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What is an MBA in Information SystemsWhat is an MBA in Information Systems

An MBA in Information Systems (IS) provides students with an academic curriculum focused on creating value with information. Businesses use IS to boost interdepartmental productivity, safeguard consumer information, and store valuable internal company data. In today’s knowledge economy, a highly-proficient IS team can be a strategic advantage. The MBA in Information Systems enables IS leaders to improve, protect, and optimize a company’s intellectual capital. For example, an e-commerce IS team is responsible for optimizing the company’s proprietary customer service platform. This will allow sales reps to seamlessly place product orders, enable customers to access an external order checkout system, and provides marketing departments with real-time inventory.

The field of management information systems (MIS) covers the analysis, design, implementation, and management of information systems. IS supports the various operational departments of an organization. Successful IS managers, first and foremost, need a firm grasp on multiple computer platforms, languages, and programs. Software engineering is just one facet of IS. To be a highly-proficient Information Systems manager, having excellent problem-solving skills is a must. The MIS concentration focuses on IS resource management and advanced topics in system development and management tools and techniques. Like most positions in the business world, Information Systems managers need to possess excellent communication skills. Their day-to-day consists of interacting with multiple departments and breaking down complicated technical jargon into laymen’s terms.

The Management Information Systems (MIS) job consists of gathering, collecting, storing, analyzing, and disseminating information for managerial decision making. IS professionals manage data critical to the strategic success of an organization. The Information System department has a considerable role in the quality assurance of the company. If there is an easier, more accurate, more proficient way of solving a problem, IS will most likely have their hand in the solution.

The MIS faculty conducts research and teaches courses to further expand your understanding of management information systems. They are usually seasoned professionals in the Information Technology (IT) industry and can incorporate real-world application into the classroom. Research and dissertations for MBA faculty usually focus on database systems, computer networks, information security and privacy, human-computer interaction, knowledge management, evolutionary computation, intelligent systems, and e-commerce. Specific areas include infrastructure design, information goods, bundling, and pricing.

Employment of computer and information systems managers is projected to grow 12% through 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. The push for companies to go digital will only increase the need for Information System managers in all business sectors. Cybersecurity in computer and information systems will drive the need for IT managers. Industries such as online retailers need to implement more robust security policies as cyber threats increase. Safeguarding a customer’s highly-sensitive credit card information will be paramount to the success of an online company.

What are Average Salaries Among Information Systems ManagersWhat are Average Salaries Among Information Systems Managers

The median annual wage for computer and information systems managers is $135,800. The lowest 10% earned less than $82,360 and the highest 10% earned more than $208,000.

The median annual wages for computer and information systems managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Sector Avg. Salary
Information $150,190
Computer systems design and related services $143,040
Finance and insurance $142,890
Manufacturing $139,540
Management of companies and enterprises $136,690

Here’s what to expect with an MBA in Information Systems:

Excellent compensation: $131,600 per year is the average salary for all computer and information systems managers.

Plentiful job opportunities: Employment of network and computer systems administrators is expected to grow 15% through 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

What Can I Do With an MBA in Information SystemsWhat Can I Do With an MBA in Information Systems

The need for companies to stay up-to-date with their existing technology is critical to their longevity, especially in highly competitive industries. Whether it’s adding a quality assurance program to a call center, integrating real-time inventory into a firm’s CRM system, or building an internal database for sales tracking, an IS team is responsible for managing it all. As traditional brick and mortar businesses turn to e-commerce, guiding the technology direction of a company will be especially important. IS professionals help determine both technical and business goals in consultation with top management, and make detailed plans for the accomplishment of these goals. For example, e-commerce management relies heavily on customer satisfaction metrics in order to tailor their new hire training programs. IS managers are capable of gathering quality assurance data from top-rated customer experiences. This will be invaluable when shaping a new training program for entry-level customer service representatives.

Opportunities

Career Growth Median Salary
Computer Systems Analyst 14% $72,980
Computer User Support Specialist 9%-13% $43,020
Database Administrator 9%-13% $65,780
Network and Computer Systems Administrator 5%-8% $68,360

 

  • Chief information officers (CIOs) determine the technology or information goals of an organization and then oversee implementation of technology to align with company-wide goals.
    CIOs may focus on a specific area, such as electronic data processing or information systems, but CIOs tend to focus more on long-term or big picture issues. At small organizations, a CIO has more direct control over the IT department, and at larger organizations, other managers under the CIO may handle the day-to-day activities of the IT department.
  • Chief technology officers (CTOs) evaluate new technology and determine how it can help their organization. When both CIOs and CTOs are present, the CTO usually has more technical expertise.
    The CTO usually reports directly to the CIO and is responsible for designing and recommending the appropriate technology solutions to support the CIO’s policies and directives. CTOs also work with different departments to implement the organization’s technology plans.
  • IT directors, including management information systems (MIS) directors, are in charge of their organizations’ information technology (IT) departments, and they directly supervise other employees. IT directors help to determine the business requirements for IT systems, and they implement the policies that have been chosen by top executives. IT directors often have a direct role in hiring members of the IT department. It is their job to ensure the availability of data and network services by coordinating IT activities. IT directors also oversee the financial aspects of their department, such as budgeting.
  • IT security managers oversee their organizations’ network and data security. They work with top executives to plan security policies and promote a culture of information security throughout the organization. They develop programs to keep employees aware of security threats. These managers must keep up to date on IT security measures. They also supervise investigations if there is a security violation.

