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What is an Information Technology MBA?

MBAs are among the most popular degrees in the country. Many business schools have seen MBA applications double over the last decade, and in 2016 the US News top 10 B-Schools received nearly 5,500 applications.

So what’s with the spike?

First, return on investment. The fact is that while MBA tuition can be a significant cost upfront, risk-reward payoff is hard to deny. MBA grads generally earn higher salaries than their peers (both short-term and long-term), and they enjoy advancement opportunities throughout their career. To wit, some MBA programs claim a 10-year ROI as high as 250-325%. Factored in with five-figure signing bonuses, it’s easy to see how that initial tuition cost is quickly offset.

The other benefit to an MBA is long-term stability. Whether an organization is public or private, for-profit or not-for-profit, to be successful they need strategic thinking, management skills, and business knowledge. MBA grads are trained in all the above, and thus rarely find themselves at a professional dead-end. Even in economic downturns, MBA grads tend to fare better than their counterparts.

Last but not least, an MBA degree offers maximum career flexibility (which of course helps career stability). Roles in business, finance, and banking remain common, but increasingly MBA graduates are pursuing careers outside of the traditional track, and MBA programs have adapted, offering specializations in areas such as public policy, healthcare administration, media, and more.

Following the digital boom, Information Technology MBAs are especially popular right now. Below, we examine what an MBA in Information Technology entails, as well as job prospects, expected salaries, related degrees and MBA specializations, and more. If you want to learn about specific programs, check out our ranking for the 10 Best Online Information Technology MBA Degree Programs.

What MBA Courses Will I Take?

A general MBA curriculum might include some or all of the following courses.

  • Managerial Economics
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Quantitative Analysis
  • Asset Valuation
  • Marketing Management
  • Production & Operations Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Business Communication
  • Business Ethics
  • Business Strategy

MBA core courses are designed to build skills in analytics, management, strategy, and business ethics, balancing technical emphases and academic theory. Most programs are two years, but accelerated MBAs are increasingly common, and mini MBAs offer a distilled version of the degree. Further, though all MBAs are built to be somewhat flexible, online MBAs combine the same rigorous coursework of on-campus degrees with highly flexible scheduling and delivery to accommodate a wide variety of adult learners, working professionals, and non-traditional students.

What Information Technology Courses Will I Take?

Every IT specialzation is different, but potential coursework might include any of the following:

  • Information and Technology Management
  • Systems Analysis & Design
  • Database Development & Management
  • Corporate Information Security
  • Business Intelligence
  • IT Project Management
  • Networks & Telecommunication
  • Decision Support Systems
  • Enterprise System Management

Every good IT MBA should also include a capstone project or other experiential learning component, offering students an opportunity to build their professional network as well as hands-on practice to hone and develop technical skills.

What Skills Will I Develop With an MBA in Information Technology

  • Plan, strategize, and capitalize on business trends and opportunities in a changing global environment
  • Practice clear, concise and persuasive communication skills to lead and manage diverse, multicultural organizations
  • Apply socially responsible and sustainable practices
  • Track, analyze, and leverage big data for decision-making
  • Use Decision Support Systems (DSS) as managerial tools in both small and large-scale organizational environments
  • Understand the tradeoffs in information systems hardware, software, and architecture for effective use
  • Maximize e-commerce efficiency, operations, and revenue using interactive marketing and market-spaces, agent-based commerce and intelligent markets, EDI transaction via Extranets, database interfaces, personalization and targeted communications, security, encryption, payment systems, and more

What Related IT and MBA Degrees Are Available?

Every MBA in Information Technology is unique, and many go by different names. Other common and related MBA specializations to look out for are Technology Management, Small Business Information Technology, Information Systems, Information Security, Cybersecurity, System Analysis and Design, and others. If you decide to pursue a more IT-focused, less business-oriented track, most of the above are also available as master’s degrees.

Alternatively, a general MBA offers electives that students can use to create a customized IT track, and specializations in Entrepreneurship, Finance, and Social Media contain IT elements.

Notable Accrediting Bodies for Information Technology MBAs

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business: the AACSB provides quality assurance, business education intelligence, and professional development services to more than 800 accredited business schools

Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs : the ACBSP accredits over 1,000 institutions at quality business programs across the globe

International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education: the IACBE accredits more than 230 educational institutions in over 20 countries

Computing Sciences Accreditation Board: CSAB is the lead society within ABET for computer science and information technology programs

For a comprehensive review, check out our MBA accreditation guide.

Salary and Job Prospects for Information Technology MBAs

According to Payscale, MBA grads earn an average salary of about $83K. Management occupations in general will grow 8% over the next decade, per the BLS, translating to 807,000 jobs with a median annual salary of $102k.

Managers with IT expertise have even better career prospects: jobs for Computer and Information Systems Managers will grow 12% and command a $140K a year, and by 2026 the country will have added 560,000 new computer and information technology jobs.

Related roles and salaries include:

  • Management Analyst: $82,450
  • IT Project Manager: $100,764
  • Business Intelligence Manager: $123,851
  • Financial Manager: $125,080
  • Chief Information Officer: $134,388