Business Analytics

Find expert solutions to today's complex business problems

Find expert solutions to today's complex business problems

The Master’s in Business Analytics (BA) is a multidisciplinary programme, aimed at improving business processes by applying a combination of methods based on mathematics, computer science and business management. You will be trained in recognizing and solving in-company problems. BA is a hands-on programme: you will use your expertise in the various fields to improve business practices by examining and analysing real-world situations as faced by companies daily.

Construct, implement and assess solution approaches
Theories from Business Analytics are typically applied to areas such as supply chain planning, data mining, call centre management, revenue management and risk management. The Master’s programme will deepen your knowledge in these areas and give you the opportunity to specialize in business process optimization, computational intelligence and financial risk management. Combining the knowledge you acquire and applying it to practical situations plays an essential role in the programme. The Master’s degree is concluded with a six-month individual internship at a
company (the Master’s project).

The Master’s programme in Business Analytics is a two year programme consisting of 120 ECTS, divided into four semesters. The first semester is devoted to compulsory courses. During the second and third semester, you may focus on one of the three specializations. Finally, in the fourth semester, you spend six months on an internship at a business or research institute.

Compulsory courses36 EC
At least four out of sixteen optional BA courses24 EC
Other optional courses24 EC
Master's project 36 EC


You will learn:

  • The art of mathematical modelling and ways to apply it in practice
  • To build a complete decision support system in a group project
  • To analyze data and recognize data patterns and structures
  • Mathematical methods used within financial institutions
  • Scientific writing and presentation skills
  • To work in an interdisciplinary team, to communicate and work together with experts in different areas 
  • To combine and apply your knowledge in practice by means of a traineeship

Compulsory courses
The compulsory courses are:

  • Applied Stochastic Modelling (6 EC)
    This course provides you with an insight into mathematical modelling and the way it is used in practice. You will explore a number of stochastic solution methods.
  • Data-Mining Techniques (6 EC)
    This course surveys basic data-mining techniques and their application in solving real-life problems in such areas as marketing, fraud detection, text and web mining, and bioinformatics.
  • Applied Analysis: Financial Mathematics (6 EC)
    This course introduces you to the maths used within financial institutions. Topics covered include the theory of options, the binomial method, the Black-Scholes model and its application, the heat equation, and numerical methods.
  • Business Process Optimization (group project, 6 EC)
    This course begins by teaching you how to use the Excel macro language (VBA). Then, in a group, you build a complete or partial decision-support system for use in, say, call-centre staffing or the pricing of airline tickets.
  • Statistical Models (6 EC) 
    In this course you will learn to apply several common statistical models in valid settings, and will learn the theoretical foundation for each model. Topics that will be discussed are: analysis of variance, generalized linear models, non-linear models and time series models.
  • Reseach Paper Business Analytics (6 EC)
    This course focuses on addressing a relevant problem statement. In many cases, the input for this research will be drawn from the existing literature, although it may also involve the use of computer-generated data. Its focus embraces aspects of business, mathematics and computer science.

During the second and third semester you may specialize in one direction of expertise. The three main specializations are: 

  • Business process optimization 
  • Computational intelligence 
  • Financial risk management
Business Analytics courses in study guide.

With a Master’s degree in BA, you will always be in demand on the labour market – even in times of economic downturn. Companies need academics who have learned to analyze quantitative problems, devise good solutions and implement them. Opportunities for continuing your education in a PhD research programme might also be considered.

What do students of Business Analytics do once they graduate? 

  • consultants (30 percent) 
  • quantitative analysts or risk managers at financial institutions (30 percent) 
  • ICT workers (20 percent) 
  • data-mining specialists (10 percent) 
  • other professions (10 percent)

Continuing your studies
Graduates with excellent grades are invited to apply for one of our PhD student positions. This is normally awarded for four years, during which the student is expected to complete a research project. The main task of a PhD student is to conduct research resulting in a thesis.
 

There are three specializations in the Master’s programme in Business Analytics:

Business process optimization

You will tackle quantitative business problems with the aid of mathematical algorithms which are then implemented in decision support systems.

Computational intelligence
You simulate the human brain in a computer program to make decisions with optimization and data mining techniques.

Financial risk management
You learn to price derivatives, such as share options, and strategies for risk management. You will deal with both practical and theoretical aspects of the discipline.

All three areas of specialization prepare you for a career in business, industry, government or with a research facility.


A unique programme
VU Amsterdam is the only university to offer a Master’s degree in Business Analytics. Education in three different fields of expertise (mathematics, computer science and business management) is combined with group projects to form a programme that is unique in the Netherlands.

