Like many others, the world of business has become increasingly more interwoven with technology. As the pace of technological change continues to accelerate, individuals with the ability to keep up with such innovation become that much more in demand. Collectively, both trends have presented an opportunity for those capable of both working with new technology and communicating its utility to others.
This new dynamic has led many students to explore Management Information Systems (MIS) as a possible program of study. A degree on MIS will teach students to understand and design the processes and systems used by today’s growing and evolving businesses. Students learn how to improve organizations’ operational efficiency, add value to existing products, engender innovation and new product development, help managers make better decisions, among much more.
MIS’s Place in Today’s World of Business
A large part of the MIS coursework prepares students to work with advanced enterprise systems, which are increasingly being employed by established organizations, such as Google and Intuit, and new entrepreneurs and start-ups alike. They become familiarized with software like SAP, which gives students hands-on experience monitoring complex business processes and practices, and also provides new levels of insight into the data. Those who graduate with a degree in MIS are uniquely prepared to utilize such technology effectively in a business or technology setting.
Having an awareness and acumen of such technology has made recent MIS graduates enticing to many cutting edge companies as potential employees. MIS graduates are well suited for a career as a Business Analyst, Project Manager, Data Analyst, Business Intelligence Specialist, or Systems Analyst; considering their knowledge of both business and computing.
Companies like Google, Toyota, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, Intuit, Wegmans, and Space-X have noticed and seek out MIS graduates for such roles. Established industries, including Banking and Financial Services, Healthcare, Management Consulting, and new ones like Mobile have recognized the value of graduates who have an understanding of both business and technology that stems from an MIS degree. Their inherent understanding of both technological and organizational systems makes MIS grads a good fit for a myriad of fields.
Who are MIS Students?
Occupying an advantageous space in-between business and computing, MIS students are those who understand both worlds. MIS Students often are the ones that communicate between the ‘very technical people’ and the ‘very managerial – or business oriented – people’. For those reasons it is not surprising that over the course of their studies, a number of Computer Science students will come to realize they would prefer a career path that deals more with people. Once discovering MIS, a less commonly known track, many remark that they wish they knew more about options of its ilk before entering college.
Students who study MIS are the people that that feel comfortable communicating between the “very technical people” and the “very managerial – or business oriented – people.” To facilitate this, programs like those at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) strive to impart both an understanding of the core business tenets of finance, marketing, and accounting; as well as an increasingly important understanding of today’s technology. Not to mention a willingness and ability to pick up new technical skills.
MIS students that get involved in entrepreneurial activities can be characterized as the one most comfortable wearing multiple hats. According to graduates from the program, such as Deniz Kaya (class of 2010), that’s largely why MIS students are seen as unique.
“[MIS students] have an interest in being technical, but also enjoy being client facing,” Kaya noted. “They want to be a part of both conversations.”
The Future for MIS Programs
The success of MIS graduates has drawn increasing interest for such programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. This is significant as the field continues to attract more and more talented educators and knowledgeable students.
The prospects for such graduates, as indicated by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, has been increasingly bright in recent years. Job outlook for ‘Computer and Information Systems Managers’ for instance has a 15% projected growth between 2014 and 2024 (a rate that is much faster than average). The reported median pay in 2015 was also $131,600 a year.
With students seeing so many fruitful job opportunists based on their understanding of programming, data analytics, and “Big Data,” colleges like RIT are adapting to put even more of a focus on such skills. As educators we need to have a technological versatility which echoes the one we wish to impart to students.
It is vital for MIS students to not to be afraid of initially feeling uncomfortable while learning about new technology. As one of the important traits for them to have is a comfort with continuing to learn.
Kaya pointed out that many MIS students have a desire to stay up-to-date with the latest technology. As being comfortable and capable of doing so makes MIS majors well-prepared for an ever-evolving tech-oriented world.
Dr. Victor Perotti is a Professor and Department Chair of MIS, Marketing and Digital Business at Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology, recently ranked #10 nationally for MIS programs. Dr. Perotti’s research focuses on identifying opportunities for and the integration of digital business, as well as and enterprise systems and networks. His most recent publication, “’Rise above the crowd’: A quasi-experiment in journalistic event coverage using mobile phones and billboards,” was published in the Journal of Digital and Media Literacy. Learn more about MIS at RIT at saunders.rit.edu
---Saunders College of Business is one of nine colleges at Rochester Institute of Technology and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). Recognized and ranked internationally, Saunders is home to more than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in programs across RIT Global Campuses in Rochester, New York, Croatia, Dubai, Kosovo and China. Saunders College works in partnership with RIT’s entrepreneurial Venture Creations incubator and top ranked Albert J. Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship to integrate business education with RIT’s world-leading technical and creative programs. Saunders College offers undergraduate (BS), Masters (MS), Masters of Business Administration (MBA), and Executive MBA (EMBA) programs where students gain real-world business experiences through a tradition of applied learning, cooperative education and capstone programs.