Master of Science in Business Analytics Practicum Program

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As part of the Master of Science in Business Analytics Program (MSBA), students complete a data analytics projectwith the guidance of a client in a partner company and an MSBA faculty mentorto reach maturity in data-driven decision making.

Master of Science in Business Analytics

The Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program provides rigorous training in scraping, querying, wrangling, and analyzing large data sets using descriptive, predictive and prescriptive techniques. The program includes intensive study in the following seven required courses and three electives:

  • Applied Multivariate Methods
  • Data Mining & Advanced Statistical Methods
  • Machine Learning for Business Analysts
  • Business Intelligence
  • Programming Languages for Analytics
  • Data Management for Analytics
  • Practicum Project

Students elect to take three advanced courses in a variety of domains: marketing, computer science, economics, finance, decision sciences, information systems, accounting, etc. The list of electives below is not exhaustive.

  • Natural Language Processing
  • Applied Time Series Econometrics
  • Mobile Applications
  • Marketing Analytics
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Digital Marketing

Practicum Scope and Structure

The practicum projects could encompass part of or an entire life cycle of data, such as from acquisition, assurance of quality, exploratory analysis, visualization to advanced analysis of data in the context of an organization’s strategic objectives.

  • Students complete a practicum project in their last semester of study, having already mastered the skills to answer subtle business questions using data and advanced analytical techniques to drive informed business decisions.
  • Students work generally in small teams.
  • Each student team is mentored by one expert faculty to ensure successful completion of the practicum projects. All teams are supervised by the practicum director as well.
  • Projects can be freestanding or part of a larger, ongoing strategic business effort.
  • Projects can be as short as two months long. The same team of students can work on a project for a whole semester (January – May or August – December). Each student works on a project for about 16 hours per week.
  • Summer internship with an MSBA student could segue into a practicum project.
  • Students complete the project for course credit to gain practical experience in analyzing real-world data.
  • Students with diverse skills are brought together to form teams.

Practicum Partners

Our practicum partners have been a combination of start-ups, large corporations, and non-profits. At San Francisco State University, a streamlined process allows organizations to easily integrate to campus and become partners.

How to Become a Partner

Becoming a partner is cost free and requires following a few simple steps. The practicum director guides client organizations to become practicum partners with the help of the staff at the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at San Francisco State University.

Towards the start of each academic semester, practicum partners are expected to provide the practicum director a brief description of the project such as the scope, expected outcomes and available resources. Certain skills required for the project, e.g., proficiency in a certain programming language, can also be specified.

The practicum director then matches the projects with students possessing the requisite skills and the faculty with a specialty in the domain of the project.

Practicum partners are expected to dedicate resources to ensure the successful completion of a project. A dedicated client at the partnering organization should be able to meet with and guide the students for a minimum of a half-hour per week.

Submit your project proposal by completing the Partner Organization Project Proposal Form.

Past Practicum Projects

For John Muir Land Trust, MSBA students used logistics regression to predict potential donors and to quantify the value of purchased private external data.

MSBA students at Zabble Inc., used machine learning to automate the manual process of collecting operational metrics on waste.

For Fidelity Investments, MSBA students conducted market research and competitor analysis, created a website with prominent features such as an interactive chatbot, investment quizzes, a full-fledged learning portal, a user survey to collect data. They determined the impact of graphics on user engagement through the use of A/B/n testing for the landing pages and Google Optimize.

For Intuition Intelligence, Inc., MSBA students generated demographic inference from social media data using machine learning.

MSBA students at Marin County Information Systems and Services analyzed and identified favorable open data adoption methods for e-governments.

Master of Science in Business Analytics Students

Our practicum partners can expect the MSBA students to work meticulously and efficiently on their practicum project and be able to communicate the data-driven insights clearly.

MSBA students are admitted to the program through a highly selective process, having been identified for their potential to succeed in the program among hundreds of applicants. In addition to the technical knowledge students gain in their course of study, collectively, they have the following technical or programming skills: MS Suite (Excel, Access, Word, PowerPoint), R, Python, JavaScript, Swift, HTML, C++, SQL, Java, Shell Scripting, Perl, COBOL, Matlab, SPSS, Tableau, AWS, Github, Salesforce, SAP HANNA, Hadoop, React, Node.js, Microsoft Azure, Oracle, Spark, MongoDB, SQLite, PosgreSQL, Hive, SAP NetWeaver, etc.

Master of Science in Business Analytics Faculty

The MS in Business Analytics program is led by faculty from the Decision Sciences, Information Systems, and Marketing departments. MSBA faculty have Ph.D.s in fields such as computer science, information systems, industrial engineering, operations research, statistics, and operations management from top accredited universities. Electives are taught by instructors with Ph.D.s in accounting, computer science, economics, finance, hospitality, management, marketing, and more.

Contact Us

If your organization needs more information, contact MS in Business Analytics Program Director and Finance Associate Professor Shengle Lin at

Submit your project proposal by completing the Partner Organization Project Proposal Form.