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Expert Guidance on MBA and MIS by AMS sir
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Asterix Offline
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Expert Guidance on MBA and MIS by AMS sir
These inputs were given by Ammasservant (AMS) sir who has constantly been of great help to us in the forum despite his busy schedule

AMSs views on an MS in CS vs. MS in MIS
Quote:This is a discussion that is actually not being presented in an unbiased perspective by any of the concerned parties .

Let me try to bring some perspective:

1) It is not a CS or MIS degree that a company cares about. It is the individual and their skill set. Increasingly, companies in the US (except the ones the write software like MSFT, Oracle, etc) are wanting people who are well rounded and those that can work with a line of business. They want someone with outstanding teamwork skills, presentation skills, client engagement skills in addition to a technical background.

2) There are times when a typical CS person will have the broad thinking and knowledge necessary to be the person described above. However, given the typical emphasis of a MS in CS degree (read research orientation), the companies are not likely to find the above person and they look elsewhere.

3) There are many MS in MIS programs that dont emphasize the above skills and are "dumbed down to accommodate people from any background". Even in MS in IS programs that emphasize these aspects, many students cant ever transform themselves. Such an MIS person is definitely going to be at a severe disadvantage compared to a CS person (since they neither have the tech skills or the people skills).

Bottom-line, every article about the job market and everything that I see confirms that a typical student as defined by #1 above is the one that is going to be in demand. Whether that student is more likely to come out of CS or MIS probably depends on the program and its emphasis. Cornell's Professional CS program probably a much better job than your average xyx CS program. Similarly some of the "better" MS in IS programs do a better job in preparing the above type of student compared to your run of the mill ones. Hence, you cant make generalizations.

Finally, there is the issue of starting salary. Some CS people do indeed get a high starting pay due to the specialization that they have. Most MIS people cant claim a single specialty in an area of technology. Further, as I have indicated the core consulting model requires that people be brought in at a lower salary level at the lower levels.

However, the pay raises and breadth of career opportunities are immense for someone who has a breadth of knowledge and experience as opposed to a single specialty.

My 2 cents worth of thoughts

P.S.: I have sufficient knowledge of both fields to state the above with some authority. I am admittedly biased since I work more in the IS field than CS right now. But, I dont think I have misrepresented anything above.

Given the two scenarios:

Profile 1

1) Fresher Undergraduate (CS)/Exp guy
2) MIS

Profile 2

1) Fresher Undergraduate (CS)/Exp guy
2) MBA

Quote:As per AMS:

A fresher wont get into a top MBA school for MBA. Hence, profile 2 is not quite accurate.

If you ask people in general, they will say #2 is the better combination.

However, these people dont realize the changing ground realities. There are very few top-25 MBAs that have specializations in IS. You can do the research yourself.

Hence, MS in IS programs are increasingly filling the void for the companies that need more managerial IS talent and cant find them from typical MBA programs.

A fresher + MS in IS will not start in management but depending on where you got the MS in IS (read how much managerial and business knowledge you gained) you will not have to go back to MBA school.

An experienced person + MS in IS (again from the right schools) can obviate the need to go back to MBA school if you plan to say in IS, since there is not much more to be gained.

This changing reality is not as easily recognized by recruiters and/or by students. So there may be some lag before MS in IS programs become the primary feeder for IS management positions.


Will the importance of a MS in IS program diminish in the future if more MBA programs start offering specialization in IS?

Quote:MBA is positioned as a career switching degree. Hence, most people coming into MBA programs with prior tech backgrounds choose to not specialize in IS. Those that come in without tech backgrounds dont think they can specialize in IS.

Hence, even those places that have IS specializations are actually contemplating getting rid of them.

Hence, it is my fundamental belief that MS in IS programs will eventually start filling this void. At least those ones that choose to provide an education that is somewhat on par with what an MBA in IS would get.

I will reiterate my caveat that not all MS in IS programs are built to be replacements to MBAs in IS. I will not state my personal opinions on who are who arent for obvious reasons.

This is, of course, my personal viewpoint. There are probably many who will disagree with this perspective.


AMS views on the IIM’s as compared to the top US B schools

Quote:1) No doubt that IIMs get the best of the best. This has become increasingly true these days (unlike my days when most people thought that management education was for losers who couldnt make it to the US - over generalization but true).

