Masters in Management Information Systems Vs. MBA

Apr 18, 2019

Students interested in management and technology may wish to consider earning a master's degree in management information systems or an MBA. Learn about some of the differences to help make your decision, as well as how to apply.

On-campus and online master's in management information systems and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree programs are available. Both programs typically include hands-on learning experiences, but discuss different topics throughout their curriculum. Find out what sets each degree apart below.

Comparing a Master's Degree in Management Information Systems to a Master of Business Administration

Master's in Management Information Systems

Typically offered as a Master of Science (MS) degree, students studying management information systems (MIS) can choose from degree programs offered on campus, online, or in a hybrid format. These programs typically take 2 years to complete, but some online programs may allow students to finish in as little as 10 months. Many MIS programs require a practicum or provide internship opportunities for hands-on learning, and some offer optional areas of concentration, such as innovation and entrepreneurship, security and information assurance, or managing business operations. Students may take courses in topics like project management, systems design and analysis, database management, information systems, big data, and more. Graduates of these degree programs could be prepared to take on leadership and management positions dealing with the technology for various organizations, including the government, nonprofits, and corporations.

MBA

Students pursuing an MBA receive a general business background and can then specialize in management information systems or a variety of other areas, such as marketing, strategy and innovation, finance, or energy and environmental sustainability. Many of these degree programs are available in full- and part-time formats, as well as on campus or online, and may allow students to pursue dual degrees in areas like law, economics, or digital innovation. These programs can be completed in 16 to 24 months and often include hands-on learning activities, such as internships and/or a global engagement experience. Coursework for MBA programs generally covers core business topics, like business law, financial reporting, business analytics, and economics, with concentration courses, such as topics in data management, project management, and systems analysis for a concentration in management information systems. Graduates of MBA programs are equipped with the necessary business background and management skills to pursue leadership positions in the business world and their given field of concentration.

Common Entrance Requirements

Applicants to MS in Management Information Systems or MBA degree programs must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and may need to meet a specific GPA requirement. Both programs commonly require GRE or GMAT test scores, and students may need to meet a specific minimum score. Some of these programs also require applicants to have at some professional work experience, possibly in business or a information technology-related field. Applicants to the MS in MIS programs may also need to have knowledge in areas like software design and analysis, programming languages, and database concepts. Both programs usually require students to submit their transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a resume, and some MBA programs may also require an interview process.

MS in Management Information Technology degree programs provide a more focused study in the field of technology management. MBA programs provide students with a foundation business knowledge in many areas but also allow students to choose a concentration option. Graduates of both programs may be qualified for managerial positions.

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