Can I Get an MBA in Information Technology?
December 13, 2022
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) in information technology (IT) hypercharges the already-valuable MBA by adding a litany of technology skills to an already formidable business arsenal. All businesses and institutions need IT, making this an extremely versatile degree.
Earning a master's degree in business administration can help you advance your career in practically any industry. Delivering high-level coursework in finance, ethics, business analytics, operations strategy, risk management, and decision-making, an MBA program prepares students for executive management roles in enterprises that require leadership, financial acumen, long-term planning, and technological proficiency. That's pretty much all enterprises.
No organization of any size can operate today without a substantial information technology department. Communication, planning, personnel management, customer invoicing—they all require sophisticated technology with highly trained technicians to run it and equally well-trained managers to oversee it. While an MS in IT might help graduates find positions in the field, an MBA in IT can provide dual-degree holders opportunities for IT management, leadership, and executive-level roles aligning technology and business strategies. With a full scope of understanding of how computer science and information technology apply to business practice, MBA students with an IT management focus prime themselves to compete in an increasingly data and tech-driven business world.
Technology functions as its own innovative and profitable product segment, with Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple worth $4 trillion collectively. And, its application to other industries is still expanding rapidly. CompTIA reported in 2022 that "90% of the world's data was generated between 2019 and the present," and that technology is second only to healthcare in driving the U.S. economy. IT is a booming field.
Can you get an MBA in information technology, and is the MBA the right degree for aspiring IT managers? This article explores those questions and also discusses:
- Why get an MBA?
- Do MBA programs offer an information technology specialization?
- What can I do with an information technology MBA?
- Does it make a difference whether I earn my MBA in person or online?
Why get an MBA?
Obtaining an MBA offers numerous benefits, including a probable increase in pay and increased employment opportunities. However, obtaining a graduate degree can be costly, so calculating a likely return on investment (ROI) is crucial.
An MBA degree in information technology hits a lot of ROI sweet spots. The IT segment already boasts high pay and workforce rates are growing at about twice the rate of other industries. An MS in IT can provide training for the technical challenges of IT project management, such as knowledge of information systems, cybersecurity, software engineering, data analytics, and big data. MBA graduates gain the additional skills and training to make informed business decisions based on overseeing management information systems for human resources and big data management. MBA graduates with an information technology degree can utilize their niche knowledge sets, giving them more tech know-how than other managers and better management chops than an MSIT graduate.
Do MBA programs offer an information technology specialization?
The tech world offers several MBA specializations, including management information systems and technology. Specializations in IT and information technology management focus on increasing efficiency, boosting production, and improving communication. With technology influencing, advising, and impacting every industry, MBA programs are increasingly designed to support innovation and entrepreneurship through data analytics and information technology.
What will I learn in an information technology MBA program?
As with any master's-level degree program, different MBA program designs will have a different mix of core courses, with program-specific requirements for electives, capstone projects, and core competencies. In any IT MBA program, you'll learn IT skills like data visualization, machine learning, cybersecurity analytics, supply chain management, and user experience (UX). Business-focused coursework will include project management, quality assurance, risk analysis, managing human capital, and ethical leadership. Your instructors will also expand on the marketing fundamentals you studied in your bachelor's degree program.
Capstone projects allow students to synthesize their knowledge and apply it to real-world business problems. These end-of-term projects enable students to research, outline, and demonstrate solutions using their newly acquired skills and training in information technology management.
How long does it take to earn an information technology MBA?
Many business schools offer flexible options for working professionals to complete an MBA program. You can choose from full-time or part-time programs, accelerated or traditional pacing, and on-campus or online MBA programs. A standard full-time MBA program takes two years to complete.
Make sure to research whether you'll need to supply GRE or GMAT test scores (many schools no longer require these or have temporarily waived the requirement) and other materials for application. School websites typically answer questions about enrollment, financial aid, and other useful topics.
Most top programs are accredited by AACSB, ACBSP, IACBE or other business-related accreditation organizations. While accreditation is not required for all MBA programs, knowing that your investment of time and money has been vetted for quality and meets high standards can help you feel secure about your decision.
What can I do with an information technology MBA?
You can do a lot with an information technology MBA, as a quick job search confirms. You'll find positions like IT director (average salary $142,233) and IT manager (average salary $95,903), ranging from $66,000 to $188,000 per year, depending on experience. Project managers average around $96,000 annually, while senior project managers make closer to $129,000. The job outlook for computer and information systems managers is excellent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects growth of 16 percent over the next decade.
Other senior-level positions include chief information officer ($172,843 per year), solutions architect ($136,416 per year), and senior technical consultant ($121,292 per year), all averaging well into six figures. These positions rely on the skill sets gained from an MBA in IT, including agile methodology, innovation, infrastructure, risk management, strategic planning, leadership, and project management. Other top job titles include chief technology officer, IT director, IT security manager, and positions in business settings like finance, manufacturing, insurance, and healthcare.
Does it make a difference whether I earn my MBA in person or online?
Online master's programs have been gaining popularity over the last decade; the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated that growth. Forced isolation fueled advances in online instruction for students of all ages and brought remote learning to the forefront of education. Online options continue to expand, with students and faculty now comfortable with remote learning.
Many online MBA programs offer flexibility to fit the schedules of busy professionals unable to take time off to pursue an advanced degree. Online MBA students typically attend a combination of synchronous and asynchronous classes, occasionally visiting campus for short, in-person intensives and immersion experiences. Other scheduling options include rolling start dates and competency-based pacing, allowing students to finish their degrees flexibly.
Online or in-person, an MBA in IT can be a solid investment in your future. As businesses continue to rely on new and complex technologies, the need for leadership in business and human resource management for large IT teams will only increase.
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