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Information systems MBA programs: What you need to know

An information systems MBA builds managerial expertise and emphasizes the role of technology in businesses today.
Written by Melissa Sartore, Contributor

A master of business administration (MBA) with a specialization in information systems focuses on using technological principles, design, and development to thrive in business. Here's what you need to know about how an information systems MBA can meet your professional goals and lifestyle needs.

What is the study of information systems?

Information systems collect, store, process, and distribute data. Coursework in information systems trains students to use technology to solve problems, streamline processes, and improve communication.

By using networks, software, and hardware components to effectively link people, organizations, and tasks, information systems serve as a fundamental part of business success. Information systems increase functionality at the operational, managerial, and strategic levels of an organization. 

What is an information systems MBA?

An MBA in information systems is a business degree with an emphasis in information systems. In contrast, master's degrees in information systems focus on the tools and technologies of the field, with little or no coursework in business principles and practices. 

Designed for individuals who want to manage information in business roles, information systems MBAs train students to design, implement, and manage information systems within organizations. It may be a good fit for you if you want to get into tech after your MBA.

Business courses in topics such as finance, marketing, and organizational behavior accompany tech classes in information management, enterprise architecture and networking, and information systems strategy. Online and in-person information system MBAs generally include two years of coursework. 

Students who enroll in an MBA with a concentration in information systems typically have experience in both business and technology. 

Cost and length of time to complete an information systems MBA

The cost of an MBA varies by institution and format but can cost anywhere between $50,000 and $120,000. Tuition, fees, textbooks, and transportation all factor into expenses. Most MBAs span two years, but some schools provide options that allow learners to earn a degree in as few as 18 months. An online information systems MBA may be a more affordable option, especially if students can earn a degree on an accelerated timeline. 

Electives in an information systems MBA program

Depending on the length of the information systems MBA, students complete core classes in finance, marketing, leadership, and operations management during the first semester or year. Once learners complete foundational courses, they choose elective classes in information systems. In an accelerated program, individuals may complete core and elective coursework at the same time. 

Here are some common electives found in an information systems MBA:

  • Database management systems
  • Business telecommunications and networks
  • Information systems and operations management
  • Information technology strategy and policy
  • Decision support systems for managers
  • Business process innovation
  • Data analytics for information systems

Hard skills taught in an information systems MBA program

  • Systems analysis
  • Computer programming
  • Database administration
  • Network management
  • Web analytics
  • Information technology governance

Soft skills taught in an information systems MBA program

  • Time management
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity and innovation

Why get an MBA in information systems?

An MBA in information systems allows business professionals and individuals in information technology roles to move into managerial and executive positions, often resulting in higher salaries and more competitiveness in the job market.

During an MBA internship, students can network with colleagues and potential employers. Some programs allow learners to fulfill MBA internship requirements at their current workplaces.

Throughout an MBA, individuals gain valuable knowledge and skills alongside opportunities to network with fellow students and business professionals. The exchange of ideas, resources, and career information in an MBA program provides additional benefits,

What to expect in an MBA in information systems program

Information systems MBA programs are rigorous, yet rewarding. Students are expected to participate in group projects and make presentations while simultaneously completing readings and homework assignments.

Students typically enroll in an online MBA while working full time. Whether online or in-person, information systems MBA programs with asynchronous coursework may allow for greater flexibility than degrees structured along with a cohort model. 

MBAs in information systems often include an internship component, allowing students to apply what they learn in real-time. Additional capstone requirements allow learners to demonstrate their expertise through a comprehensive project or paper. 

What to look for when choosing an MBA in information systems program

When looking for an MBA in information systems that meets your needs, considerations include accreditation, location, time commitment, and cost. Here's what you need to know.


Alongside institutional accreditation, many business programs have accreditation through a professional organization. Accreditation attests to the scope and quality of a program. The main accrediting bodies for online business school accreditation are the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.


All students need to consider resident and non-resident tuition, fees, and textbook costs when choosing an information systems MBA program. Online learners may have opportunities to pay a per-credit-hour tuition rate regardless of location, something not available to in-person students. Individuals enrolled in on-campus programs need to consider living expenses and potential transportation costs as well.

University resources

Students should determine what types of additional resources are offered by an institution. Library material and other learning resources can prove essential during the program, while career services and alumni networking facilitate success and growth after earning a degree. 

Program length

Most MBAs last two years. An accelerated MBA in information systems can last as little as 18 months. Individuals who want to earn a degree quickly benefit from this type of rigorous program, while a part-time program can be more beneficial to students who need greater flexibility. 


The cost of an information systems MBA ranges from $50,000-$120,000, but students have options for minimizing their expenses.  In some instances, employers may help pay for an MBA, and some schools also offer lower tuition rates for online learners. Additionally, online programs can decrease housing and transportation costs. 

What jobs can I get with an MBA in information systems?

With an MBA in information systems, you can work as an information systems manager, senior business analyst, or information technology director. 

What's the difference between a master's in information systems management and an information systems MBA?

An information systems MBA supplements business coursework with tech classes in information systems. A master's in information systems emphasizes technological principles and practices over all other content. 

This article was reviewed by Krystal Covington, MBA

krystal covington smiling

Krystal Covington, MBA, is a business growth strategist with 15 years of experience in marketing and public relations. Her company, Go Lead Consulting, provides clients foundational tools to build new client and customer relationships. 

Covington founded Women of Denver, one of the largest privately held membership organizations in Denver, Colorado. Her program helps women increase their business acumen, sharpen leadership skills and connect with other high-achieving women. Covington received her MBA from Western Governors University in 2012.

Krystal Covington is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network. 

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