FALL 2008 VOL. 9 NO. 2

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Value of an MBA

Assistant professor Sunil Mithas' research on WTOP Radio:

If you’re an IT professional, you really need an MBA. Firms in the United States value IT professionals’ MBA degrees much more than IT experience, according to recent research from the Smith School’s Sunil Mithas, assistant professor of decision, operations and information technologies. An IT professional with an MBA degree earns 46 percent more than his counterpart with only a bachelor’s degree, and 37 percent more than one with any other master’s degree, Mithas found.

“Our research confirms that getting an MBA is the single best move you can make to increase your value as an IT professional in today’s market,” said Mithas. “Education is more valuable than experience because it provides more durable and versatile conceptual skills. 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.”

On average, in dollar terms (deflated to 1999 figures), IT professionals with MBAs earn over $24,000 more per year than those with only bachelor’s degrees, and over $17,000 more per year than those with other master’s degrees, after controlling for a variety of demographic and institutional factors.


Copyright 2008 Robert H. Smith School of Business