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Can I Get an AMBA Straight Out of College?

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The Big Data and analytics market is worth hundreds of billions of dollars, representing millions of jobs in the hottest job market for tech workers since the dot-com era. One McKinsey & Company survey found that the most significant skills gaps in organizations are in data analytics. Some of the most in-demand business analytics-focused roles across industries are highly technical. These jobs include software developer, information technology support specialist, information systems engineer and systems architect. Other business analytics roles are leadership positions that bridge the gap between technical skills, such as data mining, and strategic skills related to the application of data in business decisions.

There are lasting skills gaps in this discipline because professionals capable of stepping into leadership positions in business analytics must understand the technical side of data analytics and how intelligent data management and analytics can guide business strategy. Success requires a broad range of technical and managerial skills that can be hard to find in one individual. Indeed, one of the biggest challenges technically-oriented professionals face is translating their analytics expertise into recommendations that drive strategy in business environments. In contrast, business professionals not educated in analytics may struggle to leverage, understand and present business data as part of strategy.

Developed with these challenges in mind, the online Analytics MBA (AMBA) at Stevens Institute of Technology is a STEM-focused online master's program designed to enhance online students' technical skills, management capabilities and soft skills to prepare them to succeed in business analytics and strategic management.

At first glance, the program may look like the best fit for seasoned business and analytics professionals aiming to transition into leadership roles. However, unlike many online MBA programs with a technical focus, the online AMBA program at Stevens welcomes recent college graduates. This doesn't mean enrolling in the AMBA program straight out of college is the right choice for everyone — just that it can be the right choice for recent college graduates who are exceptionally focused, intensely driven and looking to approach their career goals aggressively.

Successful early career AMBA candidates also tend to know how they will leverage a master's degree to advance professionally. They can articulate how earning a business analytics MBA online or on campus will add value to their professional lives, and they gravitate toward competitive, high-value, graduate-level programs such as the StevensOnline AMBA. Does that sound like you? This article looks deeper at what an Analytics Master of Business Administration is, why you might choose it over a traditional MBA, the typical admission requirements and what Stevens' Analytics MBA can offer recent graduates in particular.

WHAT IS AN ANALYTICS MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION?

An Analytics Master of Business Administration combines instruction in business management and data analytics or data science to give managers fluency in analytics technology, processes and results. The AMBA curriculum covers many of the same subjects as traditional graduate business programs but intentionally filters required course content through a business analytics lens. Earning a business analytics MBA online is a practical choice for recent business school or analytics degree program graduates who want to join the ranks of leadership in the future without sacrificing present-day opportunities for advancement.

The coursework in StevensOnline's Analytics MBA program is "structured around three areas of greatest need for the leaders of tomorrow's technology-driven organizations, who must be able to speak the language of business, understand how to apply innovations within business units and across the enterprise and interpret data to identify trends and make strategic recommendations."

In 13 courses, the AMBA curriculum explores management from an analytics perspective. Students take foundational management classes in leadership, marketing, finance, strategy, entrepreneurship, innovation and service management. Applied analytics courses cover modeling and decision-making, applied analytics, multivariate data analytics, machine learning and human-centered design thinking — ensuring students master the technical side of analytics in addition to the managerial side of business.

Stevens' AMBA graduates gain highly sought-after skills that make them stand out in today's competitive job market. They can identify and assess opportunities for creating value using data-driven decision making; use statistical software like R and SAS to analyze multivariate data; visualize, interpret and communicate data to peers and leverage design thinking to spur innovation and solve complex problems in business and society.

HOW DO AMBA PROGRAMS DIFFER FROM TRADITIONAL MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION PROGRAMS WITH AN ANALYTICS FOCUS?

The principal differences between AMBA programs and concentration-based MBA in analytics programs come down to content and perspective.

Analytics MBA degree programs teach business fundamentals as they apply to analytics management, include analytics courses in the core curriculum and introduce students to statistical software and data visualization applications. Traditional programs that offer a business analytics concentration more commonly teach MBA students business fundamentals, such as finance, marketing and operations, from a generalist perspective and as they apply to business management of any kind. Elective courses focused on analytics may only represent two to four credit hours of work in the entire graduate program.

