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Hot MBA Jobs: Program Analyst

Program Analyst

If you are passionate about a range of topics, narrowing down a single career path can challenging. This is especially understandable given that the MBA education typically provides a strong and broad base of business knowledge. How can you help focus such a broad education into one career? If you have a strong business background as well as technological skill, you might want to consider a role as a Program Analyst.

With a job outlook that projects 21 percent growth to 2024 (a rate much faster than other industries), a position like Program or Computer Systems analyst could be perfect for someone with strong management skills and experience with technology.

What does a Program Analyst Do?

A program analyst is responsible for the design, development and implementation of an organization’s computer programming. Job responsibilities of a Program Analyst typically overlap with the jobs of a systems analyst and computer programmer. On the systems analyst side of the job, Program Analysts design and create software and computer systems, whereas Computer Programmer skills are used to implement the designs through the actual writing, updating and maintenance of existing programs. Program analysts should be able to stay on top of trends in technology so that an organization’s systems can be kept appropriately up-to-date.

The exact role of a program analyst will vary depending on the organization. Analysts may work with a particular computer system, whether financial, scientific or engineering, and find ways to customize the program for client. Analysts will also typically prepare cost analysis and help management determine how to create a system that is financially possible.

Top Skills for a Program Analyst

Problem Solving: Program Analysts will be required to work alongside clients to understand the need of each organization, and tailor the software to meet these needs. They must then develop software appropriate for each individual client, while also working within financial constraints.

Software Design and Fundamentals: A program analyst must have a strong foundation in software development, as they will be writing new programs, maintaining computer systems and perform repairs when necessary. Analysts must also stay up to date with professional and technical knowledge, often through attendance at educational workshops or participation in professional societies.

Analyzing Information: Program Analysts must be able to analyze many different sets of information, from the needs and constraints of a specific organization to the financial feasibility of the software they create.

Program Analyst and the MBA

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum education required for a role in program analysis, especially in a computer-related discipline such as engineering or mathematics. Mostly, a candidate must prove that they have the technical experience and skills required for the position.

Earning an MBA can be a great way to demonstrate technological aptitude while still revealing a strong base of business knowledge. Entering the field with an MBA can give applicants a competitive edge in the job market, while also proving management skills that may lead to long-term job growth. The average pay for the position in 2015 was $85,800 per year.

Best MBA Programs for a Career as a Program Analyst

  • Kellogg School of Management – Northwestern University: At the Kellogg School of Management, data analytics is offered a part of the MBA program. In addition, a number of executive programs are offered with a broad range of analytics-related focuses.

  • DeGroote School of Business – McMaster University: The DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University offers a number of classes tailored to students interested in the business analytics field. Last year, the school launched a new Executive MBA in Digital Transformation, which will serve as another option for students looking to focus their education on big data and strategic decision making.

  • Fox School of Business – Temple University: The MBA program at Temple’s Fox School of Business offers many facets which focus on business analytics and data interpretation. Each year, the school’s Global Center for Big Data in Mobile Analytics hosts a “Big Data Conference”, along with regular publication of business research.

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About the Author

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Alanna Shaffer

Staff Writer, covering MetroMBA's news beat for Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas.

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