MIS DEGREE INFORMATION
The UT MIS BBA Program has been recognized for many years by U.S. News and World Report as the #1 public U.S. MIS Program (and #5 among all programs). Dedicated MIS faculty members create a highly interactive work environment, both with students and among themselves. They also draw on the expertise of research faculty and committed alumni in every career phase (from first-year professionals to CIOs) to keep the curriculum cutting-edge. Faculty and alumni are passionate about fulfilling the MIS BBA program mission: to develop leaders who leverage information technology for strategic business value.
Core classes in the MIS BBA Program cover programming concepts, database management, telecommunications, business problem solving, IT strategy, and project management. Electives are used to investigate new avenues of information management, especially those connected to other business disciplines, such as marketing and finance. Please explore our website and ask questions of the faculty or come to our learning events to learn more about the outstanding MIS BBA Program.
Management Information Systems (MIS) is the design and management of Information Technology (IT) for an organization. It focuses on the best way to enable the organization to meet its goals and business challenges. MIS students first learn the current business processes and then analyze how to improve the processes using IT. The purpose of MIS is to analyze, design, develop, and implement information technology strategy to solve business problems.
What do MIS majors do?
There is a broad spectrum of excellent opportunities for MIS majors. All businesses need individuals who understand information technology and how to use it to solve business problems for competitive advantage. The strength of an MIS major lies in his/her ability to work with managers and users in an organization to develop, implement, and manage the information technology infrastructure. Also, their role is to establish the organization's technical strategy and planning. MIS majors develop excellent communication, leadership, and project management abilities.
There is a wide range of jobs available to MIS graduates. For example, there are positions in medical records and paperless systems, website design and development, consulting, security risk assessment, internet marketing, Sarbanes-Oxley audit control, business analysis, customer relationship management consulting, eCommerce, legal forensics, enterprise resource planning, and/or supply chain management. UT MIS students are prepared for all of these activities in the MIS BBA curriculum because they learn more than just specific skills - they learn business concepts.
What MIS career opportunities are available?
The demand for MIS graduates is increasing faster than the general demand for other fields of study. Because of the great variety of MIS application areas and technical specialties, numerous career choices are available. These choices for an MIS major vary from the complex technical developer positions to the project manager and include:
Business of Systems Analyst
Business/systems analysts examine a business activity to help decide how new IT solutions will improve efficiency and effectiveness in decision-making. They also analyze how users can interact better with the system. Using a variety of tools, analysts determine the systems requirements and calculate a return on investment for a new IT system that developers will build. They specify the data and logical operations the system will perform, and the reports for the decision makers. They may do data mining to assess and make decisions on the best business alternative. They may do investigative legal forensics. Additionally, they may be involved in overseeing IT project implementation.
An IT consultant gives independent recommendations on how best ot use IT to solve business problems. A consultant's work focuses on the people, processes, and technology needed to improve business efficiency and effectiveness. They can also be responsible for user training and feedback.
Application of System Developer
An applications developer writes or modifies programs for a variety of technical, commercial, and business users. The role involves taking requirements, usually in written or diagrammatic form from the analysts, and translating them into computer code. Applications developers (also known as applications programmers) may also offer technical support to end users.
Project managers allocate resources to teams and are responsible for meeting the schedule and budget of IT project implementations. They drive the team work schedules and deadlines.
Security analysts make sure that the application meets enterprise security requirements. This may involve network, code and data analysis to ensure the security of the whole system and infrastructure. For example, security experts work to prevent viruses, identity theft, and data theft.
Testers are responsible for testing the system. They may be involved in working with a development team to write test cases, monitor performance, reliability, and error handling.
eBusiness entrepreneurs start their own internet businesses. They have the skills to balance many activities at once - managing employees, developing and implementing a solid business plan, understanding technical risk, overseeing web development, preparing financial analysis and marketing their product. The MIS degree is an excellent path for those with entrepreneurial interests.
Will there be a job for me when I graduate?
MIS offers the most flexibility in employment options and there is a rapid advancement potential. The future is bright for IT professionals in both entry and higher-level positions. Visit McCombs Career Services for current starting salary statistics.
Sample list of companies hiring MIS majors:
- Cerner Corporation
- Deloitte Consulting
- Ernst & Young
- FedEx Kinkos
- Goldman, Sachs & Company
- Kimberley Clarke
- National Instruments
- Pariveda Solutions
- Progressive Insurance
- Proctor & Gamble
- Shell Petroleum
How do MIS majors progress in their career?
There are two typical career paths for MIS majors.
The first path is the management path, with the MIS professional entering the organization as a business or systems analyst, progressing into technical management and, after significant management experience, potentially into Chief Information Officer (CIO). The primary duties of a CIO are strategic business planning, acquisition assessment, asset management, eBusiness, capital planning and investment, and business process and change management decision making.
The second path is the technical path, with the MIS professional entering the organization as a developer, progressing to senior developer and, after significant technical and management experience, into Chief Technology Officer (CTO). The primary duties of a CTO are overall architecture and technical standards creation, systems engineering (the overall design of applications), network security, test and evaluation, and data management.
In summary, the CIO is the business executive designated with executing the technology initiatives in support of the enterprise mission. A CIO must be a leader for positive change, effective at communicating, and a persuasive negotiator. The CTO is responsible for creating the appropriate technology plans to support the policies and plans of the CIO. Both roles are essential to a company's successful competitive business strategy implementation.
