in the business school (rather than engineering which is often the key determiner of whether it qualifies for the extended OPT visa).

Your best bet is always to do that research and run your figures through the Prodigy Finance calculator to determine ROI.
Luckily, the schools accepting Prodigy Finance loans do so for just about every programme that can be completed within two years – so you may just find that financing your degree is actually easier than choosing the right one for you.Read Jobs after MS in Business Analytics: Salary statistics and Career opportunities

Rishabh GoelAuthor Bio: Rishabh Goel is Country Manager for India at Prodigy Finance. He studied Economics & Engineering at BITS and did his Masters in Management at London Business School. He has helped Indians excel at GMAT/GRE and mentored students to attend top schools globally.

This article is part of CrystalConnect, an outreach initiative by MBA Crystal Ball.

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7 thoughts on “MS in Business Analytics (MSBA) vs MBA: Pros and Cons”

  1. I just completed my BCA in 2018 can I directly pursue MS in the USA after BCA?
    is BCA degree eligible to do ms in the USA or should I complete MCA here in India and then decide about MS in the USA
    please reply

  2. Hi Im riffat from Pakistan i have done MBA in Human resource 3.5 years with Cgpa 3.8/4. Is there any scholorship that i can avail if i apply for MS in any of above mentioned universities? Kindly let me know

    • prodigy finance does not support in your country , but do verify on the site . They have provided list of countries in which they support financing to students.

  3. Hi sir
    I have completed BCA degree. Can I have eligible for MS in USA. As my eduction year is of 15 years

  4. Hi sir,

    I am a B-Tech graduate, PGDBM in Finance and having 12 years plus work ex. I am looking for Masters in Business Analytics from a school that grooms me well taking into consideration my high’s and focus areas. I have been an average (higher side) student. Looking for guidance around which schools/programs to target. Have looked extensively through the web and found few popular options like MIT Sloan, IE Spain, Melbourne Australia to name a few. However, look forward to hear from you the ones ideally to target and range of GMAT score I should target. Many thanks for your reply.

  5. Sir, Can you tell me if there is arrangements of any scholarships for MS alone? Most programs provide full scholarship for MS+PhD programmes. Please kindly shed some light


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