The Master of Business Administration with Information Systems Concentration online program offered by Emporia State University prepares students with the skills and credentials to compete for upper level management positions. Students gain the expertise to manage IT projects and assess an organization’s IT capabilities through coursework that emphasizes real-world business challenges with a focus on IT project management techniques.
Career prospects for graduates of an MBA in Information Systems program are excellent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2017 median annual income for people with this degree is $139,220 per year, or $66.93 per hour. Many organizations require personnel in this field to have a graduate degree, and an MBA is common among computer and information systems managers.
Because the information systems MBA provides training in management, finance, marketing and economics, as well as IT, a graduate has the necessary insights to collaborate with other corporate leaders in merging technology objectives with corporate goals. In fact, as technology and computer systems become more central to business, it is becoming increasingly common for C-suite executives to have a background in this field.
Given these trends, employment in the management information systems field is projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for professionals with the requisite skills is anticipated to grow as firms increasingly expand their businesses to digital platforms.
According to the BLS, “Most computer and information systems managers start out as lower-level managers and advance to higher positions within the IT department. IT directors or project managers can advance to become CTOs. A CTO or other manager who is especially business-minded can advance to become a chief information officer (CIO), the person in charge of all IT-related decisions in an organization. CIOs can advance to become top executives in an organization.”
So what are some of the most rewarding opportunities pursued by recent graduates of an MBA in information systems program? What do these roles entail, what are their respective outlooks, and what levels of compensation are offered?
Note: Average annual U.S. salary data from Salary.com and PayScale as of March 2019
- Information Technology Director: $170,233
This position blends technical and management expertise and typically reports to the chief information officer (CIO). IT directors are responsible for the strategies and implementations of computer information systems within an organization. Often, organizations will have multiple people in IT director roles, each of whom holds management responsibilities of a departmental sub-function. These may include developing and administering IT policies, IT hiring, and working with executives in business planning. Because of the level of expertise required to successfully execute these functions, IT directors typically have five or more years of prior management experience, as well as an MBA or master’s degree. The tasks involved in this position include the following:
- Create policies, strategies, and objectives for their respective sub-functions.
- Evaluate available new and existing technologies for organizational deployment.
- Develop or modify information systems to support the business.
- Manage the decision processes for bringing in or developing new applications.
- Information Technology Manager: $119,538
Every organization today depends on an effective technology infrastructure, including a central information processing system. An IT professional in this role evaluates a business’s operational requirements, researches approaches to problems and solutions, and builds cost-effective information systems to meet the requirements. Some of the tasks involved in the position include:
- Implement IT policies and strategies in support of business and technology objectives.
- Manage IT activities, from daily systems management to hardware and software upgrades.
- Oversee IT support function within an organization.
- Research and recommend IT equipment and applications.
- Senior IT Project Manager: $124,338
Under the purview of IT directors and managers, professionals in this role are responsible for managing technology projects and ensuring completion within specified time frames and budgets.
In any large or medium-sized organization, there are typically a broad range of IT projects underway at any given time. These may include adding functionality to a business website, upgrading an enterprise resource planning system, or improving the infrastructure of customer service technologies.
Senior IT PMs typically work as team leads, whereas less-experienced IT PMs often work collaboratively under a team lead or independently, depending on projects. At all levels of experience, PMs must manage the scope of their projects, including the schedules of personnel and vendors involved, from concept to contractual deliverable.
- Senior Business Analyst: $83,498
Senior business analysts (SBA) take on complex projects that often integrate business and IT systems. The role is ideally suited to a graduate of an MBA in information systems program, because it requires both technical and business management proficiency. These professionals often handle enterprise analysis, addressing business challenges and defining business needs for specific projects. Often, the solutions are technology-based and require hardware and software changes. Because these professionals combine business and IT expertise, they are often sought after within organizations as consultants for internal stakeholders, helping to diagnose and solve complex business and technology problems. SBAs also typically manage teams of business analysts, in addition to taking on the most complex projects.
These are just a few of the key opportunities for graduates of MBA in information systems programs. If you pursue this degree, you may find that, as you gain expertise in both business management and IT, your interests continue to evolve. This is the nature of information systems, a dynamic and thriving hotbed of career opportunity, driven by disciplined, yet imaginative minds.