2) It is my PERCEPTION, that IIMs (and ISB) still can provide the best education on the more quantitative and analytical aspects of management education. This includes finance, operations, quantitative methods etc. I suspect that you will find this reflected in the hiring statistics. In these subjects, I suspect that the teaching approach and quality is no less than many of the top 20 schools here.

3) It is again my PERCEPTION that for softer subjects like management, marketing etc., the teaching approach may not be necessarily be of the same standard as what you find here.

Hence, IMHO, what you are seeing these days in terms of hiring patterns is a reflection of the world recognizing the talent pool at the IIMs, understanding that for certain types of MBA positions knowledge, intellect and analytical skills can far outweigh any of the softer aspects.

As a fellow Indian, I am proud that this has happened, and I certainly hope that we can sustain this.

Since this thread did not ask about what we need to improve the IIMs or b-school education in India in general, I am going to stay away from it. Suffice it to say that there are many of us in top b-schools who are in their prime and want to come back to contribute to India but are not able to because of inherent lack of appropriate opportunities. ISB is attracting people by offering high salaries but even they dont have it figured out yet.

If the top b-schools in India can engage in an open dialogue with the faculty of Indian origin at the top 20 b-schools in the US to design a system that can bring together the best that both realms have to offer, we (India) can transform what are already good schools into some of the best in the world!

AMS views over financial aspects after getting a job

Quote:I am bringing this thread back to the forefront in light of the recent discussion on jobs, schools, starting salaries etc. Can someone ensure that this and the "A Different perspective on MIS" threads always stay on the top.

I want to add one thing to the financial over commitment aspect. Anyone who lives reasonably will likely save not more than 1.5K - 2K a month. I have presented some analysis below and have assumed that you wouldnt live like an impoverished individual scrounging for every dollar after you start working.

While these are approximations (you might save maybe another 6K through various cost cutting measures), keep these in mind as you make ROI calculations for various universities. I just didnt want people to extrapolate from living like a student and assume that they can save 50% of their starting salary . It aint happening.
Let us assume that you start at 72K (I am being generous here for a fresher and probably is likely scenario for someone with some experience) in a reasonably expensive city like Chicago. The cost in places like SF and NY is probably a good 10-15% higher.

Here is a brief breakdown on what you can expect to happen with your monthly expenses

US federal, state and city taxes, FICA, Medicare etc. will eat away approx. 25 - 28% of your income - you are down to 50K of net income.

You will want to likely live with no more than one roommate. Electricity, rent etc. will now run you 700 a month - you are down to 42K of net income

You will need to buy a car and insurance - yearly cost of 4-5K - you are down to 37K

Food, drinks, gas for daily commute (you wont have the energy to cook everyday, you will need to hangout and have drinks with your colleagues, a star bucks coffee at 2-3 bucks a cup becomes inevitable) - approx. 1000 bucks a month - you are down to 27K

Clothes (you will need to buy a bunch of good clothes, especially if you are in consulting), buying music, going to movies, electronics items [especially early in your career] (essentially living life like a normal human being) etc. - will likely cost you 2-3 K a year - you are down to 24K

You take a couple of vacations and/or go to India - 2-3K - you are down to 21K

You decide to contribute to your retirement fund (a very good idea) - 5-8% of your base salary - 7K - you are down to 14K

Bottom-line, on a 72K salary, 18K is probably a good estimate of what you can save in a given year.

Thinking of PhD???

Quote:You can do MIS --> PhD or MBA-->PhD. Most PhD programs will want you to have a basic business background. Hence, an MIS program that has the business courses (like finance, marketing etc.) will make it a smoother transition.


Even studies abroad have a flip side

Quote:It is not that MIS (or MBA) or CS or Engg is not rosy. It is simply that it is not like everyone is waiting with open arms to give every Indian student who shows up at a univ in the US a job paying 100K!

100K puts you at the top 15% of all American families in earned income. At 150K you are in the top 7% and at 200K+ in the top 5%. Indians in general do tend to be in the top wage earners in the country. But, not everyone ends up being successful.

If you are good at what you do, opportunities will be plenty. Being at a good, well-reputed school only helps this cause.

You hear about the success stories. You often dont hear about those people who had to end up working for "not so ethical" body shopping operations (most run by Indians) just to find a way to stay in this country.
They get paid low salaries, never know when they are going to let go, and get squeezed and fleeced by the pressure put on them.

