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If you have a passion for helping organizations improve their operational efficiency, becoming a management analyst could be the perfect career path to consider. With an advanced degree in finance or business and a solid understanding of management principles, you can assist organizations in improving various aspects of their operations to reach company goals.
Let’s take a deeper look at management analyst jobs, including common responsibilities, education requirements, and average salaries.
What You Need to Become a Management Analyst
A management analyst’s primary goal is to help businesses improve their efficiency. Understandably, this requires them to have a wide skill set. As the Society for Human Resource Management highlighted in its management analysis job description, individuals in this role must be experts on a company’s unique operations and be adept at decision-making.
Management analysts typically work for a consulting firm, business, or government agency. Their expertise is needed in many different verticals, such as retail goods, banking, and technology. An organization usually seeks assistance from management analysts to find areas where it can improve its bottom line. At a high level, an analyst should have a solid understanding of financial principles and company goals, and expertise in the vertical they are serving. Similarly, they must be well-versed in database management, user interface software, and ERP tools that can help them understand business processes and identify areas for improvement.
An analyst must excel at active listening and critical thinking. Not all firms or agencies may have a clear goal in mind or be able to articulate their expectations, so an analyst must be able to use the information they have to create a workable strategy. They should also have strong written and verbal skills so they can explain the plan to a board clearly and succinctly.
Management analysts must seamlessly blend their analytical and data-oriented thinking with strong communication and problem-solving skills. Their job function requires them to take on the responsibilities of a data analyst, business analyst, and market research analyst to provide organizations with the best strategic recommendations. For instance, both a business analyst and management analyst are responsible for using data to inform strategic business decisions. However, the latter is usually brought in as a consultant and focuses more on how to make the business more profitable.
An MBA and Certified Management Consultant designation are also preferred for those in this role. Higher education polishes an analyst’s abilities to prepare them for the professional world.
A Day in the Life of a Management Analyst
As a management analyst, each day can bring new challenges and opportunities. However, there are some responsibilities that are consistent depending on experience level.
Most entry-level management analysts are required to collaborate with a team to develop and manage standard business practices and processes. Individually, they may be asked to create business analyses (like SWOT), gather data, and learn more about organizational functions. It’s understood that management analysts early in their career are still developing their skills, so they will work closely with others in the business to ensure their analyses, metrics, and reports are correct.
More senior analysts, including those who may enter the field with an advanced degree, will perform many of the same core functions, like gathering and organizing data on problems and processes. However, they often have more autonomy when it comes to running analyses and providing strategic recommendations. SHRM outlined some of the other tasks senior management analysts are expected to complete daily, monthly, or annually depending on a company’s needs:
- Collaborate with other teams: Identify the strengths and weaknesses of a business by assessing its current relationships and daily procedures.
- Conduct varied analyses: Help clients understand the financial costs of their current workflows and other departmental processes to determine where resource usage can be improved.
- Collect and organize information: Review the findings of their analysis and other collected data and translate it into a meaningful report for the client.
- Facilitate internal integration: Bring various departments or client branches together to communicate ideas and strategies. An organization is more efficient when internal collaboration is enabled.
- Training: With experience at a company or consulting firm, senior analysts are tasked with training their junior counterparts. They may oversee their work and delegate tasks to understand their strengths and weaknesses.
- Make recommendations: With the data they have collected and business practices they have witnessed, they recommend improvements to an organization’s strategy. Many businesses turn to a management analyst when they need a better budget strategy, but they could also be seeking advice for how to improve their workflows, forms, reports, data collection methods, investment strategy, or staffing.
- Measure success: Promote, track, and measure employee and executive compliance with the proposed changes to see if there are still areas for improvement. A management analyst may need to make recommendations for further adaptations for continual progress.
No matter their experience level, a management analyst will work with an organization to increase its efficiency. All the while, they will enable internal collaboration and executive change to align everyone with newly identified corporate objectives.
The need for management analysts is expected to increase over the next decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that from 2019 to 2029, employment for this position is projected to grow 11%. This is much faster growth than the national average for all occupations, especially for those in business.
Much of this increase in demand comes from organizations’ perpetual need to improve their efficiency and control costs. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made the need for management analysts even more clear for businesses that are now seeing the effects of their hasty budget cuts. At the end of March, when organizations were in the midst of nationwide shutdowns, Human Resource Executive reported that 4 in 10 companies were freezing or reducing their hiring, while 1 in 10 employees were experiencing reduced hours or salaries.
A management analyst has the expertise and data-driven insights to help organizations make the best resourcing decisions for their needs, including where they can reasonably cut costs. As economic uncertainty continues, analysts with these skills are invaluable for organizations that are recovering and trying to regain their financial footing.
A management analyst can choose to specialize in a certain industry or subject area, but their skills will be sought by a number of different organizations. From government agencies needing a budget analyst to consulting organizations and insurance companies looking to improve their processes, their knowledge can help them become more efficient.
Management Analyst Salary Estimates
A management analyst salary reflects their experience, responsibilities, and location, but the median salary for this position was $85,260 in May 2019, per BLS data. While an analyst can likely ask for more compensation if they have an MBA and years of experience in the field, it’s also important to know how analyst salaries vary by state.
A map published by BLS shows that the top five states with the highest salary for a management analyst include:
- New York: $112,280
- Massachusetts: $110,390
- District of Columbia: $107,000
- New Jersey: $106,380
- Connecticut: $105,480
Of course, the cost of living is also higher in these states. For this reason, it’s important to note that Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington also have a high average management analyst salary and above average demand. When looking for a place to begin a career in the United States, keep this information on salary ranges in mind.
How an MBA Can Help Kickstart Your Career
A bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or other another business-related field is required to become a management analyst, but an MBA or other master’s degree is preferred. Like with most business positions, having an advanced degree and several years of work experience can help further your career. An Online Master of Business Administration can provide you with leadership skills and research capabilities, with a focus on finance, that will prepare you for success in this fast-paced field.
The 100% Online MBA at Northeastern University offers an innovative, experience-powered business education with the flexibility you need. A management analyst must have expertise in many areas, and that’s why Northeastern’s MBA program seamlessly blends technology, data analysis, and human skills into one curriculum. Through an entrepreneur’s lens, students learn invaluable capabilities that will help them excel in the current era of digital convergence and secure a strong base salary.
To learn more about the Online MBA program and its admission requirements, contact an enrollment advisor today.
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