What Can I Do With An Information Technology MBA?

In the following guide we will explore the factors of success for professionals holding an MBA with an Information Technology specialization, or an IT MBA. As a burgeoning market there is a robust catalogue of tremendous opportunities available to graduates of these programs. 

In this guide we will review the tried and true paths that lead to seizing upon such opportunities. Our researchers have scoured the internet to glean the most valuable conclusions and helpful strategies for both current and prospective students. We also provide the resources to explore other professional paths if they are better fitting to your goals and aspirations. As such, below we have compiled useful links and resources that will aid you in your academic and professional journey:

General Questions about MBA Programs 

Additional MBA Specializations Information

Best Online IT MBA Schools

Best Business Program Rankings 

Fastest Business Program Rankings 

Most Affordable Business Program Rankings 

What is a Career in IT Business Administration? 

Business Administration refers to the leading, managing, and directing the business operations of a commercial enterprise. If a business is a ship then business administration is the team that works in the captain’s quarters. Business administration professionals oversee all the important aspects of daily business–financing, budgeting, office administration, quality assurance, data science, sales, research and development, as well as marketing. Essentially, a business administrator is one who leverages all of a commercial enterprise’s tools to direct more informed decision-making for the enterprise. 

Many business administrators might even take on more responsibilities depending on their speciality. A business administrator might specialize in sales operations, large employee group management, or they might specialize in a niche market of business. This is where the Information Technology Master’s of Business Administration (IT MBA) comes in–business administrators who specialize in the management of information will typically hold either an IT MBA, or an MBA in addition to schooling or training in areas concerning information technology (IT). 

These professionals specialize in the business operations of commercial entities in the data science, software, and information sectors. Or they work within a large company with many branches to oversee the branch specifically concerned with the management of information and data. In 2021 data and information is a billion dollar commodity and business professionals who specialize in IT capitalize on ensuing market opportunities.

Why Earn an IT MBA?

An IT MBA positions students to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities that result from the overlapping of business and technology. When you think about it, there really isn’t any business operation in 2021 that does not rely on technology in some form or fashion. Business communications these days occur largely online–through email, over video chats, or business messenger applications.

Besides business operations becoming increasingly dependent on technology, products themselves are becoming more and more tech-centered, heck! Even refrigerators can have internet connections these days that can even post to twitter. If refrigerators are getting the high-tech treatment, it is only commonsensical that business professionals would, too. 

But what does this mean to you, specifically? Well earning an IT MBA is one of the best ways to distinguish yourself in the business job market. MBA programs have come increasingly under fire lately, due to churning out more over-qualified business professionals than the market needs. This has led to many MBA holders having trouble finding work that is commensurate with their level of education. 

One of the primary reasons for this bottleneck is that graduates of MBA programs seldom have enough that differentiates them enough. MBA programs are so specialized to begin with that they often do not offer a tremendous amount of flexibility in terms of optional degree specializations or concentrations. An IT MBA of course is the glaring exception to this rule, and it is why it offers such tremendous value to students–it simultaneously distinguishes students from competition while also positioning them to break into the booming industry of IT business. 

Additional MBA Specializations to Consider 

List of Benefits from Obtaining an IT MBA 

As mentioned above the reasons for obtaining an IT MBA are numerous and substantial, however it can be helpful to list them outright–so here is a breakdown of the most meaningful benefits of earning an IT MBA: 

  • Can be earned through an array of program formats to accommodate even the busiest of schedules
    • Part-time 
    • Full-time
    • Night classes
    • Weekend classes
    • Fully on-campus programs (traditional graduate education)
    • Fully-online programs
    • Hybrid programs (combines elements of online and on-campus)
  • Distinguishes from competition who hold an MBA without a specialization 
  • Positions students to take advantage of burgeoning IT-Business industry 
  • Grooms students for positions of leadership and management 
  • Positions of management and leadership are often the highest-paying 
  • Provides a streamlined route in the IT industry for business students 
  • IT Business administrators are highly desired in the job market 

It should be noted that there will be countless more benefits at the individual level for a particular student, however this list covers the near-universal benefits for students of all backgrounds and career aspirations who earn an IT MBA. 

General Questions about MBAs

The Difference between an MBA and Master’s of Management

The exact differences between an MBA and a Master’s of Management will depend on the particular program and the school offering it. Most notably though, program directors report that a Master’s of Management is commonly designed for recent college graduates who wish to jump into a business career as quickly as possible. Many of these students do not have previous business experience or education. 

In other words, a Master’s of Management appears to fill the niche of graduate level business education that prepares recent college graduates for careers in business. Curriculums are more generalized and requirements are more flexible in order to accommodate students from various backgrounds outside of business. 

Conversely, an MBA is typically designed as an upper-echelon route of education for students with high-end business education and real world business experience. MBA programs cover an extensive array of specialized business topics predicated on the completion of undergraduate business coursework and some real-world business experience. In fact, many MBA programs require applicants to have 3-5 years of business management experience–that’s not just business experience, it’s experience as a business leader. 

For this reason, MBA programs are able to dive into a host of topics that might be too overwhelming for someone with a limited background in business. For instance, MBA students will dive into comprehensive explorations of the following business topics: 

  • Accounting
  • Acquisitions
  • Budgeting
  • Business Ethics
  • Business Law
  • Company Structures
  • Finance
  • Human Resources Management 
  • International Business 
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Macroeconomics
  • Mergers
  • Microeconomics
  • Sales
  • Statistics
  • Operations

Additional Information on MBAs and Master’s of Management Programs 

The Difference between an MBA and IT MBA

Much like the differences between an MBA and an IT MBA, the exact differences between the two will depend on the particular programs of comparison and the School or College that offers them. For the most part though, an IT MBA is still an MBA program at its core–curriculum will be mostly defined by traditional business administration coursework and exploration of business topics. 

