Business Analytics (BA)

Making business out of data

Alles draait tegenwoordig om data. Om de juiste beslissingen te kunnen nemen hebben organisaties daarom behoefte aan deskundige mensen met een scherpe analytische blik. Met Business Analytics kun je de kracht van data science, big data, statistiek en machine learning aanwenden om resultaten te optimaliseren en strategische doelstellingen te verwezenlijken. 

Je bekwaamt je in wiskunde, informatica en economie en beschikt daarnaast over zeer goede kwantitatieve en communicatieve vaardigheden. Met die bagage kun je een cruciale rol spelen in het succes van een organisatie. Door verbanden te leggen en oplossingen te creëren haal je het maximale uit datasets, zowel in het bedrijfsleven als in andere sectoren. Wie deze onmisbare vaardigheden tot in de puntjes beheerst, is zeer aantrekkelijk voor toekomstige werkgevers. Business Analytics is de sleutel tot een interessante internationale carrière.

Deze tekst vervolgt in het Engels, omdat de instructietaal van de opleiding Engels is.

In today’s data driven world, organizations need expert judgement and sharp analysis to ensure they make the right decisions. Business Analytics enables you to harness the power of data science, big data, statistics and machine learning to optimize results and achieve strategic objectives. 

Your ability to combine insights from mathematics, computer science and economics with highly developed quantitative and communication skills will make you key to the success of any organization. The connections you make and the solutions you create allow you to make the most of data assets in the world of business and beyond. 

With this essential expertise at your fingertips, you will be a hot property for prospective employers. Make Business Analytics your gateway to an international graduate career.

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Why study Business Analytics?

In a world where the data available to businesses is growing exponentially and corporate strategies are growing ever more complex, Business Analytics holds the key. This fascinating subject fulfils the enormous demand for data driven and mathematically sound solutions. 

What you will learn
Business Analytics is all about turning big data, data science and machine learning into smart decisions. You will learn

  • how to collate, clean and manipulate large data sets
  • how to analyse these data using statistics and data mining techniques
  • how to use your findings to predict the future and make optimal decisions

The programme offers a unique combination of mathematics, computer science and business administration. In addition to challenging you academically and giving you a firm theoretical foundation, there is a strong emphasis on developing your practical, collaborative and communication skills.

A broader, richer programme

Business Analytics goes beyond the focus on modelling, optimization and theoretical statistics which is typical of Econometrics programmes. It offers you a broader and richer learning experience. You will apply statistical analysis and forecasting methods, pinpointing the problems that arise in an organization and the action that needs to be taken. This makes you a versatile all-rounder with a skillset that makes you indispensable to every organization that has its sights set on the future.

Maths: part of the package

You don’t need to be a mathematical genius to thrive in the world of Business Analytics. That said, maths is an important part of the programme and you do need an aptitude for and an interest in maths to give you the strong quantitative and analytical background you need to succeed as a business analyst. For a detailed look at what you will be studying, take a look at the year schedule.

Thinking about becoming a Business Analytics Professional? Come to a taster day

Do you have a broad range of interests and above-average ability in natural sciences, particularly mathematics? And do you have a good command of the English language? In that case we would be happy to meet you during one of our taster days.

If you are looking for a degree that will be your springboard to an international graduate career, look no further. We estimate that around 95% of Business Analytics graduates go straight into full-time employment on completing their studies. And of course, studying in Amsterdam means you have a wealth of international business opportunities right on your doorstep.

In high demand
Both the private sector and the public sector are constantly looking for ways to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Your skills as a Business Analyst are in such high demand that you may even receive job offers before you graduate or at the company where you completed your work placement. And there’s more: even during your studies you can easily find yourself taking on a part-time job as a junior data analyst or programmer. While your fellow students are waiting tables or stocking shelves, you could well be generating extra income while picking up highly relevant work experience.

The world at your feet
A degree in Business Analytics opens the door to all kinds of career opportunities (see chart below). Major international companies such as Google, Booking.com or KLM are all on the lookout for talented Business Analysts. 

