The importance of information technology (IT) has exploded in the past two decades. The rise of personal computers and the more recent development of efficient cloud computing have given businesses new frontiers for growth.
To make the most of this new potential, companies need business leaders and skilled professionals who understand IT. You can prepare for this career opportunity by taking on an MBA with a focus on information technology.
An MBA program with a focus on IT can provide valuable skills and technical knowledge to people with diverse career backgrounds, from marketing to HR to accounting. The MBA’s focus on business skills and technical training can help any professional become an invaluable leader at their company.
What Makes MBAs With an IT Focus Valuable?
According to recent data, global investment in IT grew by 25% between 2016 and 2020, and it’s on track to continue. Projected global IT investment for 2023 is more than $4.6 billion, and IT services account for the largest portion of that growth.
This dramatic growth is the root of modern demand for professionals who understand IT. With all this investment, it’s more important than ever for companies to have a robust and dynamic approach to information technology. Business leaders need to understand how their organizations implement technology to guide organization decisions successfully. An MBA in Information Technology can equip you with skills and insight to support your organization’s business operations within constantly changing technical environments.
This is true regardless of how large or small an organization may be. Small businesses need IT services to remain competitive in an increasingly crowded market, while large organizations rely on IT to keep critical business functions like communication and marketing running smoothly. An MBA provides the fundamental skills to manage these situations, while an IT specialization grants additional knowledge on how technology fits into the picture.
Furthermore, IT is equally critical across every industry. Everything from hospitals and schools to retail stores and restaurants uses technology to perform daily business activities. That means business professionals with an MBA and experience in IT can find a home in any industry, no matter their background.
Information Technology: Only Part of the Picture
Information technology MBA programs have two primary focuses. One element of the program is an in-depth study of IT subjects. However, an MBA program with a specialization in IT is different from a standard IT graduate degree because it also covers how IT functions within a business.
MBA degrees are the best path for professionals who want to become company leaders through advanced business and technical skills. Not only can you gain the skills needed to succeed in an IT environment, but you also learn valuable business skills that can help you manage people. The benefits of this approach include skills such as:
Better Insight Into Company Operations
Information technology is connected to every part of a business’s operations. The better you understand individual departments and business functions, the more you can support their needs with effective IT solutions.
An MBA with a specialization in IT gives you the insight you need to perform this level of support. You’ll develop a thorough knowledge of how businesses operate, allowing you to make connections between possible IT services and your specific company’s needs. You’ll also learn how other IT departments have solved problems within their organizations, which will make it easier to lead your company and implement your own solutions.
Deeper Understanding of IT’s Integration in Business Functions
An MBA with an IT specialization increases your insight into business operations by demonstrating how information technology integrates with different functions. For example, an MBA Information Technology program will help you understand connections between:
- IT and Accounting: The accounting department is responsible for keeping records that follow guidelines and principles such as the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board’s rules. IT is critical to this process since most records are digital.
- IT and Finance: Financial officers need to make secure digital transactions to protect the organization from theft and malicious activity. IT helps provide safe, encrypted communications and keeps viruses out of the organization’s systems.
- IT and Marketing: Marketers research online customer behaviors and manage digital advertisements. IT often supports research with solutions such as dedicated web scrapers and setting up marketing analytics programs.
- IT and Manufacturing: Many manufacturing systems are automated, and IT is necessary to keep their programs up-to-date, troubleshoot problems, and improve efficiency with new technology.
- IT and Supply Chain Management: Monitoring the status of the supply chain and improving efficiency often involves dedicated software, which IT is responsible for maintaining and supporting.
An information technology MBA will help you understand the details of each of these relationships and all the other ways in which technology permeates everyday business activities.
Knowledge of Business Strategic Design and Risk Management
Another way an MBA with an IT specialization can support your understanding of business operations is by teaching you how to design IT solutions that align with business objectives. You’ll also learn to minimize risks related to business disruption, poor data, and security flaws.
These degrees teach you what companies value when setting goals and how they make decisions. The business element of an MBA will also cover how you can participate in these choices and support resulting strategies.
For example, companies attempt to balance risk with growth, including weighing the benefits of tight security measures with the costs associated with that protection. With an MBA with an IT specialization, you’ll learn how to help your company balance security and growth through new technology and training initiatives.
Improved Soft Skills
Finally, MBA programs focus on soft skills such as communication and critical thinking. It’s one thing to understand the intricacies of IT, but it’s another issue entirely to explain technology to other people accurately. The ability to communicate clearly and solve problems sets excellent professionals apart from the rest.
MBAs help you improve soft skills by dedicating time to group projects and presentations. Long-term cooperative efforts are vital for most businesses, so most MBAs include a significant focus on group work. However, an MBA with a specialization in IT specifically teaches you to communicate about the intricate details involved in technology, which isn’t covered in other degree programs.
You may spend time creating mock proposals with a team or practice solving software problems as a group. In both cases, you’ll need to take the technical language you’ve learned and break it down so people with other specializations can understand. As a result, you learn to think critically about IT considerations and communicate them to your peers, supervisors, and stakeholders.
Opportunities in Information Technology Are Growing
While the BLS doesn’t track salary and job growth by degree attainment — there’s no projected data for MBA graduates — there is a lot of information about professionals working in IT. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that available positions will grow 13% between 2020 and 2030. That’s faster than the average job growth rate of all occupations.
The BLS also lists the current median annual wage for IT workers as $91,250. This is the average across the field, from people with IT bachelor’s degrees to those with graduate experience, and it’s significantly higher than the national median salary for all jobs. IT professionals benefit from increased demand, but an additional MBA degree with IT knowledge can set you apart from other applicants.
The Information Technology Experience
IT is a broad field, and it’s growing every day. In general, IT professionals are responsible for their organization’s technical needs. The goals of IT are threefold:
- Implementing efficient and cost-effective technical solutions across the organization’s different functions.
- Maintaining the organization’s current technology.
- Keeping the organization secure from digital threats and disasters.
These three objectives are broad but important. An MBA in Information Technology can offer you the skills necessary to take on these responsibilities in whatever context they appear. With an MBA, you learn how to address the needs of your business. Adding additional IT knowledge to your degree can boost your skills even further.
The difference between an MBA with an IT focus and an IT degree is important. IT degrees focus on technical skills almost exclusively. For example, a bachelor’s degree in IT would heavily focus on programming and hardware maintenance abilities. In contrast, an MBA includes a well-rounded education in how businesses operate and the needs of each department. In combination, an MBA in Information Technology provides unmatched insight into improving an organization’s technical performance.
The MBA With a Specialization in IT Management
Earning an MBA in Information Technology can help you succeed at the critical intersection of business and IT. An MBA can set you apart and help you advance your career potential. Whether you already have a background in IT or want to enter the field, an MBA in Information Technology could provide a valuable advantage when looking for your next career.