PhD in Business Intelligence

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Who Gets One & What to Expect

Business professionals who are passionate about data analytics can consider earning a Ph.D. in business intelligence. Doctoral programs in business intelligence help students develop research methods that they can apply to analyze market trends.

As businesses grow and become increasingly global, organizations need skilled analysts to remain competitive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for market analysts to increase 14% from 2018-2028, much faster than the national average for all occupations. Analysts with a Ph.D. are often more competitive candidates for advanced positions in management and academia.

Reasons to Pursue an Online Ph.D. in Business Intelligence

Individuals pursue doctoral degrees for various reasons. Often, professionals need a doctorate to qualify for a certain position. However, some learners pursue doctoral studies simply to advance their knowledge of the discipline. Below are some common reasons that learners earn a Ph.D. in business intelligence.

  • Career ChangeProfessionals with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in another field can change their overall career after earning an Ph.D. in business intelligence online.
  • Personal GrowthA Ph.D. in business intelligence is the highest level of education available in the field and demonstrates the holder’s expert-level knowledge and skills.
  • Career AdvancementWhile a master’s degree can lead to management opportunities, candidates often need a Ph.D. to secure the highest leadership positions.
  • New SkillsContinuing their education and earning an advanced degree helps professionals gain new skills and explore theories related to the business intelligence field.
  • Increased Earning PotentialProfessionals with higher levels of education typically earn higher salaries. Individuals with a doctorate generally have higher earning potential than master’s degree-holders.

What Can I Do With an Online Doctorate in Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence is a broad field. Since each business is unique, professionals in the field must apply various methods, theories, and practices. Job titles often vary by employer and industry. However, regardless of industry, most business intelligence professionals use analytics to increase business efficiency. Additionally, individuals with a Ph.D. can qualify for teaching positions in postsecondary education.

Common Career Paths and Salaries

When researching potential career paths, learners should consider their interests within the field. Several careers require the specific skills and expertise that students gain during business intelligence Ph.D. programs. Below are some common career options for individuals with a doctorate in business intelligence.


  • Senior Business Intelligence Analyst

    These management-level analysts oversee a team of analysts. They often report directly to the head of the business. These professionals need advanced education and several years of work experience.

    Average Annual Salary: $88,289


  • Postsecondary Professor

    Many individuals pursue a Ph.D. with the goal of becoming a professor. Postsecondary professors teach courses in their discipline at colleges and universities. These professionals may earn tenure.

    Average Annual Salary: $86,796


  • Senior Data Analyst

    Senior data analysts need at least a master’s degree. Most data analysts work in finance and marketing. These professionals improve the efficiency of business strategies.

    Average Annual Salary: $79,281


  • Chief Executive Officer

    CEOs lead businesses and organizations. While these executive positions do not generally require a minimum education level, these professionals need strong leadership and management skills. Doctorate-holders are typically strong CEO candidates.

    Average Annual Salary: $158,371


  • Business Intelligence Developer

    This position incorporates computer science and business intelligence skills. These developers work with databases. Business intelligence developers need advanced education and professional experience.

    Average Annual Salary: $79,284


Source: PayScale

Business Intelligence Ph.D. Program Requirements and Outcomes

Students earning their Ph.D. in business intelligence online or on campus typically complete 33-42 credits. Many distance education programs allow learners to complete coursework primarily online in an asynchronous format. Full-time students typically earn their Ph.D. in 4-5 years, and few doctoral programs offer accelerated options.

Before committing to earning a Ph.D. in business intelligence online, learners should research the program’s in-person requirements. Doctoral students must often study on campus for a certain amount of time.

Applicants for doctoral programs in business intelligence must typically hold a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants generally need a minimum 3.0 GPA. Ph.D. programs rarely require applicants to submit GMAT or GRE scores.

Common Courses

While each Ph.D. program boasts a unique curriculum, all doctoral programs in the field help learners develop similar skills and proficiencies. Although specific courses vary by school, the classes below are common to many doctoral programs in business intelligence.

