Information technology professionals who also have an MBA are the most sought after in the computer business, according to the latest research from the Smith school of business at the University of Maryland.

According to the survey, IT folk with an MBA earn 46 per cent more than their counterparts with only a bachelor’s degree and 37 per cent more than those with other types of masters degrees. In real money terms that means that those IT professionals with MBAs earn $24,000 a year more than those with only a bachelor degree and $17,000 a year more than those with other masters degrees (1999 figures).

All of which means that an MBA is a great value investment for an IT professional, says Sunil Mithas, assistant professor of decision, operations and information technologies at the Smith school and lead author of the study. “Education is more valuable than experience because it provides more durable and versatile conceptual skills,” he says. “In contrast, IT experience has a high rate of obsolescence – learning new technologies only makes a professional valuable for a few years when those skills are in high demand. An MBA education teaches how to evaluate new technologies or how to strategically invest in and manage IT projects, which makes for a more valuable long-term employee that can use those skills in a variety of situations.”

The research, compiled by Prof Mithas and M.S. Krishnan of the University of Michigan, is published in the March edition of Management Science journal.

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