“One thing we’ve noticed is that M.S. graduates tend to move into more junior but technical areas of a company,” Kovacevich said. “These companies have a growing need for people who are bright and also have a detailed understanding of a particular area or skill.”

Coming in at No. 2 was Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management, with a total of 362 students spread over seven programs for the current academic year.

Amanda Karr, executive director of student enrollment services at the Graziadio School, said the school started M.S. programs seven years ago in applied finance and global business.

“These were not the realm of the traditional M.B.A., but we saw a need in the workplace for more specialized accounting skills and for people who understand a more integrated global economy,” Karr said.

Since then, she said, the need for companies to apply “big data” to their own operations has led the demand for more M.S. programs, especially data analytics.

Karr said the Graziadio School plans to add two more M.S. programs in the next couple years: one in entrepreneurship and the other in media, entertainment and sports management. (See related story, Page 3.)

No. 3 University of La Verne, with 240 students enrolled in three M.S. programs, will be adding a data analytics M.S. program next year.

“The rise of big data and the demand for data analytics in recent years has been phenomenal,” said Abe Helou, dean of the College of Business and Public Management.

He also cited a larger national trend of stagnant or declining M.B.A. enrollment as a major reason behind the increase in M.S. programs at the school.

One major local business school that didn’t place high on the Business Journal list of M.S. programs was the UCLA Anderson School of Management. The Anderson School launched its first M.S. program in business analytics last year, which counts 41 students.

(The school has offered a Master of Financial Engineering program for 10 years, but as that program does not grant M.S. degrees, it was not included in the data for the list).

Paul Brandano, executive director of the Master of Science in business analytics program, said that once Anderson School faculty and executives saw how successful USC’s Marshall School was in building its M.S. degree programs, they decided to step up their own offerings. It took more than a year to get approval for the business analytics program from the University of California Presidents’s office and the UC Board of Regents.