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The basics
Study abroad : Career Prospects

What to study to become a business analyst

Working as a business analyst can be an interesting and engaging career. But how exactly do you qualify for this role? We explore what you need to study and what a job as a business analyst looks like.

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Business analytics is a growing and developing area of expertise, increasingly important for businesses globally. A business analyst gives decision-makers key insights and information on business performance using a data-driven approach. Business analysts must understand processes, products, services, technology and software to produce valuable information. We explore what you need to do to become a business analyst, what your work life may be like, and your potential career progression.  


What is a business analyst? 

Business analysts work to plan, develop, and manage solutions in line with company goals and objectives. The role aims to optimise performance, procedures, and processes. These can be related to the core focus of a business, but in many cases, are closely related to information technology and software solutions. In our modern world, most businesses rely on technology, the internet and IT systems. Without them, businesses would not be able to function optimally. 


Business analysts keep things running optimally and efficiently but also look to make improvements where possible. The challenges of this role can create a high-pressure but rewarding environment for the right person. So, how do you become a business analyst? As with many careers, you have several options to get started towards a job in business analytics. 



What degree should you study to become a business analyst?

With some careers, you need to have studied a specific degree to qualify. These are sometimes referred to as professional degrees. If you’re interested in becoming a business analyst, you may be pleased to know that several degrees can qualify you for this role. 


You will need to pursue a degree that equips you with skills such as:

  • Excellent communication 
  • Statistics and analytics 
  • Flexibility 
  • Collaboration 
  • Management ability 
  • Computer and software knowledge 


A degree with an analytical and technical focus would be beneficial as a business analyst. These provide a lot of the knowledge and skills needed to accurately assess business requirements and develop feasible solutions. Several degrees come under this category, including: 



With a degree in any of the above, you would show an employer that you have the education and know-how to effectively carry out regular assessments and put your findings into practice. You can study a specialist postgraduate degree in the subject, usually an MSc in Business Analytics. This is often the route taken if you want to enhance your career prospects or change your career. 


STEM degrees are also very popular among international students. We look at the best STEM degrees for employment. 



Critical skills you will need 

 While the bulk of being a business analyst is working with the numbers, you must work with people too. While this is true for many roles, a business analyst needs to liaise with multiple departments at once. Communication skills are arguably top of the list of requirements. You may have to translate complex ideas and information into 


Gaining experience during your studies that shows you have developed and utilised these skills effectively can be a great asset when applying for a business analyst role. Highlighting these skills in a graduate portfolio can help a potential employer see your value. They will know you can handle the data side of things and collaborate effectively.  


Thinking of studying in the UK? Find out more about the top business schools there


How do I start a career as a business analyst?

For many graduates looking for a career as a business analyst, the most common step into this field is with an entry-level role, internship or work placement. Opportunities like these are great, as they allow you to build on your experience from day one, and you can explore the industry where you want to work in. Sometimes companies will offer an entry-level business analyst role where a successful candidate will be required to report to someone in a more senior position allowing you to learn from them and develop in this role. The size of the business, how many business analysts are needed, and the depth of work required are all important factors. You may also want to consider the sector in which you want to work. 




Your salary as a business analyst will vary depending on your experience and the industry you work in. Starting you can expect to earn between GBP 21,000 and GBP 30,000 per year. As you start to develop your knowledge and skills, after approximately three to five years, your salary can rise to between GBP 35,000 and GBP 65,000 per year. When you work in the field for a significant period and held senior positions, your salary could grow to between GBP 80,000 and GBP 100,000 per year. 


Now that you know more about business analytics and what a career might look like, you may find some of our other guides helpful too. You can read about the post-study landscape for international students, in-demand careers, and the top five degrees for the future. If you think becoming a business analyst may be the career for you, find your ideal degree path to help you get there with our course matcher too. 


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