An Online MBA Specializing in Data Analytics and Decision Making

MBA@UNC's Data Analytics and Decision Making concentration is designed for students who want to learn how to make strategic business decisions based on the use of data.

Data Analytics and Decision Making students will work with experienced faculty members to develop expertise and essential skills in this fast-growing field.

The curriculum is designed to help students:

  • Develop critical data analysis skills
  • Communicate data-driven strategies throughout their organizations
  • Understand the role of analytical techniques
  • Demonstrate the value of analytics in real-world contexts

“Two words: greater opportunity. What I learn in class today, I apply to my work tomorrow—from leadership skills to strategic planning. So, in addition to earning credits at school, I am also earning credit at work. I’m already a better manager, with a deeper impact on the success of my company.”

Rajiv Sridhar, Class of 2014
Director, Product – PayPal Commerce Platform

Career Outlook in Data Analytics

As technology continues to advance, analytics has become a key element of successful growth for every sector, discipline and industry.

According to a study conducted in 2017 by Burning Glass Technologies, Business-Higher Education Forum and IBM, it is estimated that by 2020, the number of positions for data and analytics talent will increase to 2.7 million.1

As a result, employers’ needs are changing.

The increase in data analysts nationwide will also lead to a greater need for professionals, especially those in managerial or leadership roles, who can draw actionable insights from data being compiled by those in data analysis roles.

Data Analytics Job Market

Data analytics professionals are in demand. Consider the projected growth rate for these analytics-focused career paths from 2018 to 2028:

Data Analytics Job Market Growth Rate
Profession Projected Growth Rate Employment Change
Management Analyst2 14% 118,300
Operations Research Analyst3 26% 28,100
Computer and Information Research Scientist4 16% 5,200

Salary Overview in Data Analytics and Decision Making

In addition to rewarding career paths, data analytics expertise can also be lucrative.

Here are a few examples of median salaries for several analytics-focused professions in 2018:

Data Analytics Job Salary Overview
Profession Median Annual Salary
Management Analyst5 $83,610
Operations Research Analyst6 $109,700
Computer and Information Research Scientist7 $118,370

Career Paths in Data Analytics and Decision Making

Students who earn an online MBA with a focus in data analytics develop the skills to thrive in a number of roles, in fields such as:

Business Intelligence

These professionals may work internally or as consultants, using data and technology to improve business processes such as productivity, output and distribution.

Data Analysis

These analysts study market conditions to help businesses make key decisions in areas such as product lines, customer targeting and price points.

Marketing/Sales Analysis

These analysts study market conditions to help businesses make key decisions in areas such as product lines, customer targeting and price points.


These individuals focus on quantitative data, applying statistical theories to collect and analyze data for many purposes, including market research, public opinion evaluations, quality control and product development.

Job Titles in Data Analytics

  • Consultant
  • Business Analyst
  • Business Intelligence Manager
  • Data Engineer
  • Information Manager
  • Marketing Analyst
  • Sales Operations Manager
  • Statistician

In-Demand Data Skills. Real-World Impact.

Request information to learn how a STEM-designated online MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler can prepare you for success in the modern workplace.

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MBA in Data Analytics vs. MS in Business Analytics

Many data-inclined professionals want to know whether they should continue their education with an MBA that specializes in data or business analytics or an M.S. in business analytics.

Though M.S. degrees and MBAs cover similar concepts and skills, there are some key differences between the two:

MBA in Data Analytics

MBA programs that focus on data analytics can provide students with broad-based business knowledge and the theoretical applications of data.

These programs, which also comprise traditional MBA competencies, are ideal for rising professionals who want to learn how to identify, evaluate and address business issues through the lens of data.

MBA degrees are widely recognized by employers, which means MBA graduates can apply their data skills across functional areas—from marketing to human resources to finance—and industries.

M.S. in Business Analytics

Master of Science programs in business analytics, on the other hand, equip students with highly specialized expertise in data analytics techniques and methodologies.

With courses that focus on practical experience and hands-on analytical skills—such as programming languages, statistics, machine learning and analytical modeling—M.S. degrees are much more technical in nature than their MBA counterparts.

These technical capabilities, while less widely applicable than those associated with MBA programs, can be ideal for professionals who are interested in working directly with data to draw insights and make decisions.

Online Data Analytics Education at UNC Kenan-Flagler

Through a targeted curriculum and a host of career-focused resources, students in the Data Analytics and Decision Making concentration will learn to make better decisions using data on behalf of modern organizations.

Coursework will also help develop the ability to view business processes, operations and relationships systematically and analytically.

Data Analytics and Decision Making Curriculum

The following data analytics and decision making courses are currently offered to MBA@UNC students. However, course offerings are subject to change, and not all electives are offered every term.

Core Courses in Data Analytics

  • Analytical Tools for Decision Making

Suggested Electives

  • Business Modeling
  • Data Analytics
  • Information for Decision-Making, Incentives and Strategy
  • Introduction to Python for Business Analytics
  • Negotiations
  • Pricing
  • Technology Strategy and Business Innovation

Featured Faculty

Our data analytics concentration is led by faculty members who have extensive experience helping businesses use data to improve essential processes.

Our faculty leverage their direct experience to lead collaborative classes and design practical coursework exercises.

Adam Mersereau

Professor of Operations

Tarun Kushwaha

Associate Professor of Marketing

Meet more faculty members

Career and Leadership Development Services

Targeted Career Search Guidance

The Career & Leadership Services team works with students one-on-one to create an individualized career management strategy designed to maximize each student’s return on their investment.

Learn more about the services available to students.

Career Fairs

The Career & Leadership Services team has exclusive access to national and specialized MBA conferences and career fairs and helps students prepare their resume or interview skills to make the most of their experience.

Student Success

MBA@UNC students have gone on to achieve success at some of the world’s leading tech companies and data-centric organizations, including:

  • Google
  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • PayPal
  • Akamai
  • Coca-Cola
  • The Hershey Company
  • Sun Products
  • Unilever

Learn to Lead with Data

Learn how UNC Kenan-Flagler’s #1–ranked, STEM-designated online MBA8 can help you advance your career in the field of data analytics by downloading our comprehensive program brochure.

2 Management Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2019)Return to footnote reference
3 Operations Research Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2019)Return to footnote reference
5 Management Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2019)Return to footnote reference
6 Operations Research Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2019)Return to footnote reference
8 UNC Kenan-Flagler's online MBA program was ranked #1 in 2021 by U.S. News & World Report ( to footnote reference