FOUNDATIONS FOR RESEARCH
This course prepares students to complete their dissertation. Learners gain research skills they can apply to nearly any business intelligence career.

DATA MINING AND PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS
Data mining involves collecting large sets of data, typically to find patterns. In this course, students learn data mining techniques and apply predictive analytics to data sets.

STATISTICS
Doctoral-level statistics courses emphasize the application of theories to practical scenarios. Coursework explores methods of determining probability. Students analyze statistical results to see if data matches existing hypotheses and learn to create working hypotheses based on data.

FINANCIAL DECISION MAKING
Business intelligence professionals need strong critical-thinking and decision-making skills. Financial decision-making involves analyzing risk and return and projecting potential outcomes to make sound financial decisions.

ENTERPRISE DATA COMPLEXITY
This course teaches students to effectively analyze complex enterprise data integration. Learners apply theoretical skills to practical business scenarios.

Other Requirements

In addition to completing coursework, Ph.D. students must fulfill additional requirements. Experiential, exam, and project requirements ensure that graduates of doctoral programs are experts in business intelligence. Requirements vary by program, but most Ph.D. programs in the field include the following components.


  • Residencies

    Residencies involve on-campus studies. Most programs require one or two years of residency, during which students attend seminars and lectures. Residencies also provide opportunities to network with business intelligence professionals.


  • Comprehensive Exam

    Near the end of their Ph.D. program, learners must often complete a comprehensive exam. These exams cover material from throughout the program. Schools may also require learners to take an exam in their concentration area. Comprehensive exams are typically pass-fail.


  • Dissertation

    Students begin researching for their dissertation during their first year of doctoral studies. Learners must submit their dissertation to be considered for graduation. Students may also take courses dedicated to their dissertation.


Skills and Competencies

Business intelligence professionals need certain skills and competencies to succeed in the field. Individuals gain these skills during academic programs and through professional experience. Earning a Ph.D. and continuing your career can help you develop expert-level skills and knowledge.

Critical Thinking

Business intelligence professionals need strong decision-making and critical-thinking skills. Professionals in the field must make quick, calculated decisions.

Communication

Individuals in the business intelligence field must communicate complex ideas to colleagues, employees, and students. These professionals need verbal and written communication skills.

Problem-Solving

Business intelligence professionals work to improve the efficiency of businesses. These individuals must identify problems, analyze data, and implement solutions.

Analytics

Business intelligence professionals and professors work with analytics. These professionals also need strong technology skills to perform analytics tasks using computers.

Statistics

After collecting and analyzing data, business intelligence professionals use statistics to measure risk and determine the best solution for each scenario.

Leadership

Many individuals with a Ph.D. pursue management and leadership roles. These professionals often oversee teams of business analysts and must apply leadership skills to ensure the productivity of these teams.

Business Intelligence Professional Organizations

Professional organizations can help individuals locate job opportunities, obtain certifications, and meet other business intelligence professionals. Most professional organizations require annual membership fees. Typical membership benefits include access to job boards, conferences, seminars, webinars, networking events, and industry research.

Joining a professional organization can benefit both students and professionals. To take full advantage of their membership, individuals can participate in boards and committees. Attaining a leadership position in a professional organization can bolster your resume and lead to job opportunities.

Some professional organizations are specific to the business intelligence field, while others target broader fields, such as data analysis. Individuals researching professional organizations should look for an organization that fits their career goals.

AFCEA

  • This organization connects military members, businesses, and scholars. Members receive access to military-approved certifications which emphasize intelligence and data security.

International Institute of Business Analysts

  • IIBA supports business analysts, including business intelligence professionals. The organization represents current educators and former leaders in the field, and members receive access to an extensive network of professionals.

Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals

  • SCIP works to become the global leader for intelligence professionals. SCIP offers in-person events, webinars, industry research, and tools related to business intelligence.

Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals

  • ICCP offers professional certifications, including the certified business intelligence professional credential. The organization encourages members to network and share ideas.

Transforming Data With Intelligence

  • TDWI provides resources to help data leaders motivate teams and move projects forward. Members receive the latest updates on industry trends, discounts on certifications, and access to a job board.

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