What are Required Skills for a Successful Career in Information SystemsWhat are Required Skills for a Successful Career in Information Systems

Sector Description
Analytical skills IT managers must analyze problems and consider and select the best ways to solve them.
Business skills IT managers must develop and implement strategic plans to reach the goals of their organizations.
Communication skills IT managers must explain their work to top executives and give clear instructions to their subordinates.
Decision-Making skills Some IT managers must make important decisions about how to allocate resources in order to reach their organizations’ goals.
Leadership skills IT managers must lead and motivate IT teams or departments so that workers are efficient and effective.
Organizational skills Some IT managers must coordinate the work of several different IT departments to make the organization run efficiently.
Critical business management skills
  • Financial data for decisions
  • Organizational development
  • Competing in a global environment
  • Project management
Essential database management skills
  • Data models and structures
  • Storage and sharing
  • Security, integrity, and consistency
Best practices in information system management, analysis, and design
  • Defining systems requirements
  • Logical and physical design
  • Development and implementation
Strategic business application of IS principles
  • Information system policy
  • Social and legal considerations
  • Information centers
  • Information security

What are the Typical Classes for an MBA in Information SystemsWhat are the Typical Classes for an MBA in Information Systems

  • Analysis and Development of Information Systems. This course presents and analyzes various approaches to information analysis and development of organizational information systems within a system development life-cycle (SDLC), e.g. the waterfall, concentric, and prototyping approaches. Topics include strategic planning for SDLC, front-end and back-end phases of SDLC, project management, CASE methodologies, and balancing user, organizational, and technical considerations.
  • Integrating Information Systems Technologies. This course focuses on the issues surrounding the design of an overall Information Technology architecture. The traditional approach in organizations is to segment the problem into four areas network, hardware, data, and applications. Instead, this course concentrates on the interdependencies among these architectures. In addition, this course will utilize management research on organizational integration and coordination. The student will learn how to design in the large, make appropriate choices about architecture in relationship to overall organization goals, understand the different mechanisms for coordination available, and create a process for establishing and maintaining an ongoing enterprise architecture.
  • Information Technology Strategy. The objective of this course is to address the important question, “How does one improve the alignment of business and Information Technology strategies?” The course is designed for advanced graduate students. It provides the student with the most current approaches to deriving business and Information Technology strategies while ensuring harmony among the organizations. Topics include business strategy, business infrastructure, IT strategy, strategic alignment, methods/metrics for building strategies, and achieving alignment.
  • Managing Emerging Information Technology. IT organizations must be able to leverage new technologies. This course focuses on how organizations can effectively and efficiently assess trends and emerging technologies in data and knowledge management, information networks, and analyzing and developing application systems. Students will learn how to help their organizations define, select, and adopt new information technologies.
  • Organizational Behavior and Design. This course exposes students to the macro and micro aspects of organizational behavior and theory that are essential to technology management. The macro aspects will focus on structural contingency theory as an approach to effective organizational design. The micro aspects will focus on leadership, teams, and individual behavior (e.g., motivation, job attitudes).
  • Process Innovation and Management. This course focuses on the role of Information Technology (IT) in re-engineering and enhancing key business processes. The implications for organizational structures and processes, as the result of increased opportunities to deploy information and streamline business systems, are covered.

How Much is Tuition for MBA Information Systems ProgramsHow Much is Tuition for MBA Information Systems Programs

The goal of an MBA student is to obtain a well-respected graduate degree without a large student debt burden. With that being said, the average salary for Information Systems Managers is right around $135,800 per year. It may be worthwhile to attend a higher ranked institution if your GMAT scores and undergraduate GPA are competitive. It’s always smart to determine just how much debt your willing to carry coming out of an MBA program. Thankfully, you have options. The average in-state tuition for full-time on-campus MBA programs in Information Systems is $40,916.09 compared to the out-of-state full-time tuition of $$56,001.36. The average Online MBA in Information Systems is a bit higher than on-campus programs: $42,082.10 for in-state online programs compared to $57,225.15 for out-of-state online programs.

