Emphasis - Business Analytics

Data-driven decision making

Business Analytics

Students will gain both analytical and hands-on skills to help organizations across industries with their data-driven decision making, execution, and evaluation.


The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Business Analytics provides specialized data skill sets for students who plan a career in today’s business world, where analytics is at the forefront. The degree signals to potential employers that the graduate is ready to utilize the tools and techniques that aim to turn data into meaningful business insights. Students will obtain the necessary skills for defining business analytics for data-driven decision making along with hands-on experience using analytics to solve real-world business problems.


This Emphasis is available only to current Marshall undergraduates who have attained sophomore standing and have completed at least one semester in residence at USC.

Students must complete BUAD 311 (Operations Management) or BUAD 313 (Advanced Operations Management and Analytics) prior to declaring the Emphasis. The Emphasis requires completion of at least twelve (12) units of Data Sciences and Operations (DSO) upper division coursework. Additional details are available in the catalogue.

Please note that students can only declare one Emphasis.

Apply Here

Emphasis Faculty Advisor

Professor Feng Chen
Email Address: fchen@marshall.usc.edu

Recommended Coursework

View our recommended coursework here

Emphasis Workshop Slide Deck

View the Spring 2024 emphasis workshop slide deck here 

FAQs related to the Emphasis in Business Analytics

Which courses can help students determine if this Emphasis is right for them?

Students must complete BUAD-311 or BUAD-313 before entering this emphasis. Other courses that can help determine if this Emphasis is a good fit  are:

  • BUAD 310g-Applied Business Statistics and BUAD 312g-Statistics and Data Science for Business:  These courses provide the students with statistical tools that allow the students to explore, summarize, visualize, and make inferences about the data.
  • BUAD 425-Data Analysis for Decision Making: This course helps the students develop their skills as data-savvy managers. In particular, it provides the students with skills on experimentation, KPI tracking, understanding and communicating predictive models.
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What other resources/experiences can help students determine if this Emphasis is the right fit?

In addition to the Business Analytics faculty advisor, students can consult their BUAD311/BUAD313/BUAD310g/BUAD312g/BUAD425 instructor, or an instructor of a business analytics elective they are enrolled in, to determine if Business Analytics Emphasis would be a good fit.

We also recommend students consider joining organizations that provide hands-on experience with analytics. For example, the Data Science Club at USC and Operation Management Association (OMA). For more information, visit Marshall Student Organizations.

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What qualities/skills are good for students to have when going into this Emphasis?

Good communicators who have solid foundations of statistical concepts and good attitude towards learning new skills such as computer programming.

Curiosity and the desire to problem solve business problems. Ability to keep an open mind, a love for numbers and for continuous self-learning.

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What skills or knowledge will students gain from this Emphasis?

Students have the opportunity to gain a breadth of knowledge and skills such as exploratory data analysis, data visualization and computer programming that support multiple business fields; OR depth of knowledge and skills such as machine learning, forecasting and optimization techniques that focus on specific business fields (e.g. operations-related analytics and market-related analytics).

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For what careers or industries will this Emphasis prepare students?

The business analytics emphasis prepares Marshall students with data science skills that allow them to make data-driven business decisions in various industries ranging from healthcare, entertainment, energy, retail, technology, interactive gaming, media, sports, hospitality, automotive, consumer goods, transportation, logistics, manufacturing, and financial services.

Our graduates are hired in different business functions (marketing, finance, human resources, accounting, and production) with roles including but not limited to the following: data analyst, business intelligence analyst, product analyst, sales analyst, marketing analyst, and supply chain analyst.

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Why would students choose this Emphasis?

Firms routinely collect point of sales transactions, monitor operations throughout their supply-chain, mine website traffic, and track customer engagement.  Business analytics and data are transforming modern firms, and, in some cases, disrupting entire industries.  Importantly, these changes are not limited to the “back-office” or operations; every aspect of the firm -- organizational structure, marketing, product design, and strategic planning – is shifting towards data-driven decision making.  With this shift comes an increased need for “data-savvy” managers; managers who are not necessarily data-science experts, but understand what analytics can and cannot do, how to ask the right questions, and, most importantly, how to interpret data to make better decisions. 

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Can students satisfy these requirements when they study abroad?

Students who participate in the Marshall International Exchange program (IEP) may fulfill up to 6 credits towards the Business Analytics emphasis while studying abroad. In order for the courses to be applied towards the Business Analytics emphasis, students must complete approved classes while abroad (a list of approved classes for each exchange location can be found on the IEP outgoing website. Students will work with the Marshall Exchange office to ensure that the approved classes they take abroad will be applied towards their emphasis.

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For International Students

This emphasis is a STEM program

This emphasis has been approved by the university to be STEM-eligible. This allows students who have completed this degree to apply for the STEM OPT Extension. Please note that this extension is not guaranteed but is approved by federal departments beyond the university’s purview. We strongly advise students to carefully read the Office of International Services instructions (here and here) which explain the STEM OPT extension eligibility and proceed accordingly.

On my I-20, why does the degree say Management Science instead of Business Administration?

This emphasis has been approved by the university to be STEM-eligible under the Department of Education CIP code of 52.1301 designation of Management Science. The degree stated on the I-20 refers to this designation. Students can find a memo of support from the department for the CIP code designation here.

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Do I need a new I-20 for this Emphasis?

Yes, all international students transferring to this emphasis will have a new I-20 issued with the STEM designation. The Marshall school will work directly with OIS to process the updated I-20 and once issued, the student will receive email notification from Marshall that the I-20 is available for pick-up.  Students applying in Fall semester should expect their new I-20 to be ready in Spring semester, and those applying in Spring should expect their new I-20 ready in Fall semester.

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I plan on traveling during the school breaks before I receive the new I-20, will I have any issues?

No, the I-20 with the STEM designation is not required if traveling prior to its issuance. Students can travel and re-enter the U.S. on their original I-20 once they receive a valid travel signature.

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