Jump to body content. Jump to course search.
Postgraduate Courses 2017/18

Business Analytics - MSc



Gain in-depth knowledge of analytical and predictive modelling skills as well as management, communication and research skills. To meet the growing demand for graduates with analytics capabilities, the MSc in Business Analytics equips you with the latest analytics tools to analyse and interpret data, forecast future trends, automate and streamline decisions, and optimise courses of action.

In the era of Big Data, analytics is becoming a strategic necessity in virtually all areas of business and is an essential tool to drive real-time decisions, foster evidence-based decision-making and sustain competitive advantage. According to a recent ranking by US News and World Report, Operations Research Analyst is ranked second in the Best Business Jobs of 2016, and Harvard Business Review claims Data Scientist is the 'sexiest job of the 21st century' with practitioners having rare and highly sought-after skills.

Learn how to apply descriptive, predictive and prescriptive modelling techniques to help organisations improve performance, explore alternatives, and anticipate and shape business outcomes in a rapidly changing environment. You will also develop an understanding of fundamental analytics techniques, such as statistical analysis, data mining, forecasting and regression, optimisation, simulation and spreadsheet modelling. 

This programme is ideal for graduates with a quantitative background who are seeking to gain an in-depth knowledge of analytical and predictive modelling skills as well as management, communication and research skills. Upon graduation, you will be ready to start a career in a variety of industries and sectors including airlines, manufacturing companies, energy, healthcare delivery, banking, marketing and government.

Students enrolled in the programme have the opportunity to work for real organisations, improve their consultancy skills and enhance their employability through the Student Implant Scheme, which bridges the gap between classroom learning and the real world. Students are also involved in a variety of activities, including case studies, team project work, guest lectures and industry visits.

Software demonstration workshops supported by IBM/ILOG are regularly organised to support the teaching of state-of-the-art analytics packages including IBM Watson Analytics, R, SPSS, Weka, MS Excel and VBA, as well as optimisation packages including Optimization Programming Language, IBM/ILOG, CPLEX and Simul8.

Funding opportunities

The Business School has a wide range of funding opportunities for postgraduate students, which include Scholarships, Bursaries, the Double Loyalty Scheme for University of Kent undergraduates and the KBS Early Bird Scheme. The Early Bird equates to a 10% discount on tuition fees.

For more information on funding available from the University of Kent, please visit the Student Funding page.

About Kent Business School

Kent Business School has over 25 years’ experience delivering business education. Our portfolio of postgraduate programmes demonstrates the breadth and depth of our expertise. Academic research and links with global business inform our teaching, ensuring a curriculum that is relevant and current. We are ranked as a top 30 UK business school for the standard of our teaching and student satisfaction. We also hold a number of accreditations by professional bodies.

Studying at Kent Business School (KBS) gives you the opportunity to increase your employability with real-life case studies, a student council and a business society. We have strong links to local and national organisations providing opportunities for projects, internships and graduate placements. The School attracts many high-profile speakers from industry and last year included visits and lectures from staff of the Bank of England, BAE Systems, Barclays, Lloyds Insurance, Cummins, Delphi and Kent County Council.

The School currently has 60 PhD students, who form a dynamic and close-knit research community.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, we were placed 25th (out of 101 institutions) in the UK for research intensity in business and management studies and 98% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.

The School was also ranked 24th for its breadth and depth of research across the whole community of research active staff by the Association of Business Schools.

Course structure

You study eight compulsory modules and three optional modules. The compulsory modules are Business Statistics and Database Management, Consultancy and Research Skills, Data Mining and Forecasting, Decision Modelling, Advanced Spreadsheets and Decision Support Systems, Simulation and Heuristic Optimisation, Performance Management and Soft System Methodology and Dissertation.


The course structure provides a sample of the modules available for this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes offered by the University in order that you may explore other subject areas of interest to you or that may further enhance your employability.

CB8005 - Consultancy and Research Skills (15 credits)

This module develops the necessary knowledge and skills for students to be able to successfully complete a scholarly dissertation or a consultancy project under the supervision of a member of staff.

Topics to be covered include:

• Identifying suitable dissertation/project topics

• Searching and reviewing the literature

• Choosing suitable methods and approaches from the MSc Management Science/Business Analytics Programme

• Collecting and analysing data

• Preparing the dissertation proposal

• Structuring and writing the dissertation

• Analysing the different consultancy stages

• Understanding the skills, processes, and risk involved in management consulting

• Managing projects delivery

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

CB9040 - Data Mining and Forecasting (15 credits)

Detecting differences between groups:

Testing for normality, choosing the most appropriate test, interpreting the results

Classification and cross-classifications:

Measures of association; Goodman-Kruskal’s gamma; Chi-square tests

Data reduction and exploration:

Principal components; factor analysis; cluster analysis; property-fitting.

