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MScBusiness Analysis & Consulting (distance learning)

Why this course?

Organisations across the world are looking to gain a sustainable competitive edge in an increasingly difficult environment. The smarter organisations are using business analysis to make better decisions and deliver business performance and improvement.

 

That means more than just collecting and routinely processing large amounts of business data. It means applying sophisticated quantitative techniques to help with decisions, particularly at the strategic levels.

This distance learning course focuses on applying advanced analytical methods to business problems to help managers make better decisions.

You’ll develop an understanding of key quantitative business analysis methods. You’ll also be introduced to business models used to support the development of strategy for organisations and to help them to monitor and measure strategic processes. You’ll also develop key consulting skills to effectively support management.

You’ll study

All classes are taught using material presented via the internet. Classes are supported by faculty members who also teach on the full-time course. They will guide and support discussion via discussion forums.

The programme contains three stages. In progressing towards completion of the MSc students will undertake the following:

Postgraduate Certificate in Business Analysis & Consulting

This includes five compulsory classes and one elective class all of which can be completed fully online.

Compulsory classes
  1. Foundations of Operational Research & Business Analysis
  2. Quantitative Business Analysis
  3. Managing Business Operations
  4. Spreadsheet Modelling & Demand Forecasting
  5. Strategy Modelling & Management
Elective classes

One optional class chosen from:

  1. Business Simulation Methods
  2. Risk Analysis & Management
  3. Business Information Systems
  4. Performance Measurement & Management

Postgraduate Diploma in Business Analysis & Consulting

After completion of the Postgraduate certificate two further elective classes and one compulsory class are required to be undertaken.

Compulsory class
  1. Becoming an effective business analyst
Elective classes

Two elective classes chosen from same list as for the Postgraduate Certificate.

If you wish to proceed to the Postgraduate Diploma you need to be in appropriate employment. The final decision as to what is "appropriate employment" remains with the University of Strathclyde. However, if your employment covers all of the following, you're likely to be in the correct type of post:

  • solving problems owned by someone else
  • ill-defined problems
  • working in teams
  • the opportunity to use a variety of Business Analysis techniques
  • your work has an influence on the operation of your organisations

Your employment should require some analysis of business situations, in the private or public sector. Samples of your work will form the basis of reflection and learning projects, guided by a personal mentor.

MSc in Business Analysis & Consulting

Students who complete the Diploma and gain sufficient marks to proceed to the MSc will be expected to undertake a project. The project will be integrated with your employment. You'll have individual personal mentoring to guide you in reflection and learning.

Technical requirements

To undertake this course you need to have:

  • Modern PC running Windows Vista or higher, web cam, headset with microphone
  • Minimum 2Mb/sec broadband connection
  • Microsoft Excel 2010 or higher

NB: Some of the course software is Windows-only and will not run under Linux or on Macintosh computers so use of a PC or PC-emulation software is essential if these operating systems are used.

Start dates

You can start the Certificate programme in October or April. The Diploma course usually runs between September and May, though there is some flexibility with this. It's followed by the project which has a flexible timetable.

Normally, a student should be able to complete the MSc programme in around two and a half years. Please contact us if you need advice about the best start date for you.

Course content

Compulsory classes

Foundations of Research & Business Analysis
This class will explore the generic problem solving process which underpins the provision of decision support. In particular, it'll consider the role of modelling in that process. The activities of problem structuring, data collection and analysis, identification and evaluation of options, communication and implementation of learning, findings and recommendations will each be discussed along with the issues pertaining to each of them.
Quantitative Business Analysis

Quantitative Business Analysis runs over one semester but in two parts. The first part provides an introduction to the basic theory and application of statistical modelling. Topics covered included data analysis, probability theory, distributions and moments, estimation and hypothesis testing.

The second part focuses mainly on two areas - regression modelling and multivariate analysis. While key background theory will be presented, the emphasis is on the generation and interpretation of output from commercially available software.

Background reading for Quantitative Business Analysis

Managing Business Operations
This class teaches essential principles, tools and techniques of Operations Management – both in general and as applied to specific manufacturing or service businesses. A section of the class focuses on service operations, where specific subjects and operational issues surrounding services will be discussed.
Spreadsheet Modelling & Demand Forecasting

This module will demonstrate how spreadsheets can be used to support the analytical techniques whose theory is taught on other modules. For example, forecasting, simulation, optimisation, data analysis, as well as being used to support technical report writing.

Most prominence is given to demand forecasting and you'll be introduced to different types of forecasting technique for short term smoothing through to decompositional analysis. These methods will be implemented using spreadsheet models.

Strategy Modelling & Management
This module builds on a number of earlier taught skills, in particular the problem structuring element covered in Foundations of Operational Research and Business Analysis as this provides a basis to qualitative modelling for managing uncertainty and multiple perspectives along with becoming an effective business analyst. This class aims to specific subjects and operational issues surrounding services will be discussed.
Becoming an Effective Business Analyst

The class will consist of three key elements:

1. A series of semi- or unstructured business problems, typically introduced by a manager from an outside organisation. The business problems will typically relate to a topic/technique recently covered in one of the other modules.

2. Experience is augmented, and integrated with, the rest of the course by a series of workshops on directly related topics that will provide guidance on key skills development.

3. A period of 3 weeks spent as an apprentice business analyst in an organisation.

Elective classes

Business Simulation Methods

The module will focus on the main two forms of business simulation; discrete-event simulation (DES) and system dynamics (a continuous simulation technique). For DES, the class will start with an introduction, aiming to familiarise students with the concept and its use.