What can you do to build your profile

Quote:Web development skills will get you part-time jobs/asstshps on campus (Perl, ColdFusion, ASP.NET and JSP/Java servlet stuff).

the other thing you want to do is improve your soft skills (presentation, communication skills). Learning another language is a good idea (although I wouldnt necessarily pick German).

Probably one of the best things you can do is to read magazines like CIO magazine to get an idea on what companies are doing with IT in the US.

If you are an introvert by nature then find ways to break out of your shell. To be successful at MIS programs and in consulting you need to have the characteristics of an extrovert.

Engage in extra-curricular or service activities that are team based. Companies here love to see that you have interests beyond simply academics.


One of the reasons why MIS is something to look forward to, because

Quote:What you want is to pursue a degree that will put you in a career that cannot be easily outsourced. IT audit is an example of a profession that may not be as glamorous or may not pay as well (in the beginning) as lets see a Lehman or Merrill Lynch job. But, you are going to be close to the business and the core of audit is still client facing.

Hence, why one should do MIS, especially MIS that is more focused on the managerial and business side.
The economy is pretty robust and we are in the beginning of a smart IT investment wave. I dont anticipate any of the "irrational exuberance" that made millionaires and paupers in the late 90s.


The primary goal for going for studies abroad

Quote:Invest in the education and the knowledge you are going to gain from it. Good things will follow if that is what the person above has in store for you.

If you havent bitten off more than you can chew, then the knowledge will always be with you (whether you end up working in the US, India, Australia or China). And, since you didnt bite off more than you can chew, you will have very few regrets.

MBA vs. MIS As per AMS

Quote:MBA is a career switching opportunity - Most people go to get an MBA to get out of their field. Hence, if you are an IS person then you dont go to get an MBA in IS. KEEP THIS IN MIND (explains why MBA in IS are non-existent or not very popular in top 20 b-schools).

2) The myth that work experience is a negative for MS in IS - Work experience is not a requirement. However, good work experience (2-3 years) in IS will allow you to get into higher level project management positions. A corollary of point 1 above is that you with the 2-3 years of work experience and an MSIS degree are going to be the best fits for these jobs.

3) MS in IS is somehow a lesser degree - While in many schools the MBA is a flagship degree, the MS in MIS is no less rigorous in its curriculum or admission standards. In some schools (CMU and Kelley come to mind), you actually sit in classes with MBA students and hence the admission standards have to be comparable.

4) Starting salaries out of MS in MIS will be lower - For most people without work experience this will indeed be true. But then, most MSIS degrees are literally half the cost of an MBA, if not cheaper. Hence, an ROI can be made very easily for them.

Bottom-line, MSIS and MBA are two very different opportunities. If you want to stay in the field of Information Systems/Technology management and get a degree from a top university then an MSIS or equivalent is the only viable option at this point.

To IT or not to IT

Quote:The issue is that if you are intending to start in IT/IS then this is the only viable option left. At some point, if you decide to switch to finance or marketing then you might need to come back for a MBA. But, if stay in IT/IS an MBA will likely be unnecessary.

This is, of course, the opinion one humble professor.


Thinking of an MIS/MBA dual degree?

Quote:I am not sure what schools offer the MBA/MIS dual degree. I suspect it is not one of the top20 (MBA) b-schools. Typically, if there is a MIS/MBA dual degree then likely the MIS degree is more technical and the MBA provides the more business oriented aspects. If that is indeed the case, then the dual degree might be worthwhile for progress up the managerial ranks.


Is an MBA necessary to reach to the top???

Quote:If you are aiming to be a CEO of a typical firm I will say that most CEO come out of finance or marketing background. Hence, you will need get an MBA.

You need to differentiate between the IT organization in a company and an IT company. In the former, you can possibly reach the CIO rank without an MBA (given the dearth of MBAs with IS specialization) and just a MS in IS type degree that sufficient business focus.

If you want to be in IT management (change manager, IT project manager, etc.) or IT consulting, then do MSIS. If you want to be a product manager, business development manager etc. (even if it is for an IT firm like MSFT, ORCL) then do an MBA with marketing focus or some other focus.

I have known of people with MS in MIS degrees go in as product managers but that is more of an exception than rule.

Hope this clarifies things. Dont get the two paths confused since they lead to very different career tracks.

Of course, these are my personal viewpoints.


Some realities we should be aware of

Quote:1) The number of companies that will hire international students is substantially lower than it was pre 9/11. This means you may not always have the choice to pursue your dream company until later in your career.

