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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Business Systems and Analytics?
Business Systems and Analytics (BSA) is the process of transforming data into insights for informed business decision making. With the advancement of technology, companies have collected vast data; many don’t know how to analyze and synthesize this data to make informed decisions. This is where business analytics comes in to help decision-makers make effective decisions. Business analytics is used in every discipline, including sports, healthcare, manufacturing, and beyond.

How is La Salle’s MS program in Business Systems and Analytics different than other graduate programs in Analytics?
The program’s courses are hands-on and application-driven, providing students with critical problem-solving skills. The required courses are well-balanced to provide students with the necessary strategies to develop solutions to problems. Our goal is to equip students with the skill sets to succeed in looking at problems from start to finish. We begin with Descriptive Analytics, allowing students to analyze data and identify what has occurred in the past. Then we move to Diagnostic Analytics, in which students will study the reasons for why something happened. Next, students will utilize the why and apply it to Predictive Analytics. Here we will be able to forecast what the future could hold. Finally, we look at Prescriptive Analytics to determine the best course of action to correct the program and identify possible solutions.

How many credits are required to earn the MS degree?
The program is 30 – 34 credits. There are two pre-program courses, MBA 601 (Financial Accounting) and MBA 602 (Financial Markets), that could be waived if students have completed the equivalent coursework in their undergraduate career.

How is La Salle’s MS program different than an MBA program?
An MBA program is multi-disciplinary, including courses in multiple areas such as Management, Marketing, Finance, Accounting, Economics, Business Analytics, Ethics, Statistics, and Leadership, to name a few. The MS program is focused on two things: 1) problem solving and 2) decision making. The program has been designed to fill a gap essentially. While computer science programs remain very technical and MBA programs are broader, the MS program at La Salle meets in the middle. While we consider the MS program to be multi-disciplinary, requiring courses in Finance, Marketing, and Accounting, these courses are designed to discuss those disciplines within the analytic mindset.

How are the classes in the MS program structured?
The MS program offers courses entirely online as well as in a hybrid format in 8-week terms. The online courses are 100% asynchronous, while the hybrid courses would require a campus presence once a week. The courses in the MS program include a good mix of two essential components: Tactical hands-on learning and 2) Strategic implementation (i.e., how to implement solutions)

How long will it take to complete the MS program?
The MS program can be completed in a full-time format of 1 year or a part-time form of 2 years. A student can meet all degree requirements in 1 year by taking 2 courses per term. A student can complete all degree requirements in 2 years by taking 1 course per term. We offer 5 terms per year (August, October, January, March, and May). One year is identified as completing all 5 terms.

When can new students enroll?
New students can enroll twice a year, in August or January.

Is the MS program STEM Designated?
Yes. The MS program at La Salle is STEM Designated.

What does STEM Designation mean?
This means that the program meets the requirements of what the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) considers a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field of study. International students who graduate from a USS university can apply for the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program and work for 12 months after graduation. However, a graduate from a STEM-designated program is eligible to apply for a 24-month extension (a total of 36 months of OPT) to DHS. There are not many business analytics programs in our region that afford international students this unique opportunity.

Is the GMAT exam required for admission?
The GMAT exam may be waived for students who have obtained an undergraduate business degree from an AACSB accredited institution and achieved a specific GPA, students who have received a CFA charter or CPA license, or students who have earned another Master’s degree. Applicants that do not meet the qualification to be waived from the GMAT exam but be eligible for a GMAT deferral if they have a 3.0 or higher GPA and at least 2 years of business experience. This affirms our commitment to admitting strongly qualified professionals who have demonstrated that they can be successful graduate students.

What could a degree in BSA do for my career?
One important aspect of getting a degree in analytics is the job opportunities it creates. Students graduating with a degree in analytics have a lot of options. They can use their analytics skills in a functional area in business (such as accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, among others). Most companies are looking for employees who are problem-solvers and decision-makers. Good technical and analytical skills give employees the edge and improve their employability.

According to the USS Bureau of Labore Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (Dated: September 1, 2020), the job outlook for occupations in the business systems and analytics discipline is expected to grow at 5%-31% rate. Salaries could range from $85k-$180k. This discipline is expected to grow much faster than the average which shows the expected demand for the skillset offered by this program.

What is the cost of the MS program?
Tuition is charged per course a student takes. Tuition for the part-time, full-time, and hybrid MS programs is currently $890 per credit hour. Tuition for the online full-time or part-time MS program is currently $790 per credit. In addition to the per credit hour charge, La Salle has a $150 technology fee and a $135 semester fee. This $285 is charged each semester you take courses.

Are international students able to enroll in the MS Business Systems & Analytics degree?
Yes. International students also have the unique opportunity to apply for 36 months of OPT (See STEM Designation for more details).

What level of math skill is required to enroll in the MS Business Systems & Analytics degree?
Enrollees will be fitting and interpreting models, not developing a methodology to fit models. Typically, math skills acquired in a quantitative field of study such as science, engineering, and some business degrees suffice.

Do I need to have a background in IT or analytics to apply?
You don’t need any formal statistics or programming training to apply to the MS Business Systems & Analytics program. However, a previous study of data science, programming, or statistics courses either at a university or through an online learning environment is beneficial.

Does the MS Business Systems & Analytics program require work experience?
We are referred to as a pre-experience program, so the post-bachelor experience is not necessarily required. If you’re a high achiever but weren’t good at internships, you can certainly make your way into our program.

Do students have to be currently employed?
There is no employment requirement; however, the classes are scheduled in the evenings (EST) to allow students to maintain full-time employment if they choose.

What programs are used within the MS courses?
Students are exposed to some of the following programs: Excel, R, JMP Pro, Power BI, and Tableau, among others. There are no standard software packages in business analytics, and different companies use different tools and technologies depending on their enterprise information systems and database management systems and platforms. The BSA department strives to use the latest and widely used software packages in the classrooms.