Knowing your career goals is essential to understanding which graduate program is the right fit for you. A business analytics program such as the AMBA can help you advance in technical management roles — even if you recently earned your bachelor's degree or a graduate degree in another discipline. However, an MBA with a business analytics concentration may be a better fit if you are interested in the applications of analytics in business but not interested in turning analytics into a full-time job.

WHAT ADMISSION PREREQUISITES MUST AMBA APPLICANTS MEET?

Another notable difference between AMBA and traditional MBA programs with an analytics specialization lies in the admission requirements. AMBA admission requirements commonly include more mathematics and computer science coursework than traditional MBA programs.

However, StevensOnline Analytics Master of Business Administration's admissions requirements do not include an academic or professional background in technology. Applicants do not need to complete additional math and computer science work before applying, as the university teaches all the technical and mathematical skills and concepts students need to complete this program in the core courses of the AMBA curriculum.

This makes the StevensOnline Analytics MBA suitable for recent college graduates. Program prerequisites only include courses in financial management, accounting and economics, and applicants can satisfy these prerequisite requirements by taking non-credit classes online.

Beyond that, applicants must submit their academic transcripts and two letters of recommendation. While Stevens does not require that AMBA applicants have related work experience, the strongest applications often include one letter from a current supervisor and one from a former supervisor or employer who can speak to the applicant's leadership potential and professional competence.

HOW MUCH WORK EXPERIENCE DO AMBA CANDIDATES TYPICALLY HAVE?

While work experience is not a requirement for entry into the StevensOnline Analytics MBA program, the admissions committee does take related professional experience into account when reviewing applications. They look for applicants with achievements that suggest they can handle the workload plus a thorough understanding of how an AMBA will benefit their careers. Applicants must submit a résumé with the Analytics MBA application that summarizes their professional experience, academic record, leadership abilities and professional aspirations.

Putting together a compelling résumé can be a daunting task for applicants applying straight out of college. That's why Stevens asks applicants to highlight not just where they've been but also where they want to be. Current undergraduate students at Stevens can utilize the Stevens Career Center as a resource when writing personal statements and résumés. Indeed's Career Guide also has helpful résumé writing tips and examples.

WHAT DOES STEVENS' AMBA PROGRAM OFFER NEW GRADUATES?

The 39-credit hour, part-time Analytics MBA attracts recent graduates because of its comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to the Master of Business Administration curriculum and because it is a 100% online program. U.S. News & World Report even ranks Stevens among the top schools in business analytics online.

Students learn the language of business, the foundations of leadership and the keys to analytical thinking under the guidance of world-class faculty members. The Stevens School of Business faculty includes five National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER winners and researchers who consult with companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Google, Bell Labs and other top industry firms. These and other industry executives and academics prepare students to succeed in not only business analytics but also management and entrepreneurship while giving them the competitive edge they need to progress in their careers.

Recent graduates who pursue the AMBA program also benefit from experiential components that round out their skill sets. For instance, the business school pairs each student with a professional mentor who provides personal guidance and career coaching. Students also connect with industry leaders to learn more about the challenges of data analysis and managing innovation in the digital economy. Plus, students can apply everything they learn in the classroom to solve business problems in their current professional roles and in future roles as they advance their careers.

BEYOND THE AMBA EXPERIENCE

Upon exiting the program, graduates understand how to leverage scientific and technical advances related to data in business and can carefully deploy resources in pursuit of innovation. Stevens AMBA graduates use advanced analytics techniques and data to make smarter, strategic decisions.

Should you decide to pursue a business analytics MBA online at Stevens Institute of Technology, you will learn to think critically about problems and creatively about resources — turning into a more agile, confident leader in the process. While most AMBA graduates step into business analyst roles, they quickly advance into analytics leadership positions in areas of business such as business intelligence, operations, finance and market research.

If you know you want more than the typical MBA and you're ready to start your AMBA journey, apply online today.