You could enter a graduate consultancy position with leading firms such as Deloitte, Accenture, EY and PwC. Or why not pursue a career as a datamining specialist or risk manager in the financial sector?
There are also prospects aplenty in the world of academic research . Much of the applied research generated by our partnerships with industry is carried out by our graduates who have pursued their academic ambitions at PhD level.

BA students after graduation 

If you wish to continue your studies after obtaining your Bachelor’s degree, VU Amsterdam also offers an outstanding two-year Master’s programme in Business Analytics. For other Master’s programmes, some of which have no or only a limited number of additional admission requirements, see www.vu.nl/masters.

Business Analysts are called on to solve an extremely varied range of issues. Here are just some of the strategies developed by our graduates: 

Predicting Passenger Demand (Evert Haasdijk)

In this project, the student used machine learning techniques to develop a model that predicts the demand for direct flights between European cities based on socio-economical data about the two cities. This was then used to identify profitable routes. Tests on data from previous years showed that the model identified routes that actually were established and became profitable. The model could also indicate pairs of cities where flights turned out to be unprofitable and have since been discontinued. Such models can help airlines decide where to plan new routes, and it can help airports to identify possibly profitable partnerships.

Placing of pickup locations for Sandd (Mark Hoogendoorn)

In the business case for Sandd, a mail delivery company, the students focused on exploring the possibilities for Sandd to start new pickup locations for packages throughout the Netherlands. Sandd has a huge network of mail delivery personnel and was interested to see whether providing pickup locations at the residencies of their personnel could provide a sufficiently dense network of locations such that they would provide better coverage compared to their competitors. The students built models to estimate the number of packages in neighborhoods and an algorithm to place pickup locations to maximize the coverage over the country. Based on the recommendations of the students Sandd now intends to start offering this service.

Forecast batch-run sizes of payments at ING Bank Nederland (Joost Bosman)

Payments at ING Bank Nederland are originating from different channels such as debit-cards, on-line, and corporate. Once a payment transaction has been submitted on-line you might get the impression that this payment has been processed immediately. Actually, the lowered account balance corresponds to a reservation that has been accumulated in a batch run. These batch runs run at fixed time instants and possibly grow large, especially during the days before Christmas and Easter. The students were given the challenging task to forecast batch-run sizes without knowledge of the underlying business processes.

Read more examples (pdf) of strategies developed by our graduates.

As a prospective student Business Analytics you will take part in the VU Matching Programme. VU Matching is an element of the application procedure for all bachelor degree programmes. It consists of two parts, you must fill out a digital questionnaire on VUnet and participate in a matching activity organised by the programme. The matching activity aims to give you a realistic idea of the content of the study, so you can determine if the study matches your expectations and, whether you have chosen the right programmes.

Dutch Nationals are expected to participate in the matching activity on campus. The invitations for this activity will be send by the end of April. The matching date for this programme is Thursday, May 31 2018 (start time 11:00 hrs, around 16:00 hrs drinks at the student association). Please save the date in your agenda.

International students are expected to participate in a digital matching activity once they are conditionally admitted. Invitations will be send in the beginning of March, by the end of April and in the beginning of June.

Note: Participation in the matching activity is mandatory for all Business Analytics students!

If you have questions about the matching activity, please contact the matching coordinator for the Faculty of Sciences: matching.beta@vu.nl. For general information about matching check out the website VU Matching [Dutch] or VU Matching [English].

Questions? Contact Jerry Timmer:
E: j.timmer@vu.nl

Bachelor information day
The Bachelor information day is an information day for high school students. On this day you get to know the VU and its various programmes at information stands and presentations. There are two Bachelor days a year. Because most Bachelors at the VU are in Dutch, you'll find that most information about other programmes is also in Dutch

A day as a student
Throughout the year we organize a ‘taster day (proefstuderen)’ on which you can learn more about the Business Analytics programme. Interested? You can register now.

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Contact our student ambassadors 

If you are wondering what it is like to live and study in Amsterdam from a current student perspective, do not hesitate to contact our student ambassadors; they would love to share their experiences with you!

How will you be spending your time?

