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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