MBA Ups Bucks for Techies

A recent survey reported by the Examiner shows IT professionals who have an MBA degree earn almost 50% more than those with no advanced degree. The MBAs’ salaries also beat out those of other master’s programs. I told you geeks were assets too. The survey was conducted by the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. They analyzed data from 50,000 techies to conclude that an MBA increases salary by 46 percent when compared to a bachelor’s degree alone. MBAs top other master’s degrees by 37 percent.

While the data is a bit dated (1999 to 2002), it’s probably safe to assume that nerds with better spreadsheet and people skills are still getting paid a premium. One reason, according to Sunil Mithas, assistant professor at Smith and lead author of the study, is that while technical skills become obsolete over time, the concepts learned in a traditional MBA program last longer. Building rapport with other people is always in demand. Understanding how business units interact can’t be outsourced.

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The article went on to differentiate between IT sector jobs, government positions and consulting. Ultimately it comes down to getting things done. Experience, education, or something else may be more or less valued depending on the specific positions. Technical experts may be initially hired to complete a certain technical task or project, but having the broader business background offered by an MBA may provide long term benefits once the company’s needs change.

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  • I have to say that I lack major people skills. I enjoy solving problems, and I enjoy working with people to get problems solved. Helpdesk work is where I fall flat on my face. I have a really hard time hand hold people that I feel should be able to get basic concepts.

    This is not to say that I have not say on the phone for a few hours to help someone out. Those people that I have spent time with on the phone or in person, wanted to learn. They gave little to no resistance, and asked questions when they had them. Most of the questions were to better help them understand what was happening.

    I loose it very quickly with people that just do not want to learn. If that is a skill that an MBA will give you, then maybe I should go after it. If it is one that helps you rob people of their money for a sub produced product while the company pays the people that make the product a slave wage, then I guess I don’t need it.