Business analysis is the process of evaluating a business’s operating environment, strategies and services, identifying challenges and designing solutions to address these challenges. At the heart of this process are business analysts. Here is all you need to know to get started in this challenging but rewarding career.
Because business analysts often specialise in field such as telecommunication, healthcare or energy, specific roles can vary by workplace. However, they generally perform the following tasks;
- Gather information about specific organisational problems by interviewing employees and conducting onsite inspections.
- Find new ways to control costs or minimise organisational expenditure.
- Conduct market research to find new markets for products and services.
- Make recommendations on the methods, information technology systems and strategies that should be implemented to improve a company’s performance.
- Compile written reports and make presentations to enlighten senior managers on the recommended changes.
Education and Training
Although business analysts often pursue advanced degrees in business disciplines, they usually come from diverse baccalaureate backgrounds. For example, a business analyst working in the health care industry may have a bachelor’s degree in health science and a master’s degree in business management. On the one hand, an analyst working in the banking industry may hold a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in finance. Therefore, to become a business analyst you must complete the following steps;
- Earn a bachelor’s degree in your preferred field of specialisation.
- Pursue a master’s degree in business administration, management consulting or business analytics.
The best business schools to pursue an MBA include:
- Harvard Business School, Boston, MA
- London Business School, London
- Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford, CA
- Columbia Business School, Manhattan, NY
- Yale University, New Haven, CT
To become a business analyst you will need:
- strong analytical skills to study and interpret a wide range of information,
- problem-solving skills to think creatively and develop effective solutions to business challenges
- communication skills to communicate precisely and clearly with workers and team members
- decision-making skills to choose between options and decisively settle on the most suitable one.
- strong interpersonal skills to maintain positive working relationships with your clients.
Job Growth and Compensation
With the global business environment becoming increasingly dynamic, businesses are actively hiring business analysts to improve efficiency and manage operating costs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American economy will create 133, 180 new jobs for business analysts between 2012 and 2022, representing a 19% job growth. As of May 2012, the bureau reports management analysts, including business analysts, earned a median annual pay of $78,600.
Obtaining relevant industry certifications can be a perfect springboard for career development. For instance, earning a certification offered by the International Institute of Business Analysis proves your vast business analysis experience and can help you land lucrative jobs. You also can pursue relevant continuing education courses to enhance your professional knowledge and competence.
As a business analyst, you can be hired as a resident employee in a wide variety of business organizations, or open independent consultancy firms. Regardless, the biggest employers of these analysts include:
- Insurance Companies
- Consulting firms
- Manufacturing and scientific firms
- Federal and state agencies
Typical Work Environment
Like most business professionals, business analysts work in corporate offices for about 40 hours a week. Those operating independent consultancy firms have flexible work schedules, often splitting their time between office and visiting client sites.