Program Comparison and Review

I have received admits from the following Universities for Fall 2021 and now at the financial planning stage to fund my education abroad, but I am really confused as to which option I should go ahead with.

1. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign - MS Information Management (2 Years)
2. Northeastern University - MS Data Analytics Engineering (2 Years)
3. University of Florida - MS Information Systems and Operations Management (2 Years)
4. University of California Irvine- MS Business Analytics (1 Year)
5. University of California Riverside- MS Business Analytics (21k Scholarship) (1 Year)

Would want to go ahead with a program with Highest Return on Investment (ROI) and better Employment Prospects.

Need a review of these programs asap & guidance on which option to ahead with and what are the factors( Location, Employment, Course Curriculum, Program Duration etc) associated.

Please factor in that the duration of these programs is different and thus how much importance does program duration have on other factors?

Thank You

Hi @zeeshan13,

Program reviews that you requested -

1. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign - MS Information Management
The course is relatively new, introduced in 2016. The program has a holistic approach - will equip you with both practical and technical knowledge. Apart from four foundational courses (Data, Statistical Models and Informations, Sociotechnical Information Systems, and Information Modeling), you don’t need in-depth knowledge of programming or mathematics to get through the program. Also, the program is not purely STEM-designated, meaning it has elements of social sciences as well. As a result, some courses will require reading and writing. As far as the coursework goes, you can customize it to suit your career goals - enroll in other departmental courses, that is Non-iSchool courses.

Assistantships - the school is self-supporting, therefore, does not offer tuition-waiver generating assistantships. There are only graduate-hourly positions - on-campus jobs that may or may not be academic in nature. It also depends on the type of position you apply for.

Job opportunities - The college has not shared any data on the companies or recruiters where graduates end up working. They, however, have shared average salaries of their graduates -

More than 80% of the graduates found jobs after graduating. Major industries where graduates got placed are - Accounting, Automotive, Business Services, Banking and Financial Services, Consulting, Consumer goods, etc., in states like California, Washington, Illinois, and New Jersey.

To make you more employable, the college has experiential learning courses as well as programs to help you network. Further, you can sign up on their tool called Handshake, wherein you can upload your resume for potential employers. The tool will share entry-level jobs, hourly positions, internships, practicums, volunteer positions, and campus assistantships. So you can stay up-to-date.

Updating the rest of the reviews as well.

1 Like

Thank you @vishakha.bhagia for such an in-depth review. Would really appreciate it if you could post the rest of them soon.
Thanks again


2. Northeastern University - MS Data Analytics Engineering
In terms of internships and job opportunities, this college should be a top priority. The university has a Co-op program as part of your curriculum that will help you gain professional industry experience. The geographical location of the college is a major plus point. Alumni are placed in companies like Google, Amazon, Amazon Web Services, Goldman Sachs, Tesla, and many more big names.
In terms of the course and the knowledge, the curriculum is specifically designed with some of the main courses as - Engineering Probability and Statistics, Data Management for Analytics, Advanced Machine Learning, Deterministic Operations Research, etc.

The college has not provided any further information regarding the career prospects after this course. So, to give a more detailed review of the program, I have asked a few alumni for feedback. I will update you as and when I receive their response.

3) University of Florida - MS Information Systems and Operations Management
The program leans more towards the management instead of the technical aspect. You should go for the program if you are looking for a mix between management and technology with a greater emphasis on management skills. The program has four concentrations - Business Analytics, Data Science, Information Technology, and Supply Chain Management. With a bachelor’s degree in Business or Economics, you can complete the degree in minimum 3 semesters, not including summer.
If you want to go by ranking, the college and the department has a good ranking and reputation.

Job opportunities - Some of the companies that came for job placements are Accenture, AirWatch, Cameron, Deloitte, Ernst and Young, GE, IBM, KPMG, Raymond James, and more. To help students build a robust network, Career Resource Center and Business Career Services organize various fairs inviting different companies and firms. Apart from this, the college has a vast network of alumni and organizations such as ISOM Forum, GatorTech, and UF AIS to help students enter the job market easily. The college has not shared recent average salaries graduates receive, however, they reported $55K to $110K average salaries for the year 2017.

Internships - There are various fairs and career expos (you are advised to come with a CV)to bag an internship. Moreover, there are internships for credit if you get experience in the area of information technology, analytics and/or supply chain management. Though it won’t affect your overall GPA. Please note that international students without an undergraduate in business tend to have a few limitations in terms of on-campus internships.

4) University of California Irvine- MS Business Analytics
The college has a great geographical advantage, is one of the top universities on the West Coast - also a factor why UCI became a top-ranked business school. Plus, Orange County is a business hub. The program is technical with three main aspects - Data, Marketing, and Operations Analysis. You can select the electives across subject areas to suit your career objectives. The key feature of the program, though, is the Capstone project where you will work on real-life data with industry partners. It’s a six-month project. Some of the top companies such as Disney, KPMG, Blue Shield, Wells Fargo, etc., sponsor the project.

Job Opportunities - The college has a good track record for placements. More than 90% of the graduates in 2019 were placed within 6 months of graduation. Since its a one-year program, you’d need all the help you can get, which the college will provide you through individual career counseling, seminars, alumni network, and industry events.
I got the following data from the university website -

The average starting salary is $83,000, with the rest of the salary data as follows -
UCI MSBA Employment report -1

Coming to the faculty, it comes from a diverse background and are expert in their respective fields.

5) University of California Riverside- MS Business Analytics
Another top-ranked school, the MS in Business Analytics is jointly offered by the School of Business and the Department of Statistics in the College of Agricultural and Natural Sciences. The business school in itself has a good reputation. Coming to the program, it focuses most on statistical computing. The program differs from UCI MS in BA in a few aspects - it has 2 capstone projects and focuses on Financial Analytics, Marketing Analytics, and Operations Analytics. Out of the two, for an MS in BA, I would suggest UCI as it has a more perfect blend of management and technical. Whereas, the latter sits heavier on the general MBA coursework.

The college has a good placement record - 90% of the graduates got placed within 3 months. They have not reported the average salary for MSBA graduates, however, MBA average starting salary is $76,000, with recruiters like Deloitte, Disney World, Dr. Pepper, East West Bank, eBay, Ernst & Young, FBI, Freddie Mac, GE, HSBC, Hyundai, Intel, JP Morgan, KIA Motors, etc.

Hope this answer helps you in making an informed decision. For any further queries, do post them on the thread.
All the best!

1 Like

Thank You @vishakha.bhagia for the update.
Since I have narrowed it down to two programs UIUC-MSIM and UCR- MSBA**(with 21k Scholarship).**
So I’d request you for a head-to-head comparison and finally verdict between them based on Cost, Reputation, Location, and Employability factors.
Also, please factor in the batch sizes and international student numbers of both Programs.
Thanks again @vishakha.bhagia