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I'm considering going back to graduate school after a few years working as a market analyst. I prefer to stay in my current city, where there are two statistics programs I'm interested in. The first is a more traditional stats program at a private university and the other is a biostats program at a public university. The biostats program is significantly cheaper, which isn't the sole factor but it is a big one. I would like to do consulting after grad school (a company like Accenture, for example). The core curriculum for both is similar - regression analysis, applied modeling, etc - but obviously the Biostats program has classes like epidemiology and survival analysis whereas the traditional program has electives in data mining and visualization. Would the biostats program be enough to get a solid data science job or should I stick to a traditional program?

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  • $\begingroup$ A solid DS job will depend on your efforts to understand data science to its core (math) and your ability to execute them in code (with out of box thinking attitude). A degree in that particular field will definitely raise your status. But ultimately your projects/efforts you make is the most important contributing factor. I think this is off-topic for DSE community as it related to career/school guidance rather than DS as is. $\endgroup$ Feb 1 '17 at 15:32
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a question, and then some comments. First, what kind of market analyst do you want to be? This field is rapidly becoming specialized, and the answer will affect the decision. If you want to specialize in the pharma or especially the medical field, the biostat background could be an advantage.

Generally speaking, you need to think outside the box of what you will learn purely as defined by the program, either stats or biostats. You will need to branch out into areas not defined by either program. This could include (1) software language, (2) data science problems (Kaggle or external projects run through a campus department), or (3) courses not expressly given in either department, whether it's in "hard" skills like data mining or "soft" skills like marketing. Ask for exceptions to do things that don't fit the program, but fit your career goals, because being a market analyst doesn't fit squarely into either field.

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