Forecasting methods:

Moving averages, exponential smoothing and measures of forecasting accuracy

Drivers of Change in Sales Demand:

Managing weather and seasonal changes in sales demand

The computer package SPSS will be used for this course including EXCEL in some occasions.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

CB9084 - Performance Management and Soft System Methodology (15 credits)

This module will include:

• Introduction to performance management

o Basic functions of performance management

o Performance measurements and indicators

o Approaches in performance evaluation

o Main issues and difficulties

• Performance management for public sector organisations

o Soft Systems Methodology (SSM)

o Evaluation framework for public sector organisations

o 3E indicator system

o Ratio analysis - different approaches to decide weights

o AHP methods

• Classic DEA Models

o Statistics methods - regressions

o CCR models and BCC models

o Additive models

o Index models

• Extensions of Classic Models

o Russell measurement and Russell DEA models

o Benchmarking in Private and Public Sectors

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

CB921 - Advanced Spreadsheets and Decision Support Systems (15 credits)

The aim of this module is to enable students to use spreadsheets (Microsoft Excel) to structure, analyse and solve a variety of managerial problems. It will also provide the students with a basic knowledge of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) as a means to automate methods and models, and create decision support systems.

The module is divided into two main parts outlined below:

Spreadsheet Modelling - this part will involve:

• Learning about modelling techniques to represent the real world in a structured and logical way

• How to use basic and advanced spreadsheet facilities (e.g. sorting, ranges, look-up tables, formatting, plotting graphs, optimisation tools, statistical functions)

• How to use spreadsheets to structure, analyse and solve managerial problems (e.g. scheduling, stock control, optimization, forecasting, financial analysis, project management)

VBA Programming - this part will focus on the study of Visual Basic for Applications as a means to automate methods and models and create special decision support systems. It will include:

• VBA fundamentals

• Using VBA within Excel

• Developing VBA applications for Management Science (e.g. employee scheduling, production scheduling, portfolio optimization, network flow problems, and statistical applications)

• Build simple graphical user interfaces.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

CB966 - Simulation and Heuristic Optimisation (15 credits)

The aim of the module is to give students hands-on experience in using industry-standard optimization and simulation modelling software in order to structure and solve complex and large-scale managerial problems.

Optimisation Modelling - this topic will involve:

• Learning about how to efficiently formulate linear/integer programming models

• How to use commercial software to build and solve optimisation models

• How to use optimisation software to solve and analyse business related problems of operational/tactical/strategic importance (e.g. project investment, logistics, and location planning)

• The importance and steps involved with carrying out a sensitivity analyses (e.g. the meaning of dual variables

• How to calculate the range of optimality of input variables)

Discrete-Event Simulation - this topic will involve:

• Learning basic queuing theory, including its key assumptions, benefits and limitations

• Core theory and technical details pertaining to discrete-event simulation

• How to build working simulation models using commercial software that mimic real-world systems

• The meaning of common discrete/continuous distributions and how they can be used to model key aspects of a problem

• How to systematically analyze the results of a model.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

CB969 - Business Statistics and Database Management (15 credits)

Descriptive statistics:

Levels of measurement, measures of central tendency, measures of spread, statistical plots, statistical confidence limits, outliers, continuous data

Statistical reasoning:

Data and Statistics; hypotheses, decisions, and risk; type 1 and type 2 errors; statistical debate

Basic probability:

The addition and the multiplication rule; independent events and mutually exhaustive events, Bayes theorem

Probability distributions:

Binomial, Poisson, normal, combination of random variables

Database Management

Database systems

Structured Query Language (SQL)


Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

CB997 - Decision Modelling (15 credits)

The aim of the module is to give students an intensive and rigorous grounding in management science modelling and provide students with a standard set of solution methods for a wide range of the most commonly occurring quantitative problems.

The course will be covered from the following topics

Linear Programming Models:

• Introduction and Formulation

• Solution Methods

• Sensitivity Analysis

• Typical Applications: Financial, Marketing, Production Management, etc.