2) There are still enough companies that will hire students to probably fill the needs of most students, but every year there is a (albeit small) percentage of foreign students in IT programs in universities that have to go back to their home country. You can reduce that risk by getting a degree from a well reputed school.

3) The good news on this front is that there is such a severe shortage of MIS type students that more and more companies are likely to make exceptions to the H-1b sponsorship rule in the next few years.

4) The big wild card in this equation is that "legal" immigration and "illegal" immigration are kinda bundled together in debates in the senate and the house. Hence, the last time there was a bill to increase the number of H-1Bs, it got stuck with an "illegal" immigration reform bill and went nowhere. As a result, I do not expect the US government creating favorable conditions for increasing immigrant quotas and such. The net result is the uncertainty about availability of H-1b visas in any given year and the potential negative impact it can have on hiring.


I am the trenches everyday talking to firms and these are some of the things that they are thinking about.

Does this mean you shouldnt come for MIS degrees? Absolutely not. Just keep some perspective and dont assume that getting a job is your RIGHT. You will have to work for it.

Hope this helps,
Work experience - How relevant is it?

Quote:You are better doing MIS than CS any day. For the current climate of IT jobs in the US, MIS is where you want to be.

2) With respect to India, as some of you said, as Indian companies (other than IT off shoring companies) start utilizing IT to improve their effectiveness, competitive advantage etc., you will find that the demand of US style MIS degrees will only increase. If you are keen on going back to India, there are many ways to use your network of contacts here to break through the b'cracy.

3) Now to the difference between freshers and experienced people. It is a myth that freshers cannot get into consulting. Most large consulting firms here will hire the brightest people who fit their profile. People with the RIGHT experience (team leads, module leads, project leads as examples) can get hired into these firms at a higher level.

You have to understand the consulting firms' model. If they hire into an entry level position and put you on a client, they will charge the client less for your services. All freshers will be capable of performing at this level. If they hire into a higher level position, they have to bill the client at a higher rate (to pay your salary ). If you are not capable of performing at that level, then you are deep *word censored by forum*.

4) If you get into corporate IT shops in large companies that have off shoring to India/other countries as a strategy, you as fresher will likely will be engaging in some app development in the first 2-3 years whereas a person with the RIGHT experience can be hired into a IT project leadership/management position. Eventually, even the fresher will be moving up to mgmt positions.

5) If you end up taking whatever job is available or get into a smaller IT shop, you will likely have to do what is required to hold a job. This will likely include web development programming etc.

If you end up in a career path where your prior experience provides value, then you will start at a higher salary and level.

For example, if you decided to continue working in security, then I would expect that you would be able to start at the same level as a 2-3 year experienced person which will typically translate to a one or two staff levels higher than an entry level person.

However, if you decide to work in IT strategy consulting, you will be brought in at the entry level or maybe one staff level higher, since your prior work experience does not directly relate to your chose career path. The good news is that for something like that, no one will even look at you if you didnt have your prior experience and you will likely be compensated quite well. That is the price you pay for switching out of a career path and that will happen no matter what degree you pursue.

If all you have done is mainframe maintenance work for 3 years, dont expect to get much credit for it in your job search, other than the fact that you are going to be able to use work experience and maturity to compete well in the marketplace.


Some important points while choosing your school

Quote:Make sure you determine the fit between you and the program. Most univs make their decisions based on several internal factors as well as your scores etc. I wish more Indian students would just be honest in the SOPs but it is getting better

Most schools also make their admits with the expectation that not everyone that is admitted is going to show up!

2) Once you have determined fit and because you have access to such a nice open forum like edulix, it is important that you all converse amongst yourselves and make very prudent decisions.

There is a lot overlap among your admits. If all of you decide to go to the same univ, I can assure you that you will be doing yourself a disservice. Spread yourselves out among the various schools under discussion. Use point #1 above to help decide on the how best to spread yourselves.

3) It is best for people to distribute among the top tier schools (you define what that means; I am not getting into that debate). Most companies come to all the top tier schools (e.g., those mentioned in the recent CMU post such as Deloitte, IBM, PWC, E & Y etc.). From each school these firms will only hire a certain number. Hence, the more you distribute yourself the higher the likelihood that you all can end up at one of these firms as opposed to other lesser firms. It is simple math! [BTW, it is not like India where a company. e.g., Deloitte will hire 50 from one university!. A company like Deloitte will hire from a top "national" school like CMU, Kelley, Eller etc. maybe 6-10 max and probably 2-3 from other schools].