Academic excellence and strong teamwork
The programme provides a dynamic educational mix with a strong emphasis on communication and teamwork. In addition to lectures and tutorials given by leading academics and top researchers, you will take an active part in two four-week projects each year, working as part of a small team. This culminates in your Bachelor’s project: you and your team will form your own company and work as consultants to tackle your most complex challenge to date.

To get a taster of your curriculum, check out this lecture on Statistical Data Analysis.

Thumbnail Schoolbord

Real-world business focus
As a future business analyst, the knowledge you gain is designed to be applied in practice. In your very first week on the programme, you will go into a company to address one of the issues it faces. Current, real-world business cases are an integral part of the entire programme (see Business Cases below for examples). What better way to enhance your career prospects and prepare yourself for the world of work?

Stepping up to Master’s level
The next step in your studies couldn’t be simpler. A Bachelor’s in Business Analytics offers you direct admission to the outstanding two-year Master’s programme in Business Analytics at VU Amsterdam. But the scope and the quality of the Bachelor’s programme leaves you ideally equipped to tackle other related Master’s degree programmes  at VU Amsterdam or other leading universities.

An overview of the bachelor Business Analytics can be found in our year schedule. The colors used in this year schedule indicate the multidisciplinary character of the bachelor Business Analytics.


The first year involves a number of subjects covering mathematics, computer science and business economics, where the primary focus is on mathematics. You will learn the basic principles of calculus and probability theory, programming, accounting, and decision-making based on mathematical modeling. Twice a year you will work on a project as part of a small team of fellow students. This helps to bridge the gap between theory and practice, allowing you to put your new knowledge to good use.



Courses
Period 1
Introduction to Business Analytics
Introduction to Programming (Java)
Calculus 1
Period 2
Introduction to Business Analytics
Introduction to Programming (Java)
Calculus 2
Period 3
Project Business Analytics 1
Sets and Combinatorics
Period 4
Probability Theory
Linear Algebra
Operations Research
Period 5
Probability Theory
Linear Algebra
Accounting
Period 6
Project Business Analytics 2
Risk Management


More information about the first year can be found in our course catalogue.

The second year again involves a number of subjects covering mathematics, computer science and business economics.  You will have more advanced courses allowing a shift towards a more realistic, data-driven setting. Again as in in the first year you will work on two projects as part of a small team of fellow students.


Courses
Period 1
Statistics
Stochastic Modeling
Advanced Programming
Period 2
Statistics
Stochastic Modeling
Finance
Period 3
Project Business Simulation
Period 4
Statistical Data Analysis
Dynamics and Computation
Business Intelligence and Analytics
Period 5
Statistical Data Analysis
Dynamics and Computation
Databases
Period 6
Project Big Data

More information about the second year can be found in our course catalogue.

In the third year, you can opt to take one of the ‘minor’ modules. This enables you to individualise the program according to your own interests and requirements. You might decide to take a minor in an entirely different discipline, thus adding breadth to your studies. Alternatively, you could follow the especially designed minor, deepening the knowledge of Business Analytics.

The Bachelor’s program culminates in a business case project. As part of a small team, you will attempt to solve a real-life business problem. You will visit the company concerned to gather the necessary information. Having arrived at your solution, you will give a presentation to management. The case study provides an excellent insight into the type of problems you will be asked to work on during your professional career.


Courses
Period 1
Minor
Period 2
Minor
Period 3
Minor
Period 4
Combinatorial Optimization
History of Science and Philosophy
Machine Learning
Period 5
Combinatorial Optimization 
History of Science and Philosophy
Scientific Writing, Study and Career
Period 6
Business Case

More information about the third year can be found in our course catalogue.

An overview of the bachelor Business Analytics can be found in our year schedule. The colors used in this year schedule indicate the multidisciplinary character of the bachelor Business Analytics.


The first year involves a number of subjects covering mathematics, computer science and business economics, where the primary focus is on mathematics. You will learn the basic principles of calculus and probability theory, programming, accounting, and decision-making based on mathematical modeling. Twice a year you will work on a project as part of a small team of fellow students. This helps to bridge the gap between theory and practice, allowing you to put your new knowledge to good use.