Campus Tuition

Online Tuition

GMAT Scores for MBA Information Systems ProgramsGMAT Scores for MBA Information Systems Programs

It’s important to note that not all MBA in Information Systems Programs require a GMAT score for admissions. The majority of the competitive-to-highly-competitive MBA programs do require GMAT scores. The average GMAT score is 564 for on-campus full-time MBA programs in Information Systems. B-School admittants have a GMAT range anywhere from 337 to 737. The average online GMAT score for the IS concentration is 574. If you’re looking to guarantee a slot at one of the elite B-Schools, a GMAT prep course is highly recommended. There are also plenty of other factors that go into the admissions decision. They include undergraduate GPA, professional experience, personal statement, extracurricular activities, etc.

Campus GMAT Scores

Online GMAT Scores

Student / Faculty Ratio for MBA Information Systems ProgramsStudent / Faculty Ratio for MBA Information Systems Programs

When selecting an MBA program, rarely does one consider the student-to-faculty ratio of their curriculum – even though they should. If you’re a student that flourishes in smaller classrooms environments and loves the one-on-one interaction with professors, a low student-to-faculty ratio may factor into your success as an MBA student. The best MBA student/faculty ratio for Information Systems programs is 0.07 compared to the worst MBA student/faculty ratio of 12.84. These numbers are similar for both on-campus and online programs. If you don’t mind being taught in a lecture hall environment, a large student/faculty ratio may not be a concern. Since the MBA in Information Systems curriculum is highly technical, B-Students may want to tailor their preferred learning style accordingly.

Campus Student/Faculty Ratio

Online Student/Faculty Ratio

Student Population for MBA Information Systems ProgramsStudent Population for MBA Information Systems Programs

Just as important as the student/faculty ratio is enrollment size. The average full-time on-campus enrollment size is 385 students for the MBA in Information Systems program compared to a part-time on-campus student body size of 393. If you’re looking to network during your graduate studies, having a significant student population is crucial to building professional relationships. Larger MBA programs usually have regularly scheduled job fairs to recruit top MBA talent. This is especially true in the Information Systems field where job opportunities are plentiful for graduates.

An online MBA student will have exposure to diverse collection of students from all over the world. This can be extremely valuable during your studies. The MBA in Information Systems’ average online MBA enrollment is 398 students.

Campus Enrollment

Online Enrollment

Student Population from the United StatesStudent Population from the United States

The MBA in Information Systems concentration attracts students from all over the world. The average percentage of students from the U.S. enrolled in on-campus traditional MBA in IS programs is 76.95%. This is compared to a 77.89% average for online MBA programs in Information Systems. A more culturally diverse student population is especially important in an ever-changing global economy. If a graduate student has plans to work overseas or for a multinational company, gaining insight into how other countries conduct business is invaluable. The MBA is IS concentration will attract extremely talented global students interested in taking their I.T. experience to the next level. Learning from a diverse student population can only strengthen your IT skills.

Campus Global Enrollment

Online Global Enrollment

Faculty Information for MBA Information Systems ProgramsFaculty Information for MBA Information Systems Programs

If you plan on applying to an MBA in Information Systems, you owe it to yourself to research the credentials of adjunct and full-time professors. The sign of a high-quality MBA program is directly related to the number of professors holding doctorate degrees. Terminal degrees are a clear indication of a quality program. The administration values business professors that have reached the pinnacle of their academic career.

Both full-time campus (85) and online MBA programs (86) average 85.5 doctorate degrees per program.

Campus Faculty Numbers

Online Faculty Numbers

List of Campus and Online MBA Information Systems ProgramsList of Campus and Online MBA Information Systems Programs

  • The number of on-campus MBA Information Systems programs offered: 134
  • The number of online MBA Information Systems programs offered: 55

There are 134 on-campus MBA in Information Systems programs in the U.S. giving prospective B-School students plenty of options. There are 55 online MBA in Information Systems programs as well. Whether you’re looking for a part-time Executive MBA for professional adults, a full-time on-campus traditional MBA, or a flexible Online MBA program, B-Schools have tailored their IS curriculums around the IT professional at different stages of their career. Online learning platforms have come a long way. eLearning platforms are equipped with live lectures, collaborative learning, and interactive lessons – making the online MBA a viable option for students limited by their geographical location. The traditional on-campus route lends itself to greater opportunity with regard to networking with fellow colleagues and professors. With that being said, only you can decide the optimal learning environment that suits your career aspirations as a business student.

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About Michael J. Marquis

Michael J. Marquis is a Portland, Maine-based freelance copywriter and MBA-graduate who loves writing about disruptive technology. When he's not exploring interesting parts of the world, you can find him at either Gillette Stadium watching his beloved New England Patriots or at a local Portland coffee shop working on his next copywriting assignment. Feel free to find Mike on Twitter @MarquisInteract.