Changing careers a bit
July 2, 2014 12:50 PM   Subscribe

How to be a Business Analyst (this is most likely my question)

I am a marketing manager but I am finding myself liking analysis more and more. I love diving into tons of data and looking for nuggets.

So I would like to be a Business Analyst.

Can hivemind refer me to classes/skills I need to do so. Do I have to be a financial wiz? (I have an MBA already). Any short term courses suggestions would be very helpful especially around SQL (i.e. if you think I need it)

Many thanks.
posted by jellyjam to Work & Money (4 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Check out some data science courses on coursera to start.

Do they have a role at your company that would be a role you'd like to do? Talk to the folks working there. Show your interest.
posted by sandmanwv at 12:53 PM on July 2, 2014

If you have an MBA that's sufficient to prove you can do basic data chopping. What you need is a portfolio of analyst projects that you've worked on: with pretty charts and graphs. Then you're a Marketing Analyst! At that point there's no reason you couldn't apply for BA jobs in a lot of fields (not Finance, but that a whole different level of math).
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:03 PM on July 2, 2014

I work in accounting software on the technical side, and the one thing every BA I meet has is rockstar-level Excel skills. I have a friend who can do things with Excel that I can't replicate with a $15K reporting tool, SQL, and a developer who owes me some favors.

Finance is sort of straightforward, in the sense that there is a framework for just about every kind of financial report, and you met all of them in grad school. Being able to analyze ordering, response, trends, demand etc are pretty much always going to depend on internal definitions, so an ability to assess requirements and create definitions is more important than book-learning there.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:26 PM on July 2, 2014

I am a BA. You want SQL, SQL and more SQL. Excel skills are good but doing things programmatically is often better. Learning Python or R could also be helpful depending on what level of statistical rigor you are applying to your data. Python is also nice because you don't need to wait for a DB admin to load a file for you to be able to look at it.

When I interview BAs to come work at my company, I'm looking for three things: technical/quantitative competence (understanding of math and knowledge of or ability to learn SQL), communication skills (can you tell the business/marketing/sales folks about the interesting quantitative result that you found?) and time/project management skills (if we give you a variety of things to do will you prioritize them well and ask for help when you need it?).
posted by Aizkolari at 9:11 AM on July 3, 2014 [6 favorites]

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