4) Do not overstretch your financial resources. This will put undue pressure on you and while some students thrive under pressure, most tend to buckle under it and end up underperforming in academics and the job market.

5) There has been an upsurge in applications at all schools. In light of this, item a) above is critical, since most programs are likely going to be bigger than last year which means increased competition at any given school.

AMS Analysis on the low GRE-Verbal score

Quote:Here is my analysis of low verbals on the GRE in no particular order:

1) There is an increase in the diversity of applicants applying to US universities (compared to 20 years ago). Hence, there is a natural statistical curve associated with the increased diversity of applicants.

2) The adaptive nature of the electronic test probably accounts for some of the decrease in scores compared to the past as well. Essentially, the electronic test provides no room for error and can lead people down a negative energy feeding cycle during the test.

3) Unlike 2006, in 2007, the quality of applicants to MIS seems comparable to CS. This is good news, since MIS really is one of the better academic paths in this day and age.

4) The advent of instant messaging, a plethora of (not so good) TV choices and an association of slang with being cool (the greater the number of grammatically incorrect, spelling challenged my sentence is the cooler I am syndrome ) has started to have an impact on the quality of the GRE scores.

5) American universities getting laxer in their admission standards has probably led to you all not taking the exams as seriously as you should. Indians (and I used to suffer from this syndrome), in general, have a tendency to do exactly what is necessary to cross the barrier. Hence, if the barrier of acceptability is set a little low, then subconsciously you will shoot for it.

6) TOEFL scores (especially the new ones) combined with good scores on the AWA section are likely to be good counterbalances for a bad verbal. However, if all 2 of these point in the same direction, then there is likely to be a problem.

7) My advice to my colleagues at several universities was to look at the overall package. However, sometimes the volume of applications and the fact that faculty often dont get involved in the early stages of applications processing means that good people with bad verbal scores will not get their fair hearing.

8) My advice to students is to hence still take the exam seriously and achieve a score that reflects your ability, especially if you are aiming for the top schools. Otherwise, you are at the mercy of the vagaries of the admission committees.

9) Finally, take the GMAT instead of the GRE if you are only interested in MIS. GMAT is a much truer test of English language skills and you dont have memorized those damned lists!! (I am still haunted by memories of my "mugging" those 20 years ago. And, I didnt use a single one of the ones I memorized in my 20+ years as an academic with a publication record that is quite good by all accounts )


How to make MIS popular?

Quote:Best way is through network marketing. Each person on this forum tells a few students and so on.

Also, encourage the students to attend the information sessions that programs such as Kelley, CMU, UC host in India.

Spread the word. MS in IS/MIS is great alternative to traditional CS programs, especially for those who are not interested in simply being hard-core technologists.


While accepting offers, AMS says

Quote:I thought I would share with you a few items regarding accepting offers:

1) It is considered in extreme bad to taste (in the US) to accept an offer and then renege on it and go elsewhere. This is likely in sharp contrast to practices in India. Hence, PLEASE do not accept an offer unless you are very certain that you will be going to that univ.

2) We have a small network of faculty in MIS univs. If you do engage in the above practice, it is very easy for you to get "blacklisted" and that is not a good way to start any program.

3) If some univs are putting pressure on you with a deadline and you are not certain whether you are ready to accept or not (this is not unlike what companies will do to you when you come here), you should push back. No univ in their right mind will reject you for that. If they do, then you should really think twice about joining that university. Here, we are all about letting students make choices, not forcing choices on them.

4) Finally, if you do decide to accept a university, it would be very nice (and courteous) of you to send an email to the other universities you applied to and inform them of their decision. This way, they do not have expended resources on a student who is clearly not going to come to their university. There is significant amount of time and money associated with every international application for the universities.

You can use two strategies when dealing with early decision making deadlines (very similar to what you would do when you are recruiting here):

a) Ask the university that has admitted you for an extension. Like I said, they are not going to say no to a good candidate, and if they do, then you probably dont want to join that university anyway (since that is an issue of how professional they are).

b) Ask the 1 or 2 other universities that you would choose over university x above, to process your application early. Indicate your dilemma and your deadline. Again, if you are a competitive candidate, then these universities will find a way to process your application.