Courses
Period 1
Introduction to Business Analytics
Introduction to Programming (Java)
Calculus 1
Period 2
Introduction to Business Analytics
Introduction to Programming (Java)
Calculus 2
Period 3
Project Business Analytics 1
Sets and Combinatorics
Period 4
Probability Theory
Linear Algebra
Operations Research
Period 5
Probability Theory
Linear Algebra
Accounting
Period 6
Project Business Analytics 2
Risk Management


More information about the first year can be found in our course catalogue.

The second year again involves a number of subjects covering mathematics, computer science and business economics.  You will have more advanced courses allowing a shift towards a more realistic, data-driven setting. Again as in in the first year you will work on two projects as part of a small team of fellow students.


Courses
Period 1
Statistics
Stochastic Modeling
Advanced Programming
Period 2
Statistics
Stochastic Modeling
Finance
Period 3
Project Business Simulation
Period 4
Statistical Data Analysis
Dynamics and Computation
Business Intelligence and Analytics
Period 5
Statistical Data Analysis
Dynamics and Computation
Databases
Period 6
Project Big Data

More information about the second year can be found in our course catalogue.

In the third year, you can opt to take one of the ‘minor’ modules. This enables you to individualise the program according to your own interests and requirements. You might decide to take a minor in an entirely different discipline, thus adding breadth to your studies. Alternatively, you could follow the especially designed minor, deepening the knowledge of Business Analytics.

The Bachelor’s program culminates in a business case project. As part of a small team, you will attempt to solve a real-life business problem. You will visit the company concerned to gather the necessary information. Having arrived at your solution, you will give a presentation to management. The case study provides an excellent insight into the type of problems you will be asked to work on during your professional career.


Courses
Period 1
Minor
Period 2
Minor
Period 3
Minor
Period 4
Combinatorial Optimization
History of Science and Philosophy
Machine Learning
Period 5
Combinatorial Optimization 
History of Science and Philosophy
Scientific Writing, Study and Career
Period 6
Business Case

More information about the third year can be found in our course catalogue.

Admission and Application

Admission criteria and application procedure for international students can be found here.

To be admitted, you must hold a Dutch pre-university school diploma (VWO) or an equivalent to this, with a Mathematics B qualification or its equivalent. You will also need to supply proof of your English-language proficiency.

You can be admitted with the following Dutch profiles:

  • Natuur en Techniek
  • Natuur en Gezondheid (met Wiskunde B)
  • Economie en Maatschappij (met Wiskunde B)
  • Cultuur en Maatschappij (met Wiskunde B)
If you have a Dutch VWO diploma, then you will not be required to furnish further proof of your proficiency in English. If you do not have a Mathematics B qualification, then you can demonstrate your proficiency in maths by taking one of a number of equivalency exams (see Toetsen en taaleisen for more information)

You will be eligible for admission to the Bachelor's in Business Analytics with proof of sufficient proficiency in Mathematics (Mathematics B). You may be required to furnish further proof of you proficiency in English. Check Toetsen en taaleisen for more information.

Some international students are happy to tell you about their experiences with living and studying in Amsterdam. These Student Ambassadors come from all over the world and have attended various bachelor's and master's programmes.

Our student ambassadors are listed here on this webpage: vu.nl/ambassadors.

Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam!
Dutch applicants who do not fit the categories above and are 21 years of age or older can apply for a colloquium doctum (entrance exam), regardless of their school diploma.

For detailed information on the application process (in Dutch), please visit www.vu.nl/aanmelden.

All applicants must start the application procedure through the Studielink.nl portal. You will then receive an e-mail inviting you to complete your application in the VU student portal, where you will also be asked to submit all documentation needed for the admission procedure.

Deadline: Applicants with a Dutch secondary school diploma must apply before 1 May. You will be informed about your admission within four weeks after the completion of your application (including all required documents).

