Earning a Ph.D. in Business Intelligence Online

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Become Team
July 24, 2019

An online doctoral program in business intelligence prepares graduates for exciting careers in today's technology-driven society. The field increasingly needs professionals who analyze and apply big data, creating a high demand for positions throughout industries like government, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. Most students who enroll in a Ph.D. in business intelligence online program demonstrate a strong interest in research and writing.

Online studies generally permit greater flexibility than on-campus classes, and can also provide students more choices when it comes to when and where they attend school. If you can communicate effectively in a virtual environment, manage your time efficiently, and think both independently and collaboratively, then consider yourself an outstanding candidate for an online program.

What Can You Do With a Ph.D. in Business Intelligence?

A Ph.D. in business intelligence online program primarily equips you for a career as an academic or a researcher. Your options can include a position in a university, a think tank, government, or business analytics unit of a corporation. These roles require technical know-how, business knowledge, and interpersonal skills.

Potential Careers and Salaries

A career in business intelligence affords you the freedom to choose the industry and career that most intrigue you, as every field demands professionals who possess this expertise. For example, an interest in healthcare policy or educational reform might lead to a position in which you use data to ensure hospitals and school systems operate with greater efficiency. A strong desire for a career in information technology could lead to a career as a system administrator in a small, midsize, or large corporation. That role might still require you perform business intelligence functions.

Some graduates of business intelligence Ph.D. online programs prefer to pursue an academic career within a university. This means they teach courses and may also undertake sponsored research to contribute to the field. Research can also lead to publication in scholarly journals and technical periodicals. Universities may require professors or other instructors to have experience as a business intelligence specialist before teaching the subject, so review any other requirements you must meet to qualify for this career.

Business Intelligence Analyst

Annual Median Salary: $67,263

This professional performs data modeling and application analysis. In addition, they source information from data warehouses and databases to promote sharing among multiple data systems. Their work allows management staff to work more collaboratively. The role requires 1-2 years of experience in a supervisory role.

Business Intelligence Architect

Annual Median Salary: $110,369

An expert in this role supports and improves the business intelligence data backend. They decide the best platforms and correct functioning for an organization's data warehouse. They also process large amounts of information to make informed decisions based on intelligence findings.

Business Intelligence Consultant

Annual Median Salary: $84,593

This position helps organizations collect, organize, and leverage computerized data to drive business solutions. Responsibilities include assessing systems and software installation. In addition, they make program modifications to meet business goals and understand the balance between customer requests and technical constraints.

Business Intelligence Developer

Annual Median Salary: $78,720

These professionals must be experts in data, as the profession entails working with various software and myriad databases. This position designs data models and information technology solutions to ensure users receive necessary information, and also develops and analyzes data architecture.

Business Intelligence Manager

Annual Median Salary: $101,578

These managers implement, embed, and extract data from across an organization's data warehouses to drive data quality for end users. Moreover, they oversee teams of analysts that employ statistical methods to solve quantitative business challenges, and aim to increase profitability.

Source: PayScale

Traits of a Successful Business Intelligence Analyst

After completing a Ph.D. in business intelligence online, graduates must possess careful attention to detail and the ability to analyze large amounts of data by reviewing market, product, and share trends. Furthermore, you must communicate the findings of that analysis in a way that accurately captures the most important information necessary to inform sound decision-making. Excellent time management skills also allow you to ensure the efficient flow of information to those that rely on your knowledge.

In addition, this career requires exceptional people skills to work closely with colleagues, suppliers, and competitors. You must listen carefully and attentively, and also understand how to manage stakeholder relationships.

Professionals rely on reasoning and logic to determine the weaknesses and strengths of various solutions and approaches to problem-solving. This allows them to make reasoned decisions based on what they know and learn about situations.
In addition to communicating in writing and speech, business intelligence analysts must give others their full attention when they speak. This may include asking follow-up questions and not interrupting the speaker so they can fully express their thoughts.
Analysts must be able to process complex business language in the documents they read. They should also be able to explain these concepts to people who lack their expertise.

Steps to Earning a Ph.D. in Business Intelligence Online

Most students pursuing a Ph.D. in business intelligence online follow a similar path as they progress through their program. This path may vary somewhat depending on the school and program you select.

Find the Right Program for You

Think carefully about the program that best aligns with your professional interests. Explore the various courses available, examine the program's faculty and their expertise, and determine if the subject matter adequately prepares you for your career. In addition, try to speak with current students and recent graduates to learn about their experiences, and how it prepares them for their professional pursuits. Moreover, decide if you prefer a fully online program or one that blends online and on-campus courses.


Admission to accredited business intelligence Ph.D. programs online typically requires submitting an application and providing evidence you earned at least a bachelor's degree. Some programs might also mandate previous professional experience. Most Ph.D. programs require applicants to write a personal statement that outlines the reason for pursuing these studies and describes professional aspirations. You might also need letters of recommendation from college professors and supervisors who can attest to your skills and talents.

Capstone, Dissertation, or Thesis

Many programs require learners to complete a capstone project to demonstrate their ability to integrate all of their learning throughout the program. The project might require devising a solution to a real-world challenge in a professional setting in order to practically apply your textbook lessons. A capstone project may be an independent endeavor, a group undertaking with classmates, or a combination of the two. Moreover, business intelligence Ph.D. online programs require you to draft and defend a dissertation after researching a topic of your choice.

Fellowship or Internship

Undertaking an internship during your studies permits an opportunity for hands-on learning that builds on lessons learned in class. You may or may not receive pay for it. In addition, you might earn a postdoctoral fellowship after graduation that provides further training. It generally includes a salary and may make funds available for research in a particular area of interest.

Curriculum for an Online Ph.D. in Business Intelligence

Business intelligence Ph.D. online programs engage learners in studies that explore topics like project management, business analytics, supply chain management, and operations. Coursework also sharpens students' analytical modeling and empirical analysis, while data mining, probabilistic modeling, and statistics support professionals in the field when they confront challenges. In many instances, programs require students to complete an internship so they develop workplace competencies and understand how to manage themselves and others. While the courses for business intelligence Ph.D. programs online vary, most offer a similar curriculum.

  1. Business Research Methods: This course introduces students to the fundamentals of defining a problem and devising the process to research it. This may include qualitative and quantitative approaches in addition to survey research, observation, and experimentation. The class focuses on using software like SPSS, MathLab, and SAS.

  2. Enterprise Database Management: This class introduces hands-on learning in managing databases. Learners explore the foundation of database design, as well as the implications of organizational database use. Furthermore, students learn to design and maintain organization-wide database systems. Additional topics explore multidimensional databases and data warehousing.

  3. Data Structures and Algorithms: This course explores the foundations of algorithms and data structures in-depth, including their definition, design, and analysis techniques. The class also examines an array of data structures such as hash tables, linked lists, storage allocation, and tree organizations. Students must complete assignments to practically apply their knowledge and skills.

  4. Machine Learning: This class introduces students to this topic, including both the theory and application of machine learning in the workplace. Learners work with real data as they explore topics like Bayesian classification, unsupervised learning, decision trees, and logistic regression. The course requires several programming assignments in addition to a class project.

  5. High-Performance Computing: This course helps learners understand probability, data analysis, and statistics from an information systems viewpoint. It covers the techniques data scientists frequently employ for web, business, and data analytics. Students conduct MATLAB, Python, and R-based data manipulation, and study the fundamentals of estimation, special distribution, and sampling.


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