Keep in mind that most universities shut down between December 23 and Jan. 1st for Christmas break.

Keep these things in mind as your admit season begins.


For those who worry about salaries after MIS, AMS says

Quote:It is not the starting salaries that matter. It is what you earn in 5 years time.

Firms like E & Y, PWC, pay a lot lower than let us say a tech firm like Microsoft when you join them. But, then 15% average raises + bonuses are not uncommon there. Hence, in 5 years you are more likely to be making six figures in those firms than elsewhere.

The world of "IT jobs" in the US has changed and MIS style knowledge (from a b-school) is what you need these days.

If your job after the degree is directly related to your experience you can expect to make a significant amount of money. 70K - six figures is not out of the question for someone with your profile.


You are a fresher, but AMS says not to worry because

Quote:With no work experience, it all depends on what industry, region etc. I would say 55K+ is a good salary (outside of NY and Bay area where 60K+ would be expected).

Again, dont get caught up in starting salaries. You need to start in the right firm. Trust me; life is more than about money. Focus on the finding the right job with the right company. They will pay you what is the right starting salary for your background.

Just for your reference, 100K puts you in the top 15% of all Americans and 150K puts you in the top 5%. Hence, a salary of 55+ is pretty damn good .

Indians in general seem to have a too much of the "keeping up with the Joneses syndrome", i.e., I want to know how much the other person makes so I can make as much, if not more. A very strange paradox considering the core of Hindu philosophy. Oh well, I guess I will save my sermons for a different forum.

Most people will not pay you much more (even if you have work-ex) unless you are going into a line of work that is based on your prior work-ex, e.g., from peoplesoft maintenance to peoplesoft implementation management.

So dont worry too much about work-ex. You can do well with or without it.

Money is not everything, AMS says

Quote:I guess what I wrote was a reflection of my personal philosophies and my adaptation of the Gita's famous quote on (loosely put) "Doing things to the best of your ability and not being attached to the outcome".

I find that a lot of the discussion on these forums is driven by, "How much money can I make if I do ___________________"?

Instead the question should be, "What should I do that is best suited to what I want to do?". If you do the right thing FOR YOU then the outcomes that matter to you should occur. If they dont, that is probably because of reasons beyond your control.

Think about what I have said above. And those of you who respect my words of advice, please take it heart and make your decisions based on criteria other than money, position etc.

Money is needed to have a comfortable living. You need a higher purpose in life to live a purposeful life.


On one-year accelerated MBA programs

Quote:"The most successful graduates of our one-year Accelerated MBA (formerly the twelve-month option) have clearly defined career paths, often returning to work on the business side of their technical or scientific organizations."

Let me interpret this statement for you all, in case it is not clear .

What this is saying is that the accelerated MBA is for people who are looking to simply enhance their career in the same industry where they go their work experience. In other words, to go from the software engineering side of let's say Microsoft to the marketing and/or finance in a software organization.

However, the idea is that you leverage your existing expertise in an industry and go back to the same industry broadly defined, but on the business side.

But, lets say you worked in software and wanted to go into i-banking, then they are saying you should do the two year MBA.


Your company didnt give you a reference letter for work experience while you are applying, AMS says

Quote:Your joining letter + your SOP + your manager's letter should be fine.

US univs tend to go a lot by trust and dont necessarily look for evidence on every single aspect of your application.

State your work experience in your SOP. That should suffice for evaluation purposes. If you are not getting a single letter from your employers then you might want to address the issue of why (since it is a little strange).


Be innovative while applying

Quote:Most univs, especially b-schools, will appreciate your going above beyond the norm. You are better addressing your deficiencies (e.g., verbal score) up front and provide alternative evidence compensating for it.

A video could be something like you doing an interview answering common questions like, why do you want to do MIS? Why do you want to do it at XYZ university? etc. The idea would be for you to illustrate your command of the language which makes your lower verbal score a moot point.

Now not all universities will be willing to consider this alternative but it doesnt really hurt to try

Dont get bogged down because of your GRE score as AMS says

Quote:Self-confidence is an important attribute and ability to compete with other top students is important. If you feel you are "better" or as good as those with better GRE scores then find a way to differentiate yourself.

Remember, univs, especially B-schools, dont just go by acads or GRE scores. They look for the total package. So your being 70 points below a guy/gal with 1400 is not going to make the difference. This is not the Indian system.

