Is Master of Business Information Systems Worth It?
An evaluation of the degree where data and analytical training come together.
A Master of Business Information Systems prepares you to work across the domains of ICT management and business analysis. It positions you as a key person to make data work for the benefit of companies.
The biggest advantage of this degree is the breadth of career opportunities it creates. Graduates can work anywhere on the spectrum from data scientist through to business strategist. Your training and qualification will always be valuable, giving you the flexibility to adapt to changing technologies, job markets, and personal preferences.
Data expertise, analytical skills, and the ability to communicate to different audiences are a highly prized combination of qualities. This degree enables you to develop all three, leading to a variety of high-paying prospective roles. You can also start without a strong background in IT or business.
An MBIS degree produces many benefits due to the usefulness of the component subjects. Participants study database management, systems analysis and design, and strategic information systems and IT strategy. These areas are essential for today's business environment.
1. High-paying jobs
Jobs, with average annual salaries, where the degree would be highly beneficial include:
Chief Information Officer – $240,000
Data Architect – $165,000
IT Project Manager – $145,000
Information Systems Manager – $140,000
Business Intelligence Software Developer – $120,000
The diversity of jobs available to MBIS graduates reflects the degree's flexibility. You can delve into database management or offer strategic business advice, depending on what you enjoy and where you excel. The job market is broad, allowing you to find a niche that fits your interests and strengths.
Job opportunities for graduates are growing in Australia. Employment of ICT Business and Systems Analysts is projected to grow from 51,600 currently to 58,100 by 2028, marking a 12.7% increase (Jobs and Skills Australia).
4. Smooth career transition
An MBIS degree smooths the path to a new career. You need to be open to learning and engaging in coding and data management. However, a strong background in IT or business is not strictly required. The degree is versatile and well-suited for all-rounders. Any previous study or experience you have is likely to be beneficial and won't be wasted.
While the master's degree offers flexibility in terms of career pathways for graduates, commitment to the field is essential. You should be comfortable with technical tasks and willing to invest not only in your degree but also in ongoing professional development.
1. Time and money
This a two-year program, normally reduced to 1.5 years if you have a bachelor degree in information technology, management and commerce, or econonomics and econometrics. Assuming two years, the total cost in terms of tuition fees could be in the range $40,800 to $77,800, depending on your choice of university. For Australian students, FEE-HELP loans will cover this initially.
Not all of your learning will have enduring value, which is true for almost any information technology course. Additionally, depending on the quality of the program, some content might already be outdated. In the tech sector, you need to be a continuous learner. If you are already well-established professionally, you may benefit more from shorter courses, such as graduate certificates, instead of a full degree program.
3. Extra targeted training may be needed
Recruiters in the information systems space are looking for candidates with the right skills and experience to make an immediate impact. Meeting the specific requirements of a role usually involves more than just a university degree. As a result, you might need to start with entry-level jobs, secure good references, and do targeted training to compete for desirable jobs.
Specialising in Information Systems also means forgoing other educational paths. For example, a large range of business masters degrees exist, each associated with job opportunities. Alternative degrees and postgraduate courses could be easier or better aligned with your preferences and abilities.
Is This Degree Worthwhile?
A Masters in Business Information Systems will easily pay for itself if you establish a career, given the job opportunities. Dr Andrew Lancaster explained to us the program's relevance: "Every medium or large entity has valuable data on hand that it wants to use to run operations and improve performance. A business information systems degree is ideal to capture opportunities in this critical and growing activity."
Dr Lancaster, who has used business analytics to help shape industry policies for the Australian Government, also highlights the degree's adaptability: "I really like the fact that graduates can steer their careers in different directions. You might thrive in the data management side if you're more technically minded. Or you could move to more directly influence the decisions of a company by cultivating your business knowledge and communication skills."
This adaptability is reflected in the curriculum, which typically covers essential data handling subjects:
Systems analysis and design
Programming and software development
Business analytics and data visualisation
Strategic information systems and IT strategy
The degree's alignment with current and future job market trends, along with its flexibility, makes it a valuable investment for those interested in data-driven business processes.
Studying information systems for business is manageable, particularly for those with a genuine interest in bridging business and technology. The degree covers areas like database management, systems analysis, programming, and strategic IT. While these subjects can be technical, they are made more accessible with user-friendly software.
A focus on practical, job-relevant skills helps ensure that learning remains relevant and engaging. Furthermore, success in this field isn't just about technical ability. Dr Andrew Lancaster emphasises that "effective communication skills and the ability to drive impactful business results become increasingly crucial" as your career progresses.