Prepare for business
The strong emphasis on analyzing the complete trajectory of business processes is what distinguishes this degree from other business-oriented programmes with a quantitative component. This assures employment in a multidisciplinary setting once you have obtained your Master’s degree. VU University Amsterdam has many contacts with businesses, and the research of the academic staff is strongly focused on practical applications. This is particularly fruitful during the external Master’s project, which is carried out in a business, industry or research setting. During your external Master’s project, you will gain considerable practical and professional experience which will be of great value during your future career.

Reputation
The Department of Mathematics at VU University Amsterdam has a first class reputation as a training and research institute. Specifically, the mathematics department is well acknowledged for its research in operations research and for applying mathematics to solve business problems.

The potential to combine employment and study
If you are a Dutch student, you can decide to combine employment and study, each on a part-time basis, in the ‘dual’ Master’s programme. The work has to be relevant to your degree, ensuring that your knowledge is directly applied in a practical situation. The work experience you obtain is therefore relevant both academically and professionally.

Campus in Amsterdam
The mathematics department at VU University Amsterdam maintains close ties with companies in the financial epicenter of the Netherlands, located at a stone’s throw from the university campus. The campus also houses the VUmc academic hospital, providing an ideal opportunity for the application of BA in health care. In addition, the university’s programmes in other fields of science provide opportunities for combining BA with other key areas of application, such as computer science and economics. VU University Amsterdam is conveniently located: it is easy to access by public transport and close to the city centre of Amsterdam.

Anne Schoemaker

Graduate

Anne_BMI

"I finished my BA studies in 2007 with a student placement at ABN AMRO Asset Management. I was offered three career options with the organization and I opted for a job as portfolio manager within the Volatility & Structured Beta team. This team focuses on managing a range of quantitative investment portfolios, such as the volatility arbitrage fund. This involves using an option valuation model to trade based on the difference between the implied and realized volatility of shares. I am involved in both trading in options and in the more operational side of the business, such as setting up new funds and managing and monitoring the value of various portfolios."

Overview Business Analytics

Language of instruction

English

Duration

2 years

Tuition fee

Application deadline

1 June for Dutch students. 1 April for EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA students.* * EU/EEA students with an international degree who do not need housing services through Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam University Amsterdam can still apply until 1 June.

Start date

1 September
1 February

Study type

Dual (combined work-study), Full-time

Specializations

Business process optimization / Computational intelligence / Financial risk management

Field of Interest

Computer Science, Mathematics and Business

Eric Jonker

Graduate

BMI Graduate ''Hi! I'm Eric Jonker. Since December 2006, I have been working for KLM Decision Support, KLM's corporate Operations Research (OR) department. We conduct consultancy projects at the intersection of OR, IT and 'Business Change'. Over the past three years, I helped develop a new passenger revenue management algorithm and have been programming a Proof of Concept for it. For Cargo, I visited a revenue management software provider in the United States to assess their products and to inform and advise our business people about the OR involved in it. I recently created an Excel-based model to chart age patterns within a department over the coming 20 years, to aid Collaborative Labor Agreement implementation. As you can see, it's very varied work!''

The Master’s programme in Business Analytics is completed with a six months internship. Please see the website of the Internship Office for Mathematics and Computer Science for information on placement opportunities

Examples of internships:

Optimization of Business Processes:

  • KLM – Revenue management
    Which company contracts make the most revenue? Which contracts should KLM avoid?
  • AMC (Academic Medical Center) – Patient logistics
    Draw up a schedule for optimal use of CT scanning equipment
  • Logica CMG – Meeting location planner
    Find the most suitable meeting location in the Netherlands

Financial Risk Management:

  • Zwitserleven – Asset Liability Management (ALM)
    Developing and calculating ALM models for the best possible pension fund policy
  • Watson Wyatt – Operational Risk
    How does one calculate operational risks for insurance companies?
  • Deloitte – Statistics in auditing
    Analyze the statistical methods which can be applied in sample audits

Computational Intelligence: 

  • AM Wonen – housing market
    Are you able to predict the number of potential buyers interested in a type of house that has yet to be designed?
  • ING – Marketing campaigns 
    Are you able to predict the effect a marketing campaign will have?
  • Politie Haaglanden (Police department) – Neural Networks
    Implementing advanced computer technology for fingerprint recognition 

Employment and study can be combined by following the dual Master’s programme. During this programme you are employed part time and study part time. The work needs to be relevant for the study. The external master's project (internship) is incorporated in the work, although supervision of the external master's project involves at least one university staff member.