Where the IT MBA distinguishes itself is its specialized coursework. An IT MBA will typically offer the IT specialization as a selection of electives or a grouping of courses–typically around 3 to 5 courses depending on the program. To give an example, an IT MBA student might progress through the typical MBA curriculum listed in the sections above but will be given the opportunity to choose from the following course options to establish a desired area of speciality: 

  • Automation and AI in Business
  • Big Data Analytics Managemen
  • Business Intelligence and Analysis Technology
  • Business of Software Development
  • Business Process Analysis and Design
  • Data Science and Business Technology
  • Database Development and Applications
  • Emerging Technologies for Business
  • Enterprise Systems Deployment
  • Managing Information Systems
  • Market Analytics Applications and Software
  • IT Project Management

Readers might notice at this point that while some programs will offer more opportunities for IT specialization, a selection of 3-5 courses may or may not provide enough coursework for a students’ desired level of specialization. IT MBA programs are fairly self-aware of this issue and look to fill this gap through facilitating opportunities for professional development. 

Specifically, IT MBA programs often offer facilitated research and internship opportunities, so that students can begin building a highly targeted professional expertise. An MBA is a notoriously packed curriculum to begin with, so students looking for a more in-depth IT education will likely need to pursue an additional degree to an MBA, because there really is not too much wiggle room in terms of base-MBA curriculum space. 

An alternative to an IT MBA to consider is the Master’s of Information Management, which focuses less on traditional MBA curriculum, opting instead to focus more comprehensively on IT enterprise management (What can I Do with an IT Management Degree?). Similarly, students may wish to earn enroll in any of the following programs: 

  • Masters in Management Information Systems
  • Master’s in Management – Data Science Concentration
  • Master of Science in Information Technology
  • Master of Science in Information Technology – Management Concentration
  • Master of Science in Business Management – Software Development Concentration
  • Master of Science in Management – IT Concentration
  • Master of Science in Leadership – IT Concentration

Essentially, a student needs to choose their fundamental interest. For students who are fundamentally interested in working as business managers in the IT industry, an IT MBA will be a strong option. For students interested more in specializing within a niche area of IT, a Master’s of Science in Information Technology with a desired concentration might be the better option. 

Earning an IT-MBA: Professional Outcomes 

One of the most promising areas of employment for an IT-MBA student to consider is the role of company executive. After demonstrating success as a manager and administrator, professionals can set their eyes on landing an executive role. A company executive oversees the entirety of a company’s business operations, strategizing and directing operations accordingly to hit performance benchmarks. 

Many MBA programs offer executive-grooming opportunities, either directly through coursework or indirectly through internship opportunities. While the path to employment as an executive is competitive and arduous, the rewards are immense as you will see in the profile below (as provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics): 

IT Company Executive Profile

  • 2,774,300 Executives in 2019
  • Job market growing at a rate of 4% (commensurate with national average)
  • This equates to an influx of about 115,000 new executive positions over next 10 years
  • Median Salary of about $105,000 per year
  • Hourly wage equates to about $50.33 per hour
  • Executives typically hold at least a Bachelor’s degree
  • Executives typically have 5 years of professional experience

While this profile is impressive in itself, the metrics only get more promising when you look into the numbers concerning high performing industries. Readers will be particularly interested in the profile of IT company executives. Let’s look at those numbers more closely. The BLS reports that the top performing industries for company executives looks something like this: 

Top Executives 

  • Manufacturing
    • Annual Salaries of $208,000 or more
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services
    • Annual Salaries of $208,000 or more
  • Healthcare and social assistance
    • Annual Salaries of $166,410
  • Government
    • Annual Salaries of $110,230

General and Operations Managers 

  • Professional, scientific, and technical services
    • Annual Salaries of $140,840
  • Manufacturing
    • Annual Salaries of $118,180
  • Wholesale trade
    • Annual Salaries of $104,880
  • Construction
    • Annual Salaries of $102,270
  • Retail trade
    • Annual Salaries of $73,190

According to the BLS, the professional, scientific, and technical services industry–which is the industry of interest for IT MBA students–consists of the following sectors: 

  • Legal Services
  • Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services
  • Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services
  • Specialized Design Services
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services
  • Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services
  • Scientific Research and Development Services
  • Advertising and Related Services
  • Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

The most notable takeaway here is that the professional, scientific, and technical services sector is the highest performing between both top executives and general and operation managers. This means that students earning an IT MBA will position themselves to earn top-end salaries throughout their careers–specifically, as entry-level operations managers and eventually as top executives. 

Specifically, IT MBA students will want to position themselves to take advantage of management positions in the sectors in greatest need of IT-MBA educated professionals, which specifically includes the following sectors: 

  • Specialized Design Services
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services
  • Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services
  • Scientific Research and Development Services
  • Advertising and Related Services
  • Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

IT MBA students who find employment in these sectors will earn salaries of $140,000 to $208,000–depending on whether IT MBA graduates find employment as managers or executives–is a tremendous salary to consider. Considering the median American earnings were $68,703 in 2019, the salaries mentioned above are more than double and even three times greater than national averages. Moreover these salaries represent a 40%-100% increase from the average salaries for a company executive–which demonstrates all the more clearly just how explosive and profitable the IT-Business sector really is. 

Why does this matter to you? Well MBA programs are notoriously expensive, and can be even more expensive when they are specialized in content or format. That is, specialized IT MBA programs and MBAs offered online often cost a pretty penny. This makes it all the more important to ensure that students can pay off student debt after graduation. Thankfully with the professional outcomes listed above, this really is not something that IT MBA students need to worry about–it really is the case of ‘a good program pays for itself.’

Carrie Morris

Warren Dahl