Studying as a Business Analyst

Friday, 11 October 2019  @Business School

Often, a student studying a degree in Information Systems will first come in contact with the reality of the workplace through the role of a ‘Business Analyst’ or a ‘BA’ . But what exactly does this role mean and how does it fit in with the courses we take as part of the Information Systems degree?

The Business Analyst role in the contemporary workplace environment is often misused; defined as a buzzword-like role and characterized by a broad range of role descriptions. To university students, you may often stumble across many internship opportunities advertised as a ‘Business Analyst’ role, but in reality, you find yourself performing trivial and monotonous tasks which deliver little to no value. However, don’t let this deter you from pursuing a role as a Business Analyst, because when accurately defined, this role can have an immeasurable impact on a business.

Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to take up an internship role through the UNSW Co-op program at the Bank of Queensland (BOQ) Specialist, a subsidiary of BOQ which focused on providing finance for medical professionals. Throughout my time at BOQS, I was simultaneously taking Sandeep’s course ‘INFS2603 - Business Analysis using Design Thinking’. For me, this course played a pivotal role in shaping my internship experience as well as gaining a heightened understanding and appreciation for the course itself. In summary, this course delves into the theoretical aspects of the workplace, teaching theory from system development methodologies and frameworks to the interpersonal and managerial aspects of an IS team. 

Prior to my internship, I had no idea what these 2 letters ‘B.A’ meant. Even in the initial stages of my internship, most work felt ad-hoc and each task I was assigned felt as though it didn’t contribute to a greater purpose within the team. However, I became to see that INFS2603 went hand-in-hand with my placement and working within a cross functional agile team. As each week progressed, the course would provide a theoretical concept which I could see in action in the workplace environment. Applying each theoretical concept such as the agile framework into a practical sense allowed me to better understand my role and how this course contributes to my potential career. 

What surprised me most was that all this time, my tasks did not change, however my perspective did. In turn, my role became more and more defined and its value to the business became clearer. I came to realise that the role was more accurately defined as a ‘Business Systems Analyst’, which connects knowledge and requirements from the business domain with the technological domain to create value for an organization through IT enabled solutions. 

Ultimately, studying INFS2603 alongside my internship helped me realise that every business may define the role of a BA and its tasks differently, however at its core, the role plays an integral part in delivering value to all businesses.

By Felix Chow

studying-as-a-business-analyst