Students obtain credit points for time spent on work. Moreover, it is possible to do the BA paper (6 ECTS) on a case study that is work-related, provided the case study is supported by a sound theoretical basis. This makes the total of work-related credit points, including the external master's project, 60 ECTS, being the equivalent of one year of study. The total of non-work-related credit points should be at least 60 ECTS. Typically, a student participating in the dual master's programme should expect to obtain the Master's degree after two and a half years.

For more information, see the information about the dual programme at the website of the Internship Office for Mathematics and Computer Science.

If you would like to know more, please contact the faculty directly at:

VU University Amsterdam
Faculty of Sciences
De Boelelaan 1083
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands
T +31 (0)20 598 6116
E MA_BMI@few.vu.nl

For general information about VU University Amsterdam

Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday - Friday, 9:00 to 17:00). You may also e-mail us at study@vu.nl.

If you would like details about our informational get-togethers, please get in touch with the PR department of the Faculty of Sciences:
Telephone: +31 (0)20 598 7651
E-mail: exact.info@few.vu.nl

If you have any other questions about the application process or tuition fees, please contact the Department of Student Admissions: Telephone +31 (0)20 598 5020.

If you have programme-specific questions, please contact the study advisor, Rene Swarttouw: Telephone +31 (0)20 598 7787, rf.swarttouw@few.vu.nl

Dutch students

The Business Analytics programme is open to both Dutch and International Students with a Bachelor’s degree in the same or an equivalent field and who are in possession of sufficient mathematical and computer skills. Those who have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Mathematics, Mathematics or Econometrics from a university or an institute of higher education will be admitted if approval of the Admission Board is obtained. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. 

In order to gain admission to the Business Analytics Master’s programme, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. Academic writing skill is to be demonstrated by submitting a thesis. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score. A Bachelor degree obtained at an applied university or higher vocational education (HBO in Dutch) in most cases does not grant direct access to the programme (only exceptionally high ranking students stand a chance of admission).

Specific requirements for the Business Analytics master’s programme 

For admission to the Business Analytics programme, a Bachelor degree in Business Analytics or a closely related Bachelor is required. In general, we expect the following subjects to be part of your Bachelors programme:

  • 90 EC (european credit points) or equivalent of Mathematics/Econometrics/Computer   Science courses at the BSc level.
  • 45 EC (european credit points) or equivalent of Mathematics courses at the BSc level, including Probability and Statistics.
  • Holders of an HBO diploma in Business Mathematics are admitted first to the one-year pre-Master’s programme, and are advised first to contact the master’s coordinator before applying. Either way, an individual programme will be designed for the student in consultation with the coordinator.
Admission to the dual (part-time) programme
Admission to the dual master's programme is granted to those who have a BA Bachelor's degree. For those with another university Bachelor's degree, such as Mathematics, Econometrics, Computer Science, or a Bachelor's degree from an institute of higher education, admission may be granted on an individual basis. Those seeking admission to the dual master's programme should realise that admission also depends on obtaining suitable employment. BA has contacts with a number of companies that are interested in participating in this programme.
Please note, that courses in the dual programme are to be followed in the standard course schedule (and hence, during the day): a special schedule for part-time students does not exist. It is usually necessary to visit the university several days per week to follow the programme. For more information, contact the master’s coordinator.
Due to visa restrictions and limits to issue work permits to students from abroad by the Dutch immigration authorities, the dual programme is only open for students living in the Netherlands.
For more information concerning the dual master's programme, contact the coordinator for the external master's project, or the master’s coordinator, René Swarttouw: phone +31 (0)20 59 87787, r.f.swarttouw@vu.nl.

General language proficiency requirements

VU University Amsterdam requires international applicants to take an English test and to submit their score as a part of the application. Exceptions are made for students who have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia or who have obtained an international Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma.

Admission to a Master’s programme: the Bachelor-before-Master rule 

The Bachelor-before-Master rule is applied to all VU programmes. This means that you can only start a Master’s programme on 1 September if you have obtained your Bachelor’s degree. Uncompleted Bachelor’s subjects are not permitted if you want to start a Master programme. 

What does this mean now for students? - You may have to adjust your study plan. For example, if you’re planning a semester abroad in the first semester and you would like to start the following Master’s programme in September, please note that every part of the Bachelor’s study programme has to be completed – not only the compulsory parts of the programme. Other (short) interruptions of your study programme can also have an effect on your ability to proceed onto a Master’s programme. If the Bachelor’s programme is not fully completed, you cannot start the Master’s programme until the start of the next academic year. Take this into account when planning your study path! Please contact our faculty’s study advisors when you have any questions.

If you have read the admission criteria below and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required. 

