If you see the world through a matrix of zeros and ones, you might be cut out for a career as an IT professional. But why stop there? Why not combine your tech skills with a top-notch business education?
When you earn your online MBA in Information Technology, you can really have it all: the technical knowledge necessary to manage projects, databases, and information systems, plus the insider knowledge you need to apply your skills to a fast-paced business environment. Even better, you’ll find a slew of flexible, affordable online programs available to let you pursue your dreams on your own terms.
Sounds pretty good, right? But you probably still have some questions, and that is ok. We are here to help. We’ve put together this guide just for people like you. Keep reading to explore top programs, look at the cost of your MBA, and answer some of your burning questions.
Spotlight on 3 of the Best Online MBA Programs for Information Technology in 2023
We’ve combed through all the online MBAs in Information Technology out there with an eye toward academic excellence, student support, affordability, and flexibility. Exploring a few programs is a great way to get a feel for what your online learning experience might look like. To get started on our deep dive, let’s take a tour of some of the best online MBA programs for Information Technology.
The University of Illinois, Springfield (UIS) recognizes that a successful career in IT management relies on more than just your advanced tech skills. You also need leadership training and business savvy. Because UIS recognizes this, their curriculum blends fundamental coursework in finance, marketing, and analytics with IT-specific electives like systems design. We love UIS’s MBA in Information Technology Management program because it strikes the perfect balance between business and technology skillsets to graduate well-rounded IT specialists. We also appreciate that UIS builds all of their online MBA programs with working professionals in mind. The school offers multiple start dates throughout the year, so you can jump in as soon as you’re ready. And classes are accessible 24/7 and last eight weeks, offering opportunities to take short breaks as needed. Because UIS knows you’re eager to take the next step in your career, their accelerated, AACSB-accredited program graduates full-time students in as few as 12 months, for a total tuition of $15,210.
Maryville gets it. As they put it “Businesses can’t run without IT. Or the people who know it.” So they’ve designed their Online MBA in Information Technology to make sure that you are indispensable to your next boss. In order to future-proof your degree, Maryville structures their curriculum to contextualize IT management within the context of larger business strategies. This guiding principle combines classes in decision-making, project development, and agile design. The result is that graduates are prepared to adapt to new technologies and stay in-step with broader business strategies.
Maryville offers high-levels of flexibility that allow students to study when and how they want, and to graduate in as few as 14 months. The ACBSP-accredited program has start dates available at the beginning and in the middle of their spring, summer, and fall terms, making it convenient, too. The cost: $749 per credit for 42 credits, totaling $31,458 for your IT MBA.
Are you ready to put the pedal to the metal and crank through your IT MBA — while earning a degree that prepares you to lead, talk strategy, and solve tech challenges? If so, Western Governors is worth your consideration. Their unique tuition structure charges students a flat rate per term, rather than per credit. You can save money by loading up your schedule. And when you commit fully to your studies, you can graduate in as few as 12 months. Tuition is a mere $4,755 per six-month semester, making Western Governors one of the most affordable online IT MBAs in the game.
All of this may lead you to wonder if such an affordable and efficient program is legit. But never fear, because their online MBA in Information Technology Management is AACSB-accredited. You can rest easy knowing that your coursework is on par with the degree offerings of other top business schools.
Cost of an Online MBA Program in Information Technology
A business-oriented future student like yourself certainly understands the importance of budgeting for your degree. But it can be hard to know where to start. So, let’s break it down. First, you’ve got to consider the cost of tuition. We’ve laid some real-world examples of how much your tuition could cost below to help you get an idea of what you are in for.
Sticker shock is real though, so before you scroll down and look at the numbers, let’s talk about resources that are available to you. Start with our financial aid page, where you’ll get in-depth info about these (and more) options:
- Employer tuition reimbursement: Does your job offer professional development funds? Definitely take advantage and put them toward your tuition. If you’re not sure, check with your HR department.
- School financial aid and scholarship programs: Some schools offer aid packages based on need or merit to attract promising students like yourself.
- Federal financial aid: You can apply for need-based tuition aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). And by the way, we even wrote a whole guide about it.
- Scholarships: You can apply for need- or merit-based scholarships through your school or private organizations. And before you ask: We’ve got a scholarship guide, too.
- Student loans: Of course, you’ll have to pay these back at some point. But if you’re looking at an increased earning potential after graduation, taking out some loans might be worth it.
How Much Your Online MBA in Information Technology Could Cost
What to Expect in Your MBA in Information Technology Online Program
We know that when people talk about online MBAs in Information Technology, the description can seem rather nebulous. Let’s dive into some insights that will help demystify this degree.
First of all, you might be wondering what content you can expect to cover. Most programs require all their MBAs to take a set of core courses that cover finance, marketing, management, ethics, and other foundational business knowledge. Students with an emphasis in IT will go on to take advanced courses that go in depth on specific elements of the profession. We’ve highlighted examples of these courses in the list below.
You also might be wondering what class will look like day to day. Typically, online MBA classes are offered asynchronously. This means you have 24/7 access to course content and can engage with the material on your own schedule. However, there is still some structure. Plan to manage due dates, scheduled tests, and other work each week. Instead of showing up to an in-person or virtual classroom, you’ll access course content and submit your work through a learning management system (LMS). The LMS will be your hub for your coursework and communicating with your professors and peers.