AMS on school rankings

Quote:Just FYI, rankings are not for the program but for some amorphous impression of the faculty by Deans at other schools. In other words, the specialty rankings are not based on real objective data.

Do not look at overall university rankings. other than the obvious MIT, Harvards and other ivy league schools it probably does not convey much.

2) Remember that many of the best MIS departments are not in top schools otherwise (Georgia State, UofA are examples). As I have said before, the MIS department rankings are a good indicator of the quality of faculty there.

3) Library and Information Sciences/Studies programs have transformed them into the schools of Information that you find in many places. I would just ask you all to take a close look at the programs. Syracuse, Penn State (U Mich maybe) are programs that come to my mind when I think of programs that are similar to MIS departments.

4) This is not to say that other LIS programs are not good. Just that they are likely to be very different in their focus from a b-school based program.

The US News rankings of MIS specializations are based on surveys of Deans in other B-schools. Not based on a close look at the coursework, curriculum etc.

This is how I would use the US News rankings. If a B-school program does not appear in the rankings, then it is likely because their faculty and/or IS depts are not as well reputed in the community as the others. However, sometimes just the name of the school (from traditional MBA rankings) carries some depts through in their ranking (like MIT, USC, CMU etc.) even though they dont have MIS programs in the b-schools.

I would take a look at the b-school rankings from Business week and combine with US News rankings to figure out your own version of a ranking for each school. What stats you use there is up to you, but it more likely going to be just your gut feel.

UMCP, UMBC, GWU, Syracuse, Penn State, Michigan (and even CMU) etc are not B-school MIS programs. They are IS programs in non b-school settings. These will not appear in the US News list. For these schools, I would take at the overall national rankings in US News (maybe engineering or overall as a university) to guide you.

I will tell you that the same course say Systems Analysis taught in a b-school will be VERY different from a non b-school curriculum. So it not just being take electives in the b-school that is important. A B-school curriculum by its very nature is going to be more business focused in its problems, homework, cases used etc.

I have posted before on rankings and MIS programs. Bottom-line is that these rankings should be more of a guide. Anyone in the top 15 is likely going to be quite good but you need to take a closer look at the coursework.

Brand or course???
Quote:AMS picks up

It is not about starting salaries, it is about potential salaries later on. CS guys will be stuck in tech jobs, you as MIS people will be moving up the management ladder. So take a look at salaries 5 years after graduation.

I dont think there is that much difference in starting salaries to begin with.

India sucks when it comes to HR idiocy. But, they will start appreciating MIS degrees sooner rather than later. Trust me. Once the US b-schools start hitting the Indian market, everything will be different.

Finally, the only jobs left in the US in the long run will be those that require MIS skill sets.

Put equal weight to brand and coursework. Ones that score equally well in both should be the winners.


The dawning of MIS...

Quote:MIS is the right degree for this new age. I would argue that CS degrees are no longer as relevant for the US job market.

MIS is also the right degree for someone who wants to enter a firm on the tech side but have the skills necessary to move up the management ladder.

Hence, it is an appropriate course for people coming straight out of college or one or two years of experience.

I dont know where you get your average of 33. That seems AWFULLY high to me.

Most full-time MIS programs the average age is likely around 23 - 25.

If you are not interested in research then dont bother applying for CS programs. Almost all of them invariably are research-oriented.

In summary, you seem to have the right profile for someone who should pursue MIS. All the schools on your list you should be more than easy to get admits into (most likely with some aid).

The biggest drawback in MIS programs is that they dont offer full scholarship + stipend like CS does. But, that is because they are typically professional programs that depend on students' tuition (as opposed to research grants) to sustain themselves.

I have 2 degrees in CS before I moved on to MIS. So, I know both sides of the equation and what I am saying above is spoken from a good knowledge of the fields.

Take care,


AMSs take on flexibility in MIS courses

Quote:With a Finance degree you get hired into the finance function.

With an MIS degree you get hired into the IS function to serve as a the liaison to several units including maybe the finance function.

If you have a general business background (including finance) then you will have a leg up in being considered for the above role. However, you will still be an IS person.

One or two finance courses does not a finance person make! They are going to hire you for your IT skills, your project management skills, your knowledge of IT strategy and management, and your soft skills (presentation, negotiation etc.), plus your GENERAL knowledge of business functions.

If you look at most curricula, that is how they are structured. Hence, my belief that this whole flexibility to take finance or marketing courses is mostly just icing on the cake. That is NOT going to make the difference in whether you work for a Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs' IT department.