It continues with discussing a rational approach to simulation using a number of examples from manufacturing and service operations. For system dynamics the class will provide a background to system dynamics including its links to other modelling techniques being taught on the course, in particular, its links to problem structuring methods.

Risk Analysis & Management

This module will explore the entire process of structuring a risk problem, modelling it, supporting and communicating recommendations, both theoretically and in practice.

Risk management is linked with decision analysis in so far as we explore decision making under uncertainty and it has links with quantitative business analysis as we explore the use of statistics in understanding risk. However, the topic has some unique attributes such as risk communication and the role that experts play in risk assessment.

Business Information Systems

The class adopts a process-based approach; i.e. all discussion follows the logic of the business processes. After having the business and IS context of the knowledge work introduced, the various types of IS, namely the databases, ERP systems, knowledge-based systems, corporate portals, collaboration support systems.

The course will provide you with conceptual knowledge introduced in the lectures, as well as hands-on experience gained in tutorials using appropriate packages of the various IS categories.

Performance Measurement & Management

The class focuses at the strategic, organisational level of PMM while providing the essential knowledge and skills at the technical level.

The module starts with presenting the background to performance measurement to provide you with an understanding of the roots of some of the common problems in measuring and managing performance in organisations. This will follow with discussing PMM from five different but highly inter-related perspectives, namely stakeholder, customer, comparative, operations and integrative perspectives.

Project/Dissertation

The MSc project is the most substantial and independent piece of work you'll carry out during their course. Prior to starting the project, you'll attend a workshop on methodology; the purpose of this workshop is not to equip you with methods for your research but rather to develop a sense of orientation and set the tone for the independent work.

You'll then contact your client and your supervisors and manage the whole relationship with them. The projects vary but they typically involve understanding the real-life problem through problem structuring, identifying the data requirements, review of the relevant domain literature, making methodological choices based on arguments from the methodology literature, data collection, appropriate data analysis and modelling, developing and presentation of findings and recommendations.

Learning & teaching

All classes are taught using material presented via the internet. Classes are supported by faculty members who also teach on the full-time course. They'll guide and support discussion via forums.

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

As a registered student on this programme you will have full access to our user-friendly VLE. Benefits of using the VLE include:

Anytime, anywhere learning

At home, at work, on the move, in an internet cafe - all you need is your username and password.

Access to tutors throughout your course

Unlike many other online courses, you're not simply given your materials and left to get on with it. You're a full student of the University of Strathclyde. Tutor support is equal to that on our other, face-to-face, courses. Tutors and support staff include lecturers and academics whose prime concern is your progress through the course.

Continuously updated, dynamic, interactive online materials

We constantly update and revise our material.

Online group discussions

Group discussion is an integral part of the learning process on the all of our distance programmes. Some issues are developed best by peer discussion, often with tutor involvement.

Live question & answer sessions

Classes often have a "Question& Answer" session, broadcast live by video, audio and text. This is an opportunity for students to ask questions in a group forum. These sessions are archived on the website for those unable to be present at the time.

Live conferencing

Several sessions of the Postgraduate Diploma are conducted using live conferencing and online collaboration software such as Elluminate and FlashMeeting.

Assessment

Each module includes two pieces of assessment. Around half of these will be assignments and the other half will be by examination at local centres.

Entry requirements

Applicants for the Certificate should normally hold at least the equivalent of a UK pass degree.

Students from a wide variety of first degrees are accepted onto the course. Many students have first degrees in business, economics, engineering and the social sciences. However, we also encourage applications from other degrees.

English language requirements

In addition to academic qualifications, you must also be able to show that you have a sufficient grasp of English. If English is not your first language you'll need to provide evidence of your proficiency before you can begin the course. See the University's English language requirements webpage for details of what is required.

Do I need to know lots of mathematics or statistics to join the course?

The Business Analysis & Consulting course is designed to take students with a wide variety of first degrees. Although some quantitative analytical tools are taught and used during the course, only basic mathematical knowledge is necessary before starting the course. Many students in this course have first degrees in business, economics, engineering and the social sciences. However, we have students from other backgrounds as well.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Scotland/EU

2017/18
  • Stage 1: £7,500 (Postgraduate Certificate)
  • Stage 2: £4,750 (Postgraduate Diploma)
  • Stage 3: £1,750 (MSc)

Rest of UK

2017/18
  • Stage 1: £7,500 (Postgraduate Certificate)
  • Stage 2: £4,750 (Postgraduate Diploma)
  • Stage 3: £1,750 (MSc)

International

2017/18
  • TBC

How can I fund my course?

Scholarship search

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students starting in 2017 can apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England can apply for Postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Wales

Postgraduate students starting in 2017 who are ordinarily resident in Wales can apply for support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. We are waiting on further information being released about this support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students starting in 2017 who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland can apply for support from Student Finance NI. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. We are waiting on further information being released about this support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

International students

We have a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

Careers

The skills you’ll learn on the MSc make you very marketable to potential employers.

We’ve very good links with business and have hosted recruitment events for many companies, including Barclays Wealth, British Airways, Deloitte, Morgan Stanley, Rolls Royce, Sopra and SIMUL8, to name a few.

Contact us

Apply

Business Analysis and Consulting - Distance Learning

Qualification: PG Certificate, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: distance learning, part-time

Business Analysis and Consulting - Distance Learning - April

Qualification: PG Certificate, Start date: Apr 2018, Mode of delivery: distance learning, part-time

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