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Program FAQs

How is the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program different from a Master's in Data Science?

Both Business Analytics and Data Science students learn similar tools and concepts, develop skills in machine learning and statistics, and work with structured and unstructured data. The key difference lies in the application domain. 

Business Analytics students apply these skills to solve real-world business problems, starting from a business need and using data science principles like statistics, machine learning, and optimization to guide company actions. Our graduates are “Business Data Scientists”.

In contrast, a Data Science Master's program emphasizes the mathematical and theoretical underpinnings of these methods, focusing on the modeling mechanics and potential applications across a wide range of domains. 

If you are interested in applying AI and data science to solve business problems, the Rady Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program is the right choice for you.

What does AI-Assisted mean?

Harnessing the power of AI is a critical skill for both the current and future workforce. AI technologies like large language models (LLMs) have the potential to drive unprecedented business value and efficiency. Maximizing this potential will require Business Data Scientists that understand the potential and have the technical expertise to extract more value faster. In the Rady MSBA AI-assisted curriculum, we incorporate LLM’s in every facet of the Business Analytics process, from problem definition, to data cleaning, coding, analysis, and presentation. We prepare our students for a future where AI is an integral part of a business data scientist’s job description.

How is the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program different from an MBA?

The coursework in our MSBA programs is designed to create a level of proficiency in data analysis, programming, and the use of AI  that is not feasible in a general management education you would receive from an MBA program. If your aim is to develop the ability to leverage AI for sophisticated analytics and data-driven business decision-making, our MSBA programs will help you achieve these goals. However, an MSBA does not provide the broader perspective on management and leadership that Rady’s MBA program offers.

How does Rady’s MSBA program differ from other MSBA programs?

Our MSBA programs were developed by Rady faculty specifically to meet the growing need for highly skilled professionals that can solve complex business problems using data, statistics, and machine learning. Our curriculum is designed to teach students how to leverage AI and apply a set of sophisticated methods and tools to real-world business cases. The program culminates in a Capstone Project in which a team of MSBA students collaborate with a client company to solve a pressing business problem. Students gain not only a robust technical skillset but also the ability to apply the analytical tools they have mastered in practice and create value for both customers and companies.

Can Rady’s Full-Time MSBA program be extended by FlexMSBAor a year?

Our Full-Time MSBA program is designed to be completed in as little as 11 months. If your work and/or life schedule makes it infeasible to commit to studying full time, please consider the FlexMSBA program instead.

What is the difference between the Full-Time and FlexWeekend MSBA programs?

Our Full-Time MSBA program is designed to be completed in as little as 11 months and is 100% on-campus. FT MSBA students can also choose to extend their program to 17 months if they want to do an internship. The part-time  FlexWeekend program is designed for working professionals looking to either (1) transition from another technical field (e.g, bench scientist) or (2) advance their career in analytics and data science and need some extra flexibility to accommodate their busy work/life schedule. Our part-time FlexWeekend MSBA program meets synchronously on Saturdays every other week with flexibility to join up to 50% of class sessions through zoom. Visiting campus 1-2 times per month provide the benefit of networking and seminar events that are key to a world-class business school experience.

What are the days and hours of the FlexWeekend MSBA program?

For the part-time FlexWeekend MSBA program classes in-person and run from 8 AM – 12 PM noon and 1 PM – 5 PM every other Saturday. Students in the FlexMSBA program can, however, choose to attend up to 50% of live class sessions remotely through zoom.

Is it possible to complete a dual MSBA & MBA at Rady?

Rady does not currently offer dual-degree programs.

Are there opportunities to take classes in other departments at UC San Diego?

Students demonstrating academic success within the Rady MSBA program may petition to enroll in classes in other departments at UC San Diego, e.g., Computer Science, depending on departmental permission and availability.

Can I start the program in the winter/spring?

Rady's MSBA programs are offered as a summer (August) start only.

Can I transfer credit from another graduate program?

The Rady MSBA program does not accept transfer credit from other graduate programs.

Program Eligibility

Is work experience required for admission to Rady’s FlexMSBA programs?

Work experience is not required for admissions to the part-time FlexMSBA programs, however it is highly preferred. If you do not have work experience, we will want to know why you believe now is the right time to pursue the FlexMSBA degree and we will look for excellent academic records, relevant internships, and clear career goals.

Do I need a business background to apply to the program?

Business experience or coursework is not required for our MSBA programs. However, we do look for applicants with a keen interest in using analytics to drive business decisions. Part-time FlexMSBA applicants may have professional business experience or may be currently working in other industries that can still be deemed relevant.

Does the Rady School accept students with advanced degrees?

We welcome applications from individuals who have already completed an advanced degree in science, engineering, technology, or other quantitative disciplines. Our program can help you to transfer the skills you have already developed and apply them to address important business problems.

What are the knowledge prerequisites for the FlexMSBA program?

Coursework in subjects such as calculus, linear algebra, econometrics, and advanced statistics and probability will prepare you for our MSBA programs. It is also very important to have (some) experience with programming (e.g., Python, R, SQL, C/C++) and statistical applications (e.g., R, SAS, STATA). Accepted applicants are required to complete the Python and R programming coursework listed below before the start of the program in August.

  • Introduction to ChatGPT
  • Introduction to Python
  • Pandas Foundations
  • Intermediate Python for Data Science
  • Introduction to R
  • Intermediate R
  • Intermediate R: Practice
  • Reading Data into R with readr
  • Introduction to Shell for Data Science: Manipulating files and directories

I don't have a (strong) background in some areas. Can I still apply to and be successful in the FlexMSBA program?

Long-term success in business analytics requires both strong quantitative foundations and an interest in solving business problems. Applicants that are stronger in one area or the other can still very much be successful in admissions. We will also ensure that all students develop the required skills in AI and machine learning to start a promising career in business analytics upon completion of our MSBA programs.

How does the STEM designation make this degree different from other graduate business programs?

The STEM designation allows international students who complete the Rady Full-Time MSBA program on an F-1 student visa the opportunity to extend their post-graduation time in the U.S through Optional Practical Training (OPT) and the STEM OPT Extension. OPT is a type of employment authorization for F-1 students and allows the opportunity for Rady Full-Time MSBA graduates to pursue a 12-month period of relevant work experience upon the completion of their degree.  The STEM OPT extension provides an additional 2-year period to gain work experience in the U.S. in their field of study. For more information on OPT and the 24-month STEM OPT Extension, please visit the International Students & Programs Office OPT webpage.

The FlexMSBA program is a part-time program and does not qualify for an F-1 Student Visa.  
Student who require an F-1 visa to study should consider the Full-Time MSBA program instead.