Network Models:

• Transportation, Assignment, Shortest Route, Maximum Flow, Minimum Spanning Tree

Project Management:


Deterministic Inventory Models:

• Basic EOQ Models

• Economic Production Lot-size Models

Integer Programming Including ILP Models:

• Introduction and Formulation

• Solution Methods (LP Relaxation, Branch and Bound, Cutting Plane Algorithms)

• Applications Involving 0-1 variables: Capital Budgeting, Fixed Cost, Distribution System, Design, Location, Product Design and Market Share Optimization

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

CB986 - Dissertation (45 credits)

This module develops the necessary knowledge and skills for students to be able to successfully complete a scholarly dissertation under the supervision of a member of staff. Topics to be covered include:

• Identifying suitable dissertation topics

• Searching and reviewing the literature

• Choosing suitable methods and approaches from the MSc in –Management Science and Business Analytics

• Collecting and analysing data

• Providing a solution to a practical problem - - by using quantitative techniques learned in the programme

• Analysing the results and providing recommendations relevant to practitioners

• Structuring and writing the dissertation

Credits: 45 credits (22.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

Teaching and Assessment

The programme involves a taught and a project component. The taught programme is assessed by a mixture of coursework assignments throughout the year, and by examinations in May and June.

Once these are completed, you then work full-time on the project and write a dissertation based on this. This 8,000 to 10,000 word dissertation is an opportunity to apply the techniques and insights presented in the programme and apply them to a particular problem area.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • educate you to become business analytics specialists, improving the quality of the business analytics profession
  • prepare you to be operationally effective in business analytics and/or for further study or an academic career in the area
  • provide in-depth study in business analytics, including a strong theoretical base and a range of skills relevant to practice
  • add value to a first degree by offering theoretical and practical exposure to problem-solving techniques for effective decision making in a range of complex strategic, operational and managerial situations
  • provide career development opportunities for individuals who are already experienced managers  wishing to enhance their knowledge and understanding through a structured course of study
  • enhance lifelong learning skills and personal development, enabling you to contribute to business and society at large
  • develop a range of cognitive, critical and intellectual skills, together with research and personal/interpersonal skills
  • develop the ability to conduct research into business and management issues, either individual or as part of a team, through research design, data collection, analysis, synthesis and reporting
  • provide teaching and learning opportunities informed by high-quality research and scholarship
  • develop new areas and methods of teaching in response to the advance of knowledge, changes in technology and the needs of students
  • meet the growing market demand for highly skilled analytics workers.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • organisations, their external context and how they are managed
  • the application of business analytics knowledge to a range of complex situations
  • current issues in business analytics, which is informed by leading-edge research and practice in the field.

Intellectual skills

You gain the ability to:

  • creatively apply knowledge of business analytics and understand in practical terms how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to develop and interpret knowledge in business and management
  • evaluate the rigour and validity of published research, assessing its relevance to new situations
  • extrapolate from existing research and scholarship to identify new or revised approached to practice
  • be adaptable and demonstrate originality, insight, critical and reflective abilities, which can be applied to problem situations
  • evaluate and integrate theory and practice in a wider range of situations
  • take responsibility for continuing to develop your own knowledge and skills.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the ability to:

  • understand appropriate techniques sufficient to allow detailed investigation into relevant business and management issues
  • acquire and analyse data and information, evaluate their relevance and validity, and synthesise a range of information in the context of new situations
  • conduct research into business analytics issues that requires familiarity with a range of business data, research sources and appropriate methodologies, informing the overall learning process
  • consistently apply knowledge and subject-specific and wider intellectual skills
  • deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, and communicate their conclusions clearly to a range of audiences.

Transferable skills

You gain the ability to:

  • communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, using a range of media
  • operate effectively in a variety of team roles and take leadership roles, where appropriate
  • be proactive in recognising the need for change and have the ability to manage change
  • make decisions in complex and unpredictable situations
  • be self-directed and able to act autonomously in planning and implementing projects at professional levels.


You gain much more than an academic qualification when you graduate from Kent Business School – we enhance your student experience and accelerate your career prospects.

From the moment you start with us, our efforts are focused on helping you gain the knowledge, skills and experience you need to thrive in an increasingly competitive workplace.

In today’s business climate employers are increasingly demanding more from new employees, we are therefore proud that they continually target our graduates for their organisations across the globe. Employers respect our robust teaching and reputation for delivering international business expertise, leading global research and an outstanding international learning experience.

Recent graduates have gone on to work for Barclays Capital, British Embassy, Gray Robinson PA and Holiday Extras.

To find out more about business analytics and future career prospects, see the following links.

Professional recognition

Kent Business School is a member of the European Foundation for Management Development (EMFD), CIPD, CIM, CMI and the Association of Business Schools (ABS). In addition, KBS is accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA).

Study support

Postgraduate resources

Kent Business School occupies a purpose-designed building consisting of executive learning facilities with wireless provision throughout. Each postgraduate student is assigned a specific member of academic staff who acts as your first point of contact throughout your studies. There is a lively postgraduate community at the School, with plenty of space to relax and interact with your fellow students and our academic staff.

