The return on investment for a master’s degree is often discussed in business-related fields, where grads can leverage an advanced education for promotions, new leadership positions, and other high-level opportunities in many industries, from finance and accounting to healthcare administration and business analytics. A 2017 survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council found that 96 percent of employers believe hiring recent business school graduates “creates value for their companies.”
Based on industry outlooks and salary reports, these four degree programs – all launching online this year through the Sawyer Business School at Suffolk University – are a few of today’s most in-demand business master’s degrees. Here is a brief introduction to each:
Master of Science in Accounting
This degree program prepares students for careers as CPAs or CMAs by introducing them to high-level accounting concepts and how they’re applied in the industry. Courses cover financial analysis and forecasting, data management, auditing, capital budgeting, and corporate valuation; and concentrations can include forensic accounting, data intelligence, corporate finance, and more.
The aim of most graduate-level accounting programs is to prepare students for the CPA or CMA exams, rigorous certification tests that are often required for pursuing advanced accounting roles. Professionals with a Master of Science in Accounting may work as CPAs, CMAs, forensic accountants, analysts, financial managers, and more. CPAs earn an average of 10 percent more than non-CPAs. The average annual salary for a CPA in 2017 was $119,000 (excluding bonuses), according to the Association of International CPAs. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 10 percent growth for accountants and auditors by 2026.
Master of Science in Finance
Those pursuing careers as designated CFAs, FRMs, and CMAs may pursue a Master of Science in Finance degree, which offers advanced education in investment management, corporate finance, and financial analysis and planning while preparing students for leadership roles in the finance industry. Courses are deep dives into data-driven financial analysis, financial theory, and ethical leadership.
Graduates may work in corporate finance, risk management, or investment, serving as CFAs, FRMs, financial managers and planners, and mutual fund managers. Financial analysts earn a median annual salary of $84,300, while managers earn $125,000 annually according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS also predicts that demand for financial managers will grow 18 percent by 2026.
Master of Healthcare Administration
The MHA Program prepares students to be effective leaders and managers of healthcare organizations. It nurtures each student’s potential through engagement with the key issues, challenges, opportunities and requirements for success in healthcare. Through cutting-edge academic and experiential learning, students gain the knowledge and skills to understand the dynamic healthcare environment, develop strategies, manage operations, build relationships, transform organizations, and strengthen organizational performance – all while keeping the needs of patients and providers front and center.
This program is tailored to meet the unique needs of students who work in healthcare and seek to strengthen their capabilities and advance their careers. It emphasizes knowledge and skill building in key areas of healthcare administration, including big data and analytics, performance improvement, innovation, strategy, and change management.
Graduates of this program work in not-for-profit, for-profit and public organizations representing a broad continuum of health and healthcare delivery, from ambulatory and acute care to post-acute and long-term care, as well as in consulting and insurance. This program integrates theoretical and practical knowledge, taking advantage of Boston’s world-class healthcare organizations to bring together the highest quality teaching, scholarship, research, mentoring and engagement in the healthcare community.
The demand for healthcare administration professionals will grow 20 percent by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which means that there will be abundant opportunities in the field.
Master of Science in Business Analytics
This degree program focuses heavily on data analytics in the business context. A quantitative-heavy and tech-savvy curriculum immerses students in today’s most popular analytical tools (SAS, SQL, Tableau, and more), programming languages (Python, Java, and R), and data visualization techniques. Grads leave this program with advanced business analytics knowledge and skills, ready to pursue work as management analysts, financial analysts, marketing research analysts, data engineers, or data scientists.
It’s an appealing degree to marketers, financial analysts, and aspiring business executives who are looking for more in-depth knowledge of big data analysis. Most programs combine high-level statistics skills with strategic business thinking, preparing professionals to dive into data and successfully communicate their findings.
As more companies gain unprecedented access to their own data, business analytics is a fast-growing and in-demand industry – the business analytics industry is expected to hit $71.1 billion by 2022, reports Reuters. Companies want professionals with technical aptitude and a strategic mindset, which is what business analytics programs excel in. According to Glassdoor, business analytics analysts earn an average salary of $73,046 and analytics manager earns an average salary of $109,170.
Business Master’s Degrees at Suffolk University
Students enrolled in these master’s degree programs offered through Suffolk University’s online Sawyer Business School gain real-world experience from professors who live and work in one of the world’s top global financial centers, Boston. (Accounting professors have worked for major firms like Deloitte, KPMG, EY and PwC, for example.) Coursework reflects current industry demand, and the school is accredited by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).
Online curricula allow professionals to pursue higher education while still working full-time, and the programs’ accelerated nature give students the advantage of earning their master’s degree from a nationally-ranked university at a faster pace than many other postgraduate programs.