Why I chose the MS MIS program over an MBA.

Written by – Vikram Adithya Ganesh, MS MIS ’23 –

Hi, I am Vikram Adithya Ganesh, an MS MIS graduate student. I joined UB in the fall semester and I have been enjoying my time here. I would like to walk you through why I chose the MS MIS program over an MBA. 

Let’s go back a couple of years back. I enjoyed designing and developing software applications at my workplace. I had the ability to quickly learn about new technologies and use them to solve problems that were thrown at me. While working I had the opportunity to interact with business leaders who have strategized and implemented innovative business solutions. This exposure made me realize the importance of having business knowledge along with technical knowledge to solve business problems. So, I decided to pursue a formal and focused education to gain business knowledge. My first thought was to do an MBA as all my peers had taken that path, but upon detailed research, I stumbled upon another major – Management Information Systems (MIS) 

Firstly, I wanted to stay close to technology. MIS provides an optimal balance between technical and managerial skills whereas an MBA is a broader degree that focuses on business and management. As I already was inclined toward technology, MIS was the right fit for me. This is because I would have opportunities to improve my existing technical skills, understand the nuances of business practices, learn to leverage technology to solve business problems, and design innovative solutions with an information-driven approach. This would help me get a holistic understanding of things so that I can solve business problems in an efficient and effective way.  

Secondly, I wanted to work in the US after my graduation as a technical manager to get practical experience. MIS program is a STEM-designated program that would give me an additional two years of OPT extension when compared to an MBA which is not a STEM program. The benefit of getting two additional years to gain work experience was very important to me as it would help me to gain more practical experience. 

Finally, I wanted to complete my master’s degree and return to the corporate world as the earliest. So, one of the factors I considered for choosing the program was the duration of the degree completion. During my research, I found out that on average, the tenure for the degree completion of the MIS program is one year whereas the same for an MBA program is two years. This also led me to lean more toward choosing the MIS program. 

To validate my thought process, I networked with various students and alumni from both MIS and MBA programs to get an in-depth understanding of their views on both programs. It helped to clear the air and helped me to arrive at the conclusion that MIS was the better fit for me. To conclude, I can’t define what a better program is as the choice of the program varies from person to person depending on their goals. I am glad that I shared my perspective on this topic, and I highly encourage each one of you to decide on your program of interest based on your goals. 

BIO – I lived my entire life in the state of Tamil Nadu in India from the time I was born till 2018. I earned my bachelor’s degree from Vellore Institute of Technology in India, majoring in Information Technology. I moved to Pune, India in 2018 after completing my bachelor’s degree to work at Barclays as a Graduate Analyst. I then worked at HSBC in 2022. The exposure at work made me understand the importance of having business knowledge along with technical skills to use technology efficiently to solve business problems. With my engineering background and desire to learn how to manage technology to resolve business problems, I decided to dedicate a year in my life to pursuing a formal and focused education – that’s what led me to UB for the MS in MIS program. I enjoy watching a lot of sports on television (I am not a superhuman who plays all the sports that I watch). I enjoy doing analysis before a cricket match, a tennis match, and an F1 race. My family loves playing table tennis, so naturally, I love playing table tennis too. 

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