The goal of a specialized information technology MBA is to teach you not just how to manage tech issues for a company at a very high level – it can also equip you to do business planning, manage large staffs and even take responsibility for mapping out how technology projects will be used by a company to reach its larger business goals.
The MBA information technology generally has a bit more of an emphasis on “information” – meaning internet applications, website design and marketing and the types of company interfaces that internal employees use – than a graduate degree specialized in security, software design or another computer-related area.
More Than A Computer Fixer
In the big picture, companies want to hire senior managers with an information technology MBA because they want someone who can do more than make sure the computer systems are running smoothly. In most cases they want someone who can map out ways to use software and the internet to increase the revenue, the overall value and in some cases even the stock price of the company. Job titles you can look for with this degree include Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Technology Officer, as you might expect, but can also range to jobs like General Manager of a division or a website, Chief Strategist or even director of Marketing & Product Development. Salaries for computer information and systems managers run in a wide range from $70,000 up to $145,000. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor Statistics) And in many cases, MBA information technology graduates choose the entrepreneurial path, and start businesses of their own where, if they’re successful, they can achieve even greater earnings.
Most MBA’s in this specialty take about two years of full-time study, and more if done on a part time basis. The courses take a more strategic direction generally than the “nuts and bolts” type courses one generally sees in undergraduate computer science programs. Typical subjects studied in an IT MBA include decision support systems, graphics & multimedia, ecommerce (though there are actually MBA’s nowadays that are specialized entirely in ecommerce), strategic tech management, data mining, project management, accounting management systems and internet technology. More general business courses like accounting, finance, economics and corporate resource planning will also be included. You’re likely to find this type of coursework appealing if you like to be engaged in business management, profitability planning and leadership rather than writing code.
The outlook for information technology MBA’s is quite positive today, in spite of the challenging economic environment. In fact, tough times have in many ways increased the value of this degree as companies of all types have come under pressure to use the internet and other technologies to reduce their costs and boost efficiency. In an environment where many older senior managers lack a deep understanding of how to use technology to reach their business goals, an MBA who truly understands information technology can provide tremendous value.