On the other hand, if you truly want to combine IT and Finance backgrounds for managerial purposes, then you should pursue an MBA.

Also, let me be clear that most consulting firms (Accenture, Deloitte etc.) will NOT hire you to consult in one domain, at least straight out of college! Your domain specialization will be determined by need. So, in fact saying that you only want to do consulting for the financial domain at the lower levels of the organization will only make you less saleable and not more saleable. Domain specialization happens as you move up the ladder (manager, partner etc).



AMS views on even distribution

Quote:1) Please spread yourself out!!! 20 people going to CMU, Kelley, TAMU is only going to mean that you all are going to compete with each other for the best jobs. I know you all think that each of you is the best, but that simply is not the case.

2) It is not that if all 20 of you go to one of these schools that you are not going to get a job. But, if the 20 of you decide to 5 to CMU, 5 to Kelley, 5 to TAMU etc., you all can end up at Deloitte, PWC etc. If all 20 of you go to school X, then at least 5-10 of you is going to end up in a not so name brand firm (each firms usually only hires so many people from each regional school).

3) Some of you can afford certain schools more than others. Be considerate and help others by choosing the school that you can afford + fits you well. Talk to your friends on this list and help each other out so that we can have a spread of students at each univ. That is what life is all about.

4) It seems to me that Eller is getting a bad rap on this forum (For the record, I am not at Eller!). Some of you need to use Eller as an option to achieve the spreading out that I am talking about here. They have outstanding faculty and dont have a reputation for being one of the best in MIS for no reason.

5) Schools like Florida, South Florida, Illinois-Chicago, UT Dallas all have very good faculty. Please consider using those also to spread yourself out.

6) Re-read the post that I am going to bring back to the forefront posted by cardshark on criteria for selecting MIS universities.

Hiring is regional. Essentially, this means the top national consulting firms have a "quota" for each region.

If you are interested in a top national consulting firm, then spreading yourself out will increase the likelihood that you can end up at the firm.

Remember that you are competing not only amongst yourselves but also the domestic students.

If all you care about is finding any job, then go to any of the top-level schools and you will be fine.

I would create a weighted average of some sort. Company x will like recruit y students from top schools like CMU, Kelley, Eller, TAMU etc. It will recruit 50%y from UIC, UC etc.

The unknown factor in this is the size of student bodies at each of the schools. All I am asking you to do is that use this forum to better understand the student body size and the above formula.

Just why an MIS degree is expensive

Quote:MIS is a b-school degree first and foremost (at least most of them). That is why there is a higher price tag.

If you think MIS graduates end up coding then you have no clue what MIS is all about.

A combination of business and technology knowledge is going to define the career of the future in IT. MIS is perfectly positioned in that respect.

So if you are pursuing a degree that is technologically focused then I would argue that the only degree that is worth pursuing is an MIS type degree.

BTW, there is no boom. Just a gradual demand for jobs that require a combination of business and IT skills.



Are you being Amma’s servant???


My intention in taking time out of my busy schedule (and those students who know me know how busy I really am) to provide advice here is to provide service to all of you students. As Amma says, "Service to others is service to God".

I have been providing advice to several of you over the past few months and I hope it has been useful. I want to make it clear that I am not a "consultant" but probably have more knowledge and expertise than any consultants that you may find.

While Amma always encourages service without any expectations of reward, I do want to encourage all of you to consider donating money to a charity of your choice if you find my advice useful.

You spend thousands of rupees on items for personal consumption or benefit. PLEASE consider donating a portion of that to a charity of your choice. It DOES NOT have to be Amma's charities.
Just to clarify, I am not seeking money on behalf of Amma. I want to raise awareness amongst those of you in India on caring for the less fortunate and taking some steps towards it.

If you can afford to spend 10s of lakhs of rupees to go abroad to study, you can afford to contribute a few thousand rupees a year to help the less fortunate.

I will continue to do my duty and serve the people. Do not let it be on your conscience that you simply took advantage of me and by transitivity Amma!

Om Namah Shivaya,



Thanks also goes to Akshayp16 for his formatting

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If you have any queries about the MSIM program in the University of Washington,post them in the University of Washington thread in the MIS forum
(This post was last modified: 06-13-2009 11:11 PM by Asterix.)
06-13-2009 10:20 PM
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