Business Analytics

With increased digitization and reduced cost of data storage and transmission, companies and organizations are awash in data related to all aspects of their business. They are eager to use this data to gain business insights and competitive advantage.

Opportunities for business analysts have exploded as a result, with most major organizations adopting data-driven and technology-focused approaches to varying levels of sophistication. A recent Computerworld survey ranked business analytics as the second most difficult skill to find. McKinsey Global Institute reports that the United States could face a shortage of between 140,000 and 190,000 individuals who possess deep business analytic skills and an additional 1.5 million managers with the skill set to implement the results.

The growth in the field is expected to continue. According to CIO’s “2021 State of the CIO,” 39 percent of IT leaders plan to spend more on business analytics in 2021 than in the previous year, the highest of any category surveyed.

Glassdoor has ranked data scientist (another name for analytics) among the top 3 jobs in America from 2016 to 2021, with four years at No. 1. This reflects the high salary, job satisfaction and number of job openings in data science/analytics. Glassdoor lists the median salary for data scientists as $113,736 in 2021.

With such widespread adoption, analytics positions are available in most industries, including retail, marketing, finance, health care, accounting, supply chain, operations, IT and more.

Where is Business Analytics used?

Business Analytics approaches are used wherever data can be used to inform and improve business decisions. Below are just a few examples.

  • Analytics plays an important role in customer selection and loyalty building. For example, at Harrah’s, Capital One, and Barclay, analytics is used to identify customers with the greatest profit potential, retain their loyalty, and increase the likelihood that they will want to buy the products and services.
  • In sports, analytics has been used by the New England Patriots, Oakland A’s, and Boston Red Sox to select the best player for a position, at a particular compensation level.
  • Honda and Intel both use analytics to detect quality problems early and minimize them to improve product and service quality.
  • Verizon uses analytics to improve business understanding of the drivers of financial performance and the impact on non-financial factors.
  • Companies like Amazon and Yahoo have used analytics in R&D to improve quality and efficacy of products and services.
  • Healthcare providers like Johns Hopkins Medicine have adopted big data analytics to target diagnostic errors to improve quality of care.

The Business Analytics Major

The Business Analytics major will prepare you for professional careers working with data, with an emphasis on the extraction of business meaning from data. Our program is not targeted to any one industry; rather, it provides a flexible, practical skillset that can be applied widely.

As a Business Analytics major, you will learn:

  • How to think carefully and systematically about how data can improve the effectiveness of business decisions
  • How structured and unstructured data is generated, stored, accessed, transformed and ethically used, and how data security is maintained
  • How to use descriptive analytics methods and visualizations to inform operational and strategic business decision-making.
  • How to build predictive analytics models and apply machine learning including state of-the-art deep learning methods to solve business problems
  • How to implement the various analytical models, techniques and visualizations in software programs, such as Python, R, SQL and Tableau through hands-on class work, projects and case studies based on realistic scenarios and data
  • How to interpret results of analytics approaches and explain their business implications clearly, concisely, and without using jargon, to business stakeholders
  • How actual real-world analytics implementations create business impact, through presentations by industry analytics professionals, and participation in analytics projects through the Center for Organizational Analytics.
  • How to work effectively, both as an individual or as a member of a team

Degree Requirements

Business Analytics Degree Requirements & Courses

For more information about the Business Analytics major, contact Dr. Manoj Chari at or Dr. Long Xia at

Perspectives on Business Analytics



The above videos were produced by Elon management students.