I’m Harsha Achyuthuni and I am currently studying MSc Business Analytics (part-time, online) at Imperial College Business School.
In my field of work, business analytics and data science, many data scientists and business analysts do not have formal higher education in the field (many have formal education in other allied fields) and have learned a lot through alternative ed-tech platforms.
Most of the people who I work with currently, and most of the students I am studying with, have a common question: "why should I take out time and study for a Master’s paying more money when I could get similar knowledge from an alternative online course and other sources/other cheaper Master’s options?"
This blog tries to answer that question, especially for professionals who work full-time. Most of my peers who are studying with me have similar experiences - and have decided to study in this programme for similar reasons.
My work experience prior to MSc Business Analytics
Three years ago, I started working as a Business Analyst in a consultancy in India. I do not come from a computer science background and am mostly self-taught in coding. I knew the fundamentals of statistics and maths necessary for data science and business analytics.
With ‘learning over knowing’ as my motto, I ventured into the field of business analytics. When I had to work on something new, I use to learn it from online edtech platforms. I would become an "expert" in anything new a couple of nights before implementing it. Although the first few projects that I implemented were not that successful, I slowly got the hang of business analytics and have successfully built various solutions in Machine Learning, A-B testing, prescriptive and predictive analytics.
The changing landscape of business analytics
However, business analytics is a vast field, and it is changing very quickly. The amount of data is increasing, the number and type of problems that could be solved using data are increasing, and the solutions are becoming more and more complex. Looking at the progress made in the last 10 years, I feel that data science and business analytics will be completely alien 10 years from today.
But, my assumption is that the basics will remain the same. We might be coding in a different language, using different technologies and building different models. Still, the fundamentals on which they are built like statistics, business principles and data structures will be the same.
Preparing for the future
To be one step ahead and prepare for the future, I wanted to get a grip on the fundamentals, while understanding the different ways the same fundamentals are applied currently in various businesses. I was thus looking for a programme that is holistic, comprehensive and balanced. I also wanted to study with business analytics professionals across different domains, countries, backgrounds and experiences.
Due to COVID-19 related lockdowns across the world, and the uncertainty following it, I wanted to choose a business school that has experience conducting online programmes, like Imperial College Business School.
Why MSc Business Analytics (part-time, online) at Imperial?
The MSc Business Analytics (part-time, online) programme at Imperial is holistic and structured, it starts from the basics and goes all the way to machine learning and artificial intelligence. It is comprehensive and focuses on learning from first principles. It is also balanced and gives equal emphasis on business, maths and technology. I also chose to do it part-time as it had a good reputation for running as an online programme.
On the part-time programme, my classmates are extremely diverse. They work in industries including finance, technology, consulting, energy, health, education and FMCG. They are working as analysts, data scientists, business analysts, and other subject experts in both senior and junior levels. They come from different countries and different educational backgrounds. Various group activities, assignments, in-class sessions bring unparalleled international exposure. I feel this will create a strong foundation with which I could embrace the fast-evolving space of business analytics.