Common Online MBA Courses
Sensitive data communicated via the internet can be vulnerable to malicious actors. This class teaches you how to keep your company’s data in, and the bad guys out. Plan to cover important subjects like encryption, incident management, and network security.
IT Project Management
Earning an MBA in IT sets you up for leadership positions and management roles, meaning you’ll need some administrative insights. This course prepares you to oversee teams and major projects by introducing you to key concepts in project planning, scheduling, budgeting, and risk management.
IT Strategy and Innovation
We know it’s a cliché, but technology is advancing faster than ever. This means you can’t expect your degree to keep you on the cutting edge forever. Classes like this help you stay nimble and organize your systems to adapt to new technologies as they become available.
Cloud Computing and Virtualization
As cloud-based systems become the new norm, it is essential to know how to manage them safely and effectively. This course covers all the aspects of the cloud, including deployment models, security, and data management.
As an IT MBA, you’ll fuse tech knowledge with business tactics. Business intelligence courses are the perfect marriage of the two. These courses cover how your IT work in data management and reporting contributes to decision-making and organizational growth.
FAQs About Online MBA Programs
What’s the difference between an online MBA and traditional MBA program?
The main difference between getting an online MBA in Information Technology and an in-person degree lies in the mode of delivery and learning experience. Online MBA programs offer flexibility, allowing students to complete coursework remotely at their own pace. In-person MBA programs, on the other hand, provide a traditional classroom setting with face-to-face interactions. While both options cover the same curriculum and offer networking opportunities, online programs supply greater convenience for working professionals, while in-person programs offer more immediate personal connections and networking opportunities.
From a content perspective, there aren’t that many differences between an online and in-person MBA. You’ll cover the same topics, work from the same textbooks, and even have some of the same professors. This means your online degree is every bit as valuable as one from a traditional program, and employers don’t differentiate between the two.
From a course delivery perspective, the two types of programs couldn’t be more different. In-person programs require that you physically attend class at a certain time and place, usually over the course of a full two years. Online programs, on the other hand, offer tons of flexibility. Most classes are asynchronous, which means you can organize your study time around the rest of your schedule. Additionally, many online programs offer condensed classes and accelerated programs to help you graduate faster.
Can I work full-time while pursuing an online MBA?
Working and studying full-time is a huge undertaking. But many people do it successfully, and you can, too. Most of the online programs we are familiar with are designed with working professionals in mind. This means that your professors design your coursework to complement your work experience and to accommodate the demands of full-time work. If you’re not up for a full juggling act, you can also opt to alleviate some pressure by studying part time for your online MBA in Information Technology.
What are the admissions requirements for an online MBA?
Each program you look at has its own admissions criteria and philosophy. So you’ll find that no two sets of requirements are identical — though there are these nearly universal elements that you’re likely to encounter during the application process:
- Official transcripts
- Resume or CV
- GMAT or GRE scores (although, more and more, schools are dropping this requirement)
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal essay
- Minimum GPA requirement
- Minimum professional experience requirement
- Application fee
How long does it take to earn an MBA in Information Technology?
To a certain extent, you get to decide how long it takes to earn your online MBA in Information Technology. Some programs we’ve featured graduate students in as few as 12 months, while others take up to two years. So if you opt for an accelerated program and load up on courses, you can be done pretty quickly. However, if you’re more of the slow-and-steady type, you can opt for a program that lets you take breaks or study part time. If you go this route, you can spend over three years earning your degree.
Can I earn my MBA 100% online, or do I need to visit campus?
Most online MBAs require zero in-person time. This allows students from across the country and beyond to take part in their programs. Flexibility is one of the main reasons students choose to study online, so it makes sense that schools would offer as much freedom as possible. But if that much freedom makes you anxious, you can also look into hybrid programs that let you take some classes in-person.
What You Can Do with an Online MBA in Information Technology
Earning your MBA in Information Technology online opens a world of new opportunities. Specifically, holding an MBA proves that you have the know-how to move into higher-level positions that involve managing a team or contributing to major business decisions. Additionally, an MBA can help open doors to more prestigious roles with more room for growth. While there are certainly many IT managers who worked their way to the top without an MBA, an advanced degree can help you jump the line and move up faster and farther than your BA-holding counterparts.
To give you an idea of your prospects, we’ve researched the national salary averages for common MBA-level IT roles. You can see them in the table below. As you’re reading, keep in mind that the lower end of the pay range represents entry-level positions that you’ll be able to pass over as an MBA. The higher end of the pay range often represents masters-educated IT pros at major companies or who are further on in their career.
Computer Research Scientist
Computer and information research scientists lean into the IT part of their MBA in IT. Although they may still lead teams and have input on business decisions, much of their work revolves around researching and developing new technologies and information systems.
|Median Annual Pay
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022
Chief Technology Officer
Chief technology officers (CTOs) are the top of the IT food chain at any corporation. They oversee all information systems and developments, most often also managing a team of technicians. But their most important role is to ensure that their business’s IT strategy and management supports operations and company growth.
|Median Annual Pay
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022
Information Systems Manager
Although this position isn’t as high status as CTO, it gives the opportunity to be more hands on in your work. You may also see higher starting wages fresh out of school. Information systems managers are directly involved in project development and management and handle major decisions about how data is used, stored, and reported.
|Median Annual Pay
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022