An international focus

Kent Business School has more than 60 internationally recognised academics from 22 different countries. Most of our teaching faculty are involved with researching the latest issues in business and management, working with organisations to provide new insight for business leaders and policymakers. Their knowledge and findings feed into the programmes to ensure they are both cutting-edge and globally relevant.

Worldwide partnerships

Kent Business School has close links with: ifs (Institute of Financial Services); dunnhumby, who partners the Consumer Insight Service in the Centre for Value Chain Research; Hong Kong Baptist University, with whom we offer a joint Master’s programme in Operational Research and Finance Business Statistics; University of Castellanza (Italy); Audencia Nantes Business School (France); Aarhus School of Business and Social Sciences (Denmark); Universiti Teknologi Malaysia; University of Ingolstadt, Bayern (Germany); City University of Hong Kong; Renmin University of China, School of Business.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Critical Perspectives on Accounting; Quantitative Finance; Human Resource Management Journal; Journal of Product Innovation Management; European Journal of Operational Research; and Psychology & Marketing.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Entry requirements

Students who wish to apply for a higher degree should have a good honours degree from the UK or equivalent internationally recognised qualification, in a quantitative discipline, such as statistics, logistics, mathematics, engineering or any other mathematically based natural science discipline. Consideration will be given to those applicants holding a good second class honours degree.

Applicants without an honours degree may also be considered on the basis of work experience, professional qualifications and the relevance of the programme to their current professional role.

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

English language entry requirements

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Research areas

Research activities at Kent Business School are broadly organised into six areas;

Our Management Science group covers a wide range of research areas in Operational Research and Systems Thinking. These include research in the area of logistics including green logistics and network security with a special emphasis on the innovative design and analysis of heuristic and exact optimisation, DEA, operation management, multi-variate analysis, biometrics, multi-methodology and Soft OR/Systems. The group is now a member of NATCOR.

For more information, see our Applied Research Centres:

Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Dr Adolf Acquaye: Lecturer in Sustainability

Sustainability Research in Business Practice and CSR; Lifecycle Assessments; Environmental Modelling and Scenario Developments; Supply Chains Management; Procurement; Sustainable Frameworks and Resource Accounting; Climate Change Policy and Mitigation; Development of Decision Support Tools; Sustainable and Renewable Energy Systems.


Professor Steve Wenbin Liu: Professor of Management Science and Computational Mathematics

Performance management; bibliometrics; DEA; optimisation.


Professor John Mingers: Professor of Operational Research and Systems

Multimethodology; pluralism; critical realism; ethics; Habermas systems; SSM; soft systems; Bhaskar semiotics; bibliometrics; h-index; citations; journal ranking.


Dr Gabor Nagy: Senior Lecturer in Management Science

Logistics problems such as Facility Location and Vehicle Routing. Heuristics, exact methods.


Dr Jesse O'Hanley: Senior Lecturer in Environmental Systems Management

Integer programming; heuristic algorithms; facility location; biodiversity conservation; natural resource management; fish passage; species distribution modelling; climate change impacts; nature reserve selection.


Professor Said Salhi: Professor of Management Science and Operational Research

Logistics; routing problems; location problems; heuristics; optimisation.


Dr Maria Paola Scaparra: Reader in Management Science

Mathematical modelling; network and combinatorial optimisation; location analysis; infrastructure protection planning; supply chain reliability.


Dr Niaz Ahmed Wassan: Reader in Management Science

Vehicle Routing and its Variants; Supply Chain Management; Classical Heuristics and Meta-heuristics Optimisation; Tabu Search (Reactive Tabu and Adaptive Memory Programming); Variable Neighbourhood Search; Simulated Annealing, Genetic Algorithms; Hybrid heuristic methods.


Dr Shaomin Wu: Reader in Business-Applied Statistics

Stochastic operations research; statistical data analysis; warranty management; reliability analysis and maintenance policy optimisation.


Mr Tuan Yu: Lecturer in Organisational Management and E-Commerce

The role, effective use, leadership and management of technology in organisations and the opportunities as well as the organisational and operational challenges, issues and problems that can arise out of this.


Enquire or order a prospectus



Admissions enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 827272


Subject enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 827726

F: +44 (0)1227 761187

E: kbsadmissions@kent.ac.uk

School website


The 2017/18 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Business Analytics - MSc at Canterbury:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £10130 £16240

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills or Research Council UK) they will be increased up to the allowable level.

Publishing Office - © University of Kent

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000