Step 1: Meet the admission criteria 

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online 

Dutch students or students with a Dutch University degree, please follow: Online application for students with a Dutch University degree

Students with an international degree, please follow: Online application for students with an International University degree

For International degree holders, digital scans of the following documents are required:

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • 2 Letters of recommendation
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Diploma(s) / statement of expected graduation
  • A transcript of the marks obtained during the Bachelor's programme.
  • Bachelor's or Master's thesis (written in English)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
  • A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education 
  • English language test 

Detailed descriptions of the required documents can be found here

Step 3: Await decision on admission

The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam! 

Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. The conditions include sending a certified copy of your diploma and submitting the results of your English language test. Also, arrange payment of the tuition fees or authorize VU University to withdraw the fees (you need to have a European bank account for this option). Here you will find an explanation of the registration procedure and the relevant deadlines. When all conditions are met you will receive a confirmation of your registration and you will be ready to start your programme at VU University Amsterdam!

Further information about

Accommodation
emptyVisa
emptyTuition fees
Scholarships

Applications for admission to the master’s programme, and the application fee payments must have been received by VU University no later than:

StudentsDeadline     
Application
non-EU/EEA and EU/EEA students who also wish to apply for a VUFP grant1 MarchHow to apply?
non-Dutch students with an international degree1 AprilHow to apply?
non-Dutch students with a Dutch degree1 JuneHow to apply?
Dutch students from institutions other than VU University Amsterdam
(starting dates: 1 September and 1 February)
1 June
1 December
How to apply? (Dutch)
Dutch students from VU University Amsterdam
(starting dates: 1 September and 1 February)
1 June
1 December
How to apply?
Dutch students with an international degree
(starting dates: 1 September and 1 February)
1 June
1 December
How to apply? 

For further information about admission to the programme you can contact the master coordinator: 

VU University Amsterdam
Faculty of Sciences
René Swarttouw 
De Boelelaan 1083a, room
1081 HV Amsterdam
T +31 (0)20 59 87787
E r.f.swarttouw@vu.nl

General information about VU University Amsterdam
empty

Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 10:00 to 12:00). You may also e-mail us at study@vu.nl.

Would you like to read the key points of the Master's programme? Order the brochure. Or find out more about the Master's programmes and visit our information days.

International students

The Business Analytics programme is open to both Dutch and International Students with a Bachelor’s degree in the same or an equivalent field and who are in possession of sufficient mathematical and computer skills. Those who have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Mathematics, Mathematics or Econometrics from a university or an institute of higher education will be admitted if approval of the Admission Board is obtained. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. 

In order to gain admission to the Business Analytics Master’s programme, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. Academic writing skill is to be demonstrated by submitting a thesis. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score. A Bachelor degree obtained at an applied university or higher vocational education (HBO in Dutch) in most cases does not grant direct access to the programme (only exceptionally high ranking students stand a chance of admission).

Specific requirements for the Business Analytics master’s programme 

For admission to the Business Analytics programme, a Bachelor degree in Business Analytics or a closely related Bachelor is required. In general, we expect the following subjects to be part of your Bachelors programme:

  • 90 EC (european credit points) or equivalent of Mathematics/Econometrics/Computer   Science courses at the BSc level.
  • 45 EC (european credit points) or equivalent of Mathematics courses at the BSc level, including Probability and Statistics.
  • Holders of an HBO diploma in Business Mathematics are admitted first to the one-year pre-Master’s programme, and are advised first to contact the master’s coordinator before applying. Either way, an individual programme will be designed for the student in consultation with the coordinator.
Admission to the dual (part-time) programme
Admission to the dual master's programme is granted to those who have a BA Bachelor's degree. For those with another university Bachelor's degree, such as Mathematics, Econometrics, Computer Science, or a Bachelor's degree from an institute of higher education, admission may be granted on an individual basis. Those seeking admission to the dual master's programme should realise that admission also depends on obtaining suitable employment. BA has contacts with a number of companies that are interested in participating in this programme.
Please note, that courses in the dual programme are to be followed in the standard course schedule (and hence, during the day): a special schedule for part-time students does not exist. It is usually necessary to visit the university several days per week to follow the programme. For more information, contact the master’s coordinator.
Due to visa restrictions and limits to issue work permits to students from abroad by the Dutch immigration authorities, the dual programme is only open for students living in the Netherlands.
For more information concerning the dual master's programme, contact the coordinator for the external master's project, or the master’s coordinator, René Swarttouw: phone +31 (0)20 59 87787, r.f.swarttouw@vu.nl.

