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Many students with an interest in both statistical analysis and business management face a difficult decision when entering graduate school: to pursue a master of business administration (MBA) or study data science. The growing demand for qualified data scientists is steadily rising, which makes it an appealing choice for aspiring professionals. However, there is also a rising demand and opportunity for people who have extensive experience in both business and data management. Pairing an MBA with a data science degree may represent an academic challenge, but the rewards can be well worth the effort.

Related resource: 15 Most Affordable Master’s in Data Science Online

The Expanding Field of Data Science

Data science is a young discipline compared to most academic and professional occupations, but its scope and application has expanded incredibly over the last decade. Statistical analysis combined with the power and potential of computer technology has opened the doors for a revolution in the way people and organizations use data. Data science gives people and businesses an effective tool for measuring and quantifying almost everything. Studying customer behavior, establishing product price points and managing brand image are just a few applications of data science in business.

Data Analysis and Business Administration

Even though the two degrees are academically distinct with significant differences in coursework, there are several common elements that make them a good pair for students. Just as data science has grown beyond a niche technical field, business administration also consistently expands to include new technology and innovations. Many business executives rely on their data scientists to provide structured information that forms the base of their entire decision-making process. This means business leaders who have a firm understanding of the science behind their data have an unparalleled advantage.

Pairing a Degree in Data Science with an MBA

Students who want to dive into the field of data science while keeping their eyes on a career in business management can do so by pursuing dual degrees. Some institutions offer programs tailored to this objective, but many schools present the opportunity to study both fields simultaneously. While data science does demand slightly more technical expertise, there are similar academic requirements for entering programs in either field, according to the Financial Times.

Career Opportunities for Dual Degree Holders

Even though there is strong and growing demand for qualified graduates of both data science and business, there are unique opportunities for people with dual expertise. Aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders need to be data literate, at least enough to communicate effectively with their team. Professionals who can bridge the gap between the technicalities of data science and the applications of business administration gain leverage in the job market.

Current and prospective graduate students should carefully weigh their options when choosing an academic and career path. Even though there are many benefits to dual degrees, it can also be more physically and mentally demanding than a single program. However, students who take on the challenge of pairing an MBA with data science will have more opportunities to expand and direct their future career if they are successful.

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