MIS 304: Introduction to Problem Solving and Programming
Programming skills for creating easy-to-maintain systems for business applications. Object-oriented and structured methodologies with Visual Basic. Prerequisite: None
MIS 325: Database Management
Beginning and intermediate topics in data modeling for relational database management systems. Prerequisite: None
MIS 333K: Web Application Development
Concepts and practices of information systems. Advanced programming techniques used to generate menu-driven applications. Prerequisites: MIS 304 and 325
MIS 374: Business System Development
Provides background in business system analysis, design, and implementation along with common frameworks used in the SDLC. This is a practicum course where student groups will work with actual clients to scope out a project, create a plan, implement the project, and provide documentation. Visit www.mis374.com to learn more about becoming a client. Prerequisites: MIS 333K
MIS 375: Strategic Information Technology Management
Designed to develop an understanding and appreciation for the role of information technology in the context of a firm's strategy. Explores the impact of information technology on the economy and business performance, the emergence of electronic business applications and organizational and market transformation, and the nature of technology-driven business models and strategies. Prerequisites: Upper-division standing
The following questions are frequently asked in orientation meetings. If you have a question that is not answered, attend a meeting of MISA or contact the Undergraduate Programs Office.
- What is the difference in job opportunities for Computer Sciences and MIS Majors?
Both majors have excellent career opportunities. Most students who work with their respective placement centers have job offers before they graduate. MIS majors have among the highest average salary offers for business majors. MIS majors are most likely to go into positions in information services for companies or consulting, while CS majors are most likely to go into manufacturing support systems and product development for computer companies. Over 60% of the MIS majors each year accept offers with consulting firms, a much rarer starting position for Computer Science majors. Retailers, insurance, and communications firms also hire MIS majors through the Career Services Office.
- What are the differences in the entry-level jobs for Computer Science and MIS majors?
Some graduates go into the same type of programmer-analyst positions, but most CS majors accept jobs that are more technical and less involved with people than the positions accepted by MIS majors. Sometimes titles differ (for example, "programmer" rather than "consultant" or "end-user support staff"); sometimes the title is the same but the responsibilities differ.
- What is the difference in the course work for CS and MIS majors?
The degree plans show that the freshmen and sophomore courses are similar and the junior and senior courses are completely different. MIS majors must take 33 hours of business courses in addition to the minimum of 21 hours of MIS courses. Unlike CS, almost all MIS classes require significant group projects. Project management and people issues are emphasized in the MIS courses more often than in CS, which has more technical depth, especially on topics such as operating systems and programming languages.
- Do I need to be good in math?
No, but you need to handle complex issues and ambiguity well. Information systems are frequently complex solutions to messy organizational problems, so your effectiveness with other people is critical.
- I'm a senior who decided only recently that I want to be an MIS major. How do I take the MIS classes in the minimum number of semesters?
The MIS Major requires at least three semesters. Semester one, take MIS 304 and MIS 325. Semester two, take MIS 333K and one MIS upper division elective. Semester three, take MIS 374 and your second elective course. Most MIS elective courses are topics under MIS 373.
- What are the best electives for MIS majors?
Some recruiters want to see many CS and MIS hours on your resume, but others want to see extracurricular activities that show leadership and personal skills.
- I am in another college at UT. How can I transfer into the business school?
The BBA Programs Office at the McCombs School of Business provides information on their website. There is no separate transfer for MIS majors. All applicants are reviewed and notified by the BBA Programs Office. After you have been admitted to the business school, you may declare your major as MIS.
- I just want to be a general manager; why can't I leave all this information technology stuff to the technicians?
IT is becoming a key strategic resource for more and more organizations, and some technical staff do not understand the business side of things well. If you owned a company, would you feel comfortable leaving key strategic decisions to these technical types? Those managers who understand IT and how it may be effectively used for competitive advantage will themselves have a competitive advantage in the employment market.
- Will the MIS major turn me into an IT geek?
No. It will, however, introduce you to enough IT concepts and jargon so that you will be able to understand what geeks are talking about. If you are a geek when you enroll, the major will teach you how to be understood by IT-ignorant managers.
- Will the MIS major turn me into a programmer?
No. Although you WILL be required to take several technical classes, we are not in the business of training programmers. In the major you will learn enough about what programmers (and other IT types) do to be able to better work with them.
- I don't need to know anything about auto mechanics to drive a car. Why do I have to learn about the details of Information Technology?
Your comment about driving a car is true now, but remember that cars today are the product of a century of development. If it were 1919, it would certainly be wise for you to know a bit of auto mechanics before you took a long trip. In its development cycle when compared to automobiles, 1919 is arguably about where IT is, so we feel some hands-on experience is advisable. We are back in this assessment by managers from companies such as Fed Ex, P&G, GM, Intel, Dell, and IBM, as well as from the leading consulting companies.
- Since IT is changing so rapidly, won't all the things we learn in this major be obsolete by the time we graduate?
First, we teach you the basic concepts and the economics of IT which change much more slowly, so these will still be viable when you graduate. Second, as part of the major, you will learn how to learn about developments in IT, so you will have the skills to keep up with IT developments.
- I have been working as a programmer (systems analyst, network manager, etc.) for the past four years, aren't courses in Information Technology just a waste of time?
No. Your knowledge of IT is most likely from a largely technical perspective. Our courses are focused on how businesses can use IT to improve their competitive positions. However, you may wish to take only a minimum of MIS courses and take more courses in Finance, Marketing, Operations, Organization Behavior, etc., to round out your business education.