General language proficiency requirements

VU University Amsterdam requires international applicants to take an English test and to submit their score as a part of the application. Exceptions are made for students who have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia or who have obtained an international Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma.

Admission to a Master’s programme: the Bachelor-before-Master rule 

The Bachelor-before-Master rule is applied to all VU programmes. This means that you can only start a Master’s programme on 1 September if you have obtained your Bachelor’s degree. Uncompleted Bachelor’s subjects are not permitted if you want to start a Master programme. 

What does this mean now for students? - You may have to adjust your study plan. For example, if you’re planning a semester abroad in the first semester and you would like to start the following Master’s programme in September, please note that every part of the Bachelor’s study programme has to be completed – not only the compulsory parts of the programme. Other (short) interruptions of your study programme can also have an effect on your ability to proceed onto a Master’s programme. If the Bachelor’s programme is not fully completed, you cannot start the Master’s programme until the start of the next academic year. Take this into account when planning your study path! Please contact our faculty’s study advisors when you have any questions.

If you have read the admission criteria and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required. 

Step 1: Meet the admission criteria 

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online 

Dutch students or students with a Dutch University degree, please follow: Online application for students with a Dutch University degree

Students with an international degree, please follow: Online application for students with an International University degree

For International degree holders, digital scans of the following documents are required:

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • 2 Letters of recommendation
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Diploma(s) / statement of expected graduation
  • A transcript of the marks obtained during the Bachelor's programme.
  • Bachelor's or Master's thesis (written in English)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
  • A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education 
  • English language test 

Detailed descriptions of the required documents can be found here

Step 3: Await decision on admission

The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!

Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. The conditions include sending a certified copy of your diploma and submitting the results of your English language test. Also, arrange payment of the tuition fees or authorize VU University to withdraw the fees (you need to have a European bank account for this option). Here you will find an explanation of the registration procedure and the relevant deadlines. When all conditions are met you will receive a confirmation of your registration and you will be ready to start your programme at VU University Amsterdam!

Further information about 

Accommodation
emptyVisa
emptyTuition fees
Scholarships

Applications for admission to the master’s programme, and the application fee payments must have been received by VU University no later than:

StudentsDeadline     
Application
non-EU/EEA and EU/EEA students who also wish to apply for a VUFP grant1 MarchHow to apply?
non-Dutch students with an international degree1 AprilHow to apply?
non-Dutch students with a Dutch degree1 JuneHow to apply?
Dutch students from institutions other than VU University Amsterdam
(starting dates: 1 September and 1 February)
1 June
1 December
How to apply? (Dutch)
Dutch students from VU University Amsterdam
(starting dates: 1 September and 1 February)
1 June
1 December
How to apply?
Dutch students with an international degree
(starting dates: 1 September and 1 February)
1 June
1 December
How to apply? 

There are several possibilities for obtaining funding. Among them are:

  • VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP)
  • Holland Scholarship Programme (HSP)
  • Orange Tulip Scholarship (OTS)
  • Fulbright scholarship
  • STUNED Scholarship Programme
  • Indonesia Endowment Fund of Education (LPDP)
  • Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP)
  • Direct Loan Programme 

Information about scholarships, fellowships and grants

For detailed questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure contact your International Student Advisor at the International Office:

Central International Office

International Student Advisor:
Erik van Zwol
Tel + 31 (0)20 598 7499 
E admissionsfs@vu.nl

Information about the programme
empty

For further information about admission to the programme you can contact the master coordinator: 

VU University Amsterdam
Faculty of Sciences
René Swarttouw 
De Boelelaan 1083a, room
1081 HV Amsterdam
T +31 (0)20 59 87787
E r.f.swarttouw@vu.nl

Practical information for international students
empty

Would you like to know more about our courses, scholarships and application & registration procedure? Please contact our International Office.

Email: admissionsfs@vu.nl

General information about VU University Amsterdam
empty

Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 10:00 to 12:00). You may also e-mail us at study@vu.nl.

Would you like to read the key points of the Master's programme? Order the brochure. Or find out more about the Master's programmes and visit our information days.

Marit Schoonhoven

Graduate

''Very soon after I graduated, I found a job as a Credit Risk Research Analyst at ING Bank. And I really enjoy it! I make sure that all loans are passed through mathematical models so that a good assessment can be made of the risk the bank is running. I also advise business units that have to develop their own models. The job fits in well with my Master’s in BA. What I particularly like about it is the link to the practical world that I’ve found through the knowledge I built up during my studies. The theory you learn enables you to develop your analytical abilities to a high level. And you apply them to business cases throughout the course. As a BA graduate, you are flexible and can work anywhere.'