Information Technology MBA

Information technology and business were once two separate entities but they are becoming increasingly intertwined. As a result, people with an MBA in Information Technology (IT) are finding themselves in high demand, as they have knowledge of both elements. They understand the language and jargon that come with both technology and management positions, meaning they can properly bridge the two worlds.

What We Do

Someone with an MBA in IT usually manages the IT department of a business. This can be done in various ways, including strategy and planning, project management, consultancy and so on. Exactly what such professionals do also depend on the type of organization they work for. For instance, when employed by start up businesses, they will have to do all the work involved in running an IT department, effectively being the entire department. However, the larger the organization gets, the more specialized the skills of the person will be as well, with some taking on HR responsibilities, finance responsibilities or project responsibilities to name but a few.

Why It’s Hot

One of the main reasons why this particular MBA specialization is so popular is because degree holders are able to bridge the gap between IT and management, particularly in terms of the lingo. Additionally, there is a strong requirement for people who do not just have technical skills but also business and soft skills that allow them to lead others.

According to the QS TopMBA.com Jobs & Salary Trends 2014/15, some 13% of all new MBA positions in the world are related to IT. During 2014, growth was at 8% and it is expected growth will be 12% this year.

The report also stated that the salary average for someone with this degree is $89,600. In addition, they also receive bonuses, which means most will earn as much as $118,800 per year.

Work Environment

Most people with an MBA in Information Technology will work in offices. Depending on the size of the organization, this can be anything from inside a team of senior managers to a server room. Most specialists have a permanent office location.

How to Do It

In order to earn an MBA in IT, you must first complete a bachelor’s degree. This generally takes around four years to complete. A number of majors can be considered, ranging from IT to communication to business. Admission to these programs is highly competitive, and most schools will require you to pass the GMAT exam and a good score will weigh heavily towards being accepted to the program. Hence, preparing yourself for this test through work experience and studying literature is highly recommended. Additionally, it is better to apply to a number of different schools in order to increase one’s chances of being accepted.

There are both online and on campus degree programs for MBA in IT. One excellent on-campus option is Schiller International University’s Management of Information Technology MBA. This program fully highlights how market demand for those who understand both management and IT is growing exponentially. The program consists of 15 courses, bridging MBA information and IT information. It takes two semesters and a summer session to complete the degree. The curriculum highlights how IT professionals are finding themselves in rising demand, and the curriculum focuses on database, information systems and project management, communications networks, systems analysis and design and electronic commerce. Graduates find themselves in high demand, particularly with large international corporations who rely on electronic and digital technology.

MBA in Information Technology Online

  • A number of online programs also exist. For instance, Western Governors University’s Master of Business Administration in Information Technology Management places the emphasis on the industry of IT, preparing graduates with the knowledge and skills they need to take on senior level management positions in various settings straightaway.
  • Alternatively, there is Southern New Hampshire University’s MBA in Information Technology Management, which is designed to help graduates get a step ahead of the competition. Its foundation is in business management, but IT is strongly intertwined in this, thereby creating a combination of very high value. This degree can be completed both online and on campus and mixes information on new technologies with financial and analytical skills, as well as business management. Graduates are in high demand in various different careers.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Great compensation and salaries. Those who hold an MBA in IT tend to earn more than any other member of the IT department, often reaching six figures.
  • Working on high profile cases. You can expect to be at the head of various organizational initiatives simply because of your knowledge and expertise.
  • Leadership opportunities. With an MBA, you will be expected to be a natural leader. Having an MBA in IT, however, means that you will be expected to take a company to the next level, establishing it as a leader amongst its competition.

Cons:

  • Accountability. If something does go wrong in the department or a project you are working on, it will be fully on your shoulders. Your team’s performance is a reflection on your performance, in other words.
  • Demanding hours. Unfortunately, you can expect to work long hours, including unsociable hours, and you may also be on call from time to time.
  • Management. As someone with an MBA, you will be a natural manager. However, this does not mean that management isn’t challenging, and you will have to deal with the various challenges that come with this role.

Financial Aid

  • ESMT – Designed to help those who want to start an international business career. It is supported by 25 different corporate founders and offered to MBA applicants studying either full or part time. Additionally, a number of full tuition scholarships are offered each year. Students who show personal and professional achievement, academic excellent, superior interpersonal skills and strong leadership potential are given preference. Candidates must be self-funded and awards are applied to tuition directly.
  • Capella University – Students who pass their first Capella course will be eligible for a $3,000 grant.
  • CIPS – A fund of $50,000 has been created by CIPS and the University of Fredericton for the 50th anniversary of CIPS. Anyone who is a member of CIPS can be considered for $7,500 towards their executive MBA. The goal is to help mid-level professionals to become true leaders by enhancing their leadership skills and managerial knowledge.
  • SMU COX – A range of merit scholarships are awarded depending on the achievements and merit of individual students. Decisions are made depending on GMAT performance, academic achievement, leadership potential and professional experience. Usually, only those who exceed their class average will be able to receive any of these scholarships. The award is for a two year period, meaning students can only apply once.
  • Georgia Tech – Scheller School of Business – Designed for students of the Sheller School of Business, which is already known for its affordability, this scholarship can reduce their tuition tremendously. Indeed, around 50% of all students at the school are awarded the scholarship, so long as they apply before the funding deadline.

Career Paths

There are many different job opportunities someone with an MBA in IT could take on. Because the nature of IT itself is so multifaceted, as is the nature of management, the possibilities are virtually endless. Someone could focus on designing and developing software, or on project management, or on systems and network management to name but a few possibilities. A number of positions, however, are more sought after than others. These include:

  • IT Architect and Systems Manager
  • Director of Information Technology
  • Systems Software Manager
  • Data Processing Manager
  • Chief Information Officer

Technologies continue to evolve, and this means that qualified IT professionals will continue to be in high demand. This is particularly true for those who hold graduate degree levels, and even more so for those who have management concentrations. Indeed, with an MBA in Information Technology, top executive and management opportunities are within reach. Here, the advanced technical skills, specialized Information Technology Management knowledge and proven understanding of management and business principles can lead to various interesting – and highly paid – positions. Some of these include:

  • Chief Technology Officer
  • IT Director
  • Vice President of Information Technology
  • Management Information Systems Director
  • Information Technology Management Consultant

However, it is important to understand that competition in these positions is incredibly fierce. Additionally, they tend to be jobs for life, which means vacancies are often few and far between. It is also for this reason that so many MBA in Information Technology graduates choose to go into consultancy. This, in turn, can sometimes lead to permanent positions for large multinational corporations and even Fortune 500 companies.

Further Reading

Suggested Websites

Six websites with helpful resources for those working in field relevant to an MBA in Information Technology