Business Analytics (BA)

Math makes data work

Real data, real solutions

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 the Bachelor's programme in Business Analytics your gateway to an international graduate career.

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.

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for this course you can apply for the International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering at the Holland International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree course at the Vrije  University Amsterdam.

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 programme.

Dutch Nationals are expected to participate in the matching activity on campus. This activity will take place in the period of Monday May 27 until and including Tuesday June 11, 2019. Please consider this when planning your holiday(job). Keep an eye out for the invitation email for the matching activity which will be send by the end of April 2019.

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

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

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


If you have a specific question about applying with a non-Dutch diploma you can contact our International Student Advisor. The ISA will help you with practicalities about your bachelor admission and support you throughout the application process.

Julia Tan                        Alexander Lindemans
M: bachelors.fs@vu.nl   M: bachelors.fs@vu.nl
T: +31 205984212          T: +31 205982788

Juliatan2017                 Alexander Lindemans

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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.

More information about the bachelor Business Analytics can be found in our year schedule.

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


For more information on the courses, check the study guide

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. For more information on the courses, check the study guide


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
Machine Learning
Period 5
Statistical Data Analysis
Dynamics and Computation
Databases
Period 6
Project Big Data

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.

For more information on the courses, check the study guide


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

More information about the bachelor Business Analytics can be found in our year schedule.

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


For more information on the courses, check the study guide

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. For more information on the courses, check the study guide


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
Machine Learning
Period 5
Statistical Data Analysis
Dynamics and Computation
Databases
Period 6
Project Big Data

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.

For more information on the courses, check the study guide


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

Admission and Application

Admission criteria and application procedure for candidates with a Dutch pre-university school diploma can be found here.

To be admitted, you must hold an equivalent to a Dutch pre-university school diploma (VWO) with a Mathematics B qualification. Depending on your background, you may also need to supply proof of your English language proficiency.

Admission criteria for candidates with a non-Dutch pre-university school diploma

1.    A diploma equivalent to a Dutch VWO diploma
2.    Proof of sufficient proficiency in Mathematics 
3.    Proof of sufficient proficiency in English

See the Diploma Requirement List for examples of accepted diplomas per country. Please note: this list is meant to give you an indication of admissibility; no rights can be derived from it.
After you apply to the programme and upload the required documents in our student portal, your International Student Advisor will have a look at your transcripts to determine whether your diploma is equivalent to the Dutch VWO diploma and whether your Mathematics level is sufficient.

These examples of diplomas demonstrate sufficient proficiency in the subject Mathematics:
  • International Baccalaureate: Mathematics Higher Level.
  • British GCE A-Levels: A-level in Mathematics. At least grade A,B or C.
  • Germany: Zeugnis der allgemeinen Hochschulreife, including Mathematics as Leistungsfach.
  • European Baccalaureate: Mathematics; written or oral examination, at least 4 hours during the Orientation Cycle.
If your proficiency in this subject is considered to be insufficient, your International Student Advisor will inform you about the possibilities how to meet the requirements with additional certificates.

When advised to sit an entry exam, the following certificate is deemed equivalent to Dutch VWO Mathematics B.

International Examination
  • International Baccalaureate certificate in Mathematics Higher Level
This program comprises more than mathematics alone, but some schools allow you to take only the mathematics course and can provide you with a certificate. The complete list of IB schools can be found here: contact a school near you to find out whether it offers separate course certificates

Exams in the Netherlands

Boswell-Bèta (English). Boswell-Bèta in Utrecht (the Netherlands) provides VWO Mathematics B with exams in December, May and July.

CCVX (Dutch and English). CCVX offers VWO Mathematics B for Dutch-speaking and English-speaking applicants.
See the General Admission Requirements for the English language requirement.

Degree pathway programmes
If you are an international student who does not meet the direct entry requirements for this course then you have the opportunity to apply for the International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering at the Holland International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, you can progress to the Business Analytics degree at Vrije University Amsterdam.
Chinese students who wish to enroll in an English-taught program at a Dutch institute of higher education are required to apply for a Nuffic Certificate. Nuffic will send this certificate directly to the relevant Dutch institute of higher education once it has been issued. More information on the Nuffic Certificate for Chinese students.
Please check our step-by-step application guide for more information.

International applicants will be asked to submit the following documents:
  • Transcript(s) of records (e.g. High School grade list)
  • Curriculum Vitae (your personal details, previous education and any relevant work experience in approximately one A4 page)
  • Copy of valid passport
  • English language test results (if already obtained)
Deadline: International students who require university housing and/or a student visa must apply before 1 April. Students who do not require university housing and/or a student visa 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 Science 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! All applicants must start the application procedure through the Studielink.nl portal.

Ready to apply?
Great! All applicants must start the application procedure through the Studielink.nl portal.

Overview Business Analytics

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

3 years (fulltime)

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 April 2016 (non-EEA students & all students requiring housing) / 1 May 2016 (EEA students)

START DATE

1 September 2016

STUDY TYPE

Part-time, Full-time

FIELD OF INTEREST

Economics, Business and Law
Computer Science, Mathematics and Business

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

Ana Tara Zver

International student Business Analytics

'The reason I chose to study Business Analytics is the unique approach to learning it delivers. With plenty of different assignments and real-life problems from large companies, it gives me a profound understanding of study material and fastens the process of learning. Moreover, what I like the most about BA is that all the knowledge acquired is useful for my future career, which not only makes solving complex problems interesting but it also encourages me to think out-of-the-box, which I find challenging but very fun and beneficial at the same time!'

Ana Tara Zver

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

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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