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Nina Richardson, Associate Director, University of Southern California Marshall of School of Business, joins us today to discuss their Masters in Business Analytics program.

The USC Marshall School of Business is the business school of the University of Southern California. It is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In 1997 the school was renamed following a $35 million donation from alumnus Gordon S. Marshall.

1. Can you tell us about the business analytics program offered at the University of Southern California? *

The USC Marshall MSBA program is a data science STEM program encompassed with a business lens. The program emphasizes project-based learning in the classroom, which means that our students acquire deeper business analytics knowledge through active exploration of real-world business challenges and problems. Our program is based on three pillars, (1) Computer Science, (2) Statistics, Machine Learning, and Optimization (3) Business Strategy, and is distinguished by the numerous leadership roles our students take throughout the program.

2. Is the GMAT & GRE required for acceptance into the program? Do international students have the same requirement? *

Yes the GMAT ans GRE are required for all applicants. International students are also required to take the TOEFL or IELTS language exam if they have not completed a 4 year degree in the US.

3. How long does a typical business analytics program take at the University of Southern California? What is the maximum and minimum time of completion? *

The minimum time to complete the MSBA program is 1.5 years (3 semesters-Fall, Spring Fall). However, approximately half of our students complete the program in 4 semesters due to their interest in taking more classes. The maximum time is 3 years for part-time students.

4. What do you think makes the University of Southern California business analytics program stand out from other programs offered by similar schools in your region? *

There are several factors that make the MSBA program stand out. The USC MSBA program is one of the longest running MSBA programs in the nation, and top ranked in the world. Therefore, we have a very strong alumni base who are committed to mentoring our current students and connecting them with job opportunities. We ensure that our curriculum is continuously up to date with industry trends. We also have a large set of specialty electives that our students can select based on their interests, such as Fraud Analytics, Marketing Analytics, Healthcare analytics, Game Analytics, HR Analytics, Sports Analytics, Digital Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence.

5. How important would you say accreditation is when choosing a business analytics program? *

Accreditation is very important when choosing any graduate program. Particularly with Business Analytics, it’s important to not only look at the accreditation of the program, but also the resources and network the program has to offer.

6. What are the advantages of earning a business analytics degree in general and where are you seeing employer demand with this degree? *

Earning a degree in business analytics is advantageous for a number of reasons. Businesses are looking for candidates that can offer a mix of technical skills along with soft skills. This degree provides skills in both areas and creates a well-rounded candidate who is prepared to help businesses clean, analyze, and visualize their data. We are seeing a trend in which students with MBA degrees are applying to our program in order to gain more skills required at their companies. Our MSBA students are also in high demand not only after graduation, but throughout the program. This is shown to us from employers contacting us to recruit our students for internships, full-time jobs, and requesting data projects to be completed in many of our classes.

7. Does the University of Southern California offer job placement for students who graduate with a business analytics degree? *

Although we don’t offer direct job placement, we do offer many opportunities for our students to network with companies through various events. Our round table recruiting event allows companies to meet our students in an intimate setting. We also host an annual Business Analytics Symposium, which offers breakout sessions with students and employers that often lead to future internships and job opportunities. Finally, employers get a sense of our student’s skills in the classroom when they are working on the real- world problems for their business.

8. What type of financial aid packages are available for students in business analytics? Are there any fellowships, grants, and scholarships available? *

We offer a limited amount of scholarships for students in our program. However, there are also the options of financial aid packages for students that qualify. We also offer payment plans for tuition.

9. Do you have any advice for students enrolling in a business analytics program at the University of Southern California? *

My advice for students enrolling in our MSBA program would be to take advantage of all the networking and leadership opportunities the program and USC has to offer in addition to their academics. We have a strong Business Analytics Student Association that facilitates both social and professional events. We also have several networking events at the Marshall School of Business where students can collaborate with other graduate students.

Another suggestion for students would be to come to our program with an open mind in terms of what area of analytics they are looking to pursue. Being that analytics is offered in a variety of fields and industries, students should be willing to explore all of their options through our various electives and events before committing to a certain area.

10. What do you enjoy most about your position at the University of Southern California? *

What I enjoy most about my role is being surrounded by a team that cares deeply about our students. We all have an open door policy where students feel comfortable coming to us at any time. This creates a family-like environment which is unique to our program. I also enjoy meeting students from all over the world. We currently have 12 countries represented within our student body.


For more information on the business analytics programs offered at the University of Southern California, visit them online.

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That concludes our interview!

Henry Steele
Henry Steele
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.

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