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Are BA professionals people who manage and design data warehouses, create dashboards, have experience with COGNOS or Business Objects, interact with IT and finance, and manage the production and automation of business reports? Are they people with a MBA degree, or with advance analytic degrees such as MS in machine learning? Are they different from management consultants?

If you are a BA guy/girl, please could you describe your career path?

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I recently moved from a role(aligned to BI ) to BA for an analytics firm .....here's my view ... a BA would look into the data more from a business perspective however a typical BI professional( i mean BO / Cognos dev) would look more in terms of bringing out facts & figures by charts rather than generate real insights which is actionable by senior management ...
Intereted in listening to other's comments as well ....
From what I have seen, the first part is a BI role. And the second part is a BA role.

As far as India is concerned, anyone with a good background in Quantitative subjects can be BAs. So we have a lot of people with backgrounds like engineering, economics, stats, and MBA. The role of a BA in my company includes understanding the business problem, understanding the data/information required, extract or collate the data, explore/visualize/measure/transform the data, build predictive models, and present the results along with insights and recommendations.
I completed a Business Intelligence training program through SetFocus L.L.C., a Microsoft Gold Certified partner. The goal of the program was to help people become business analysts. It involved creating a solution for a fictional business using SQL Server Integration Services, Analysis Services, and Reporting Services. I then worked in three different departments at PepsiCo, and one of them was Business Analytics. In this job, I analyzed the evils of holding too much inventory, namely that products may sell as low code rather than to full-revenue customers.

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