More IT managers are studying MBAs than ever before in an effort to improve their salaries and move up the ranks of senior management.
According to a survey of 70,000 people by qualification ranking organisation TopMBA.com, the proportion of applicants from IT for master of business administration courses almost doubled between 1998 and 2005.
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Some 40% of MBA applicants in 2005 came from a technology background, compared with 24% in 1998, the survey found. The proportion of technology applicants for top business courses increased from 32% in 2004 to 40% in 2005.
The jump in applications came at the same time as salaries for recent MBA graduates reached an all-time high. New graduates in 2005 found jobs with an average total compensation - salary plus bonus - of £61,971, a 10% increase on compensation in 2004.
IT consultants were the most generous employers of MBA graduates. According to TopMBA .com's salary and recruitment trends report, MBA graduates finding work at consultancy firms received total compensation packages ranging between about £62,000 and £74,910.
IT suppliers provided the least generous packages, with average remuneration of £42,222.
TopMBA.com compiles the annual ranking of MBA schools based on the success of their graduates in finding jobs and their support for graduates seeking to set up their own businesses.
Although every business school surveyed took some MBA applicants from a technology background, every school where more than 50% of the students came from technology roles fell outside the top 100.
Only 10 of the 25 schools with the highest proportion of IT professionals on their courses appear in the top 100. They are Insead, Iese, IMD, Esade, HEC Paris, Cambridge University, Bocconi, Imperial College, Cranfield and University College Dublin.
Why take an MBA?
Career progression and skills development are the main motivators for taking an MBA, according to research by TopMBA.com. A career change is the next primary reason, with salary enhancement less important. Few people take an MBA just for the education, although TopMBA.com reported an increase among respondents citing this option in its 2005 research.