Apply for Business Analytics components as part of a program elsewhere

If you are studying at another university but wish to include one of VU Amsterdam’s Business Analytics subjects in your program, you must register separately. You can do so at the Student Desk in the Main Building. You will need the following documents:

    A completed application form (which you can obtain from the Student Desk or download from VUnet)
    A letter of permission from your own university or faculty
    Proof that you have paid tuition fees at your own university.

Please confirm your application at least four weeks prior to the start of the program by sending an e-mail to the Program Secretariat.

Contract education        

The Faculty of Exact Sciences offers contract education facilities whereby it is possible to take certain program components without registering as a student. Admissions are dependent on a intake interview with the study advisor must be approved by the Examination board.

Ready to apply?

Great! Please keep the deadline (1 May) in mind, and start applying through the Studielink.nl portal!

Samenvatting Business Analytics

Taal

Engels

Duur

3 years (fulltime)

Aanmelden Voor

1 May

StartDatum

1 September

Vorm

Deeltijd, Voltijd

Bindend Studie Advies

norm 42 EC

Specialisaties

 

VWO Profiel

NG/NT/EM/CM (with maths B)

Interessegebied

Economie, Recht en Bestuur
Informatica, Wiskunde en Bedrijf

TEDTalk Sandjai Bhulai

Bernard Vroom - KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Group Manager Operations Research/Data Science

'We see the Business Analytics programme at VU Amsterdam as an important partner. Many students do an internship at KLM, and we have also taken on a large number of working students at Master’s level. A large number ended up signing a contract with us on obtaining their degree. In my view, the power of Business Analytics is the combination of computer science and mathematics. These are vital ingredients for the projects we carry out. It comes as no surprise that most VU students we take on hit the ground running and are soon delivering exactly the kind of results we want to see.'

Bernard Vroom

Hinke Visser, alumnus Business Analytics

Senior Manager Risk Analytics, Deloitte Risk Advisory B.V

'I wanted to do something which combines mathematics and economics. Business Analytics is perfect. A key strength of the program is the projects, which allow you to put theory into practice. We carried out one project on investments and another on water management. You learn to approach economic problems from the mathematical perspective.'

Foto Hinke Visser

Stefan van Duin - Deloitte Consulting

Director of Analytics & Information Management

'Business Analytics is a perfect preparation for a career as a Data Scientist. It connects technical and mathematical insights with business acumen, which is exactly what you need in practice. At Deloitte we call business analysts ‘purple people’: versatile professionals who combine ‘red’ skills like programming and mathematical reasoning, with ‘blue’ skills like communication, visualization and storytelling. Many Business Analytics graduates are successful members of our Advanced Analytics team, working on complex strategic projects for major multinationals in the fields of marketing, finance or operations, where they apply a wide range of big data and machine learning techniques.'

Stefan van Duin

Seada van den Herik

Alumnus Business Analytics

afbeelding Seada

Click here to read the article with alumna Seada van den Herik

Adnan Fiaz

Senior Data Scientist at Mango Solutions, London

'As a data scientist I use mathematics and computer science to take on complex business challenges and communicate the results to the relevant stakeholders. This usually involves taking on many different roles. You can be a software developer, researcher, business analyst or project manager at different points in time. If the Business Analytics program has taught me anything it is the ability to switch between these roles and look at a problem from different perspectives. Of course the mathematical and technological foundation are also essential. However what has benefited me the most is the focus on applying your knowledge to real use cases'.

Adnan Fiaz

Aziz Mohammadi

Director of Advanced Analytics, VodafoneZiggo

'My name is Aziz Mohammadi and I am currently the director of Advanced Analytics within VodafoneZiggo, leading a team of 14 Data Scientist to turn our big data into big value. I graduated back in 2008, specializing in data mining and machine learning. This master was the perfect choice for me because of its all rounded nature. It taught me the fundamentals of programming, combined with a solid basis in both statistics/maths, finished off with a touch of finance. This was more than enough to land my first job as a data scientist within ING, where I used these skills and knowledge from day one to analyse data and make impact. I can recommend anyone who is looking for a career in the field of (advanced) data analytics to take a look at the Business Analytics master. It has all the right ingredients to prepare you for a great career in this field.'

Foto Aziz Mohammadi

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