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Program FAQs

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

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 sophisticated analytics to real-world business cases. The program culminates in a Capstone Project in which a team of MSBA students collaborates with a client company to solve a pressing business problem. Students gain not only a robust technical skillset but also the ability to apply AI and 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 FlexWeekend or 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 FlexWeekend MSBA program instead.

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

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 MSBA program?

For our Full-Time program, classes can be scheduled on Monday-Thursday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. A course load of 12–14 units would translate into approximately 9–11 hours of classes each week.

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.

Does the Full-Time MSBA program accept 3-year degrees?

The FT MSBA program accepts applicants with a 3-year undergraduate degree.  Equivalency to a 4-year degree will be evaluated by the UC San Diego Graduate Division Admissions team if nominated for admission to the program.

Do you offer a pre-application review for eligibility?

The Full-Time MSBA program does not offer pre-application review for eligibility.  If the program aligns your professional and academic goals, we encourage you to submit a complete application for admissions consideration. Prospective applicants can review the FT MSBA Admission Requirements and the Full-Time MSBA Cohort Profile to determine fit to the program.

Can I apply for a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Graduate Assistant (GA) position during the program?

The Rady School of Management offers a limited number of TA positions each quarter.  Available TA positions and the application process is shared with current Rady graduate students after the start of the program.

Program Eligibility

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

Work experience is not required for our MSBA programs but is preferred. If you do not have work experience, we will want to know why you believe now is the right time to pursue the MSBA 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.

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 MSBA 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 MSBA 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.

I am a current UCSD undergrad student. What UCSD undergraduate courses do you recommend to prepare for the Rady MSBA program?

The following UCSD undergraduate courses offer relevant preparation for the Rady MSBA program. These courses are not required to apply to or be admitted to the Rady MSBA program. UCSD undergraduates should consult with their undergraduate academic adviser and the UCSD course catalog regarding course availability, enrollment, and applicability to each student’s undergraduate degree requirements. 

  • MGT 3. Quantitative Methods in Business
  • MGT 4 or MGT 5. Financial Accounting
  • MGT 71 Business Process and Operations Management
  • MGT 108R Applied Market Research
  • MGT 153 Business Analytics
  • MGT 160 Experiments in Firms
  • MGT 100 Customer Analytics
  • MGT 137 Financial Statement Analysis
  • MGT 170 Management Information Systems
  • MGT 177 Analytics and Spreadsheet Modeling
  • CSE 158: Web Mining and Recommender Systems

I am a current UCSD student. By when do I need to finish my current UCSD degree program in order to begin the Rady MSBA program?

The Rady MSBA program begins during the Summer quarter each year. Students enrolled in a degree program at UCSD prior to the start of the Rady MSBA must complete their degree requirements and course of study by the end of the preceding spring quarter. For example, current UCSD students applying to the Summer 2024 program must finish all degree requirements by the end of Spring 2024 quarter.