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Monday, August 16, 2010 - International focus, modified curriculum strengthens MSITM program

Faculty research leads to top ranking among business schools

 A degree that puts managerial and technical skills at the forefront, the SBA's Master of Science in Information Technology Management integrates the management of information and technology with experiential learning to prepare students to advance in their careers.  


An already strong and successful program as measured by the success of its graduates and the distinguished record of research and scholarship of its faculty, the SBA is modifying the program to increase its focus on the global marketplace, and adjusting the curriculum to make it easier for working professionals and international students to complete the program faster.


An international connection


Through a formal partnership with National Sun Yet Sun University (NSYSU) in Taiwan, the SBA will bring international students to OU to earn an MSITM and gain business experience as part of their NSYSU PhD program.


"Encouraging international partnerships and welcoming students from other countries expands the knowledge base and global understanding gained by the SBA's MSITM students, who learn from faculty members and colleagues in class," says Balaji Rajagopalan, professor, MIS, and associate dean. "Additionally, this extends the SBA's connection to ongoing, relevant research projects and findings worldwide."


The plan includes hosting a cohort of approximately 10 NSYSU students in Fall 2011.


Faster completion


A modified curriculum now means students with MIS experience can complete the program in 30 credits, or one full year if attending full time. This serves to make the program friendlier to working professionals interested in gaining the knowledge and experience needed to advance in their field.


Future plans include introducing a 4+1 option where undergraduate MIS majors can count 12 credits of their undergraduate studies toward the MSITM program, allowing them to earn both a bachelor's and master's degree in five years.


Distinguished record of research


These changes strengthen a program that is building a stellar reputation based on the research contributions of its faculty members.


In fact, for more than 15 years OU's MIS faculty have been listed among the top 100 business schools based on an annual ranking compiled by the University of Texas-Dallas School of Management. And, OU is ranked 49th among North America’s more than 500 business schools based on research contributions from 2007-2009 for two prestigious publications, ISR and MIS Quarterly (MISQ).


What students say about the MSITM program


Abishake Subramanian, says the program allows people with a technical background to complement their skills with business credentials. “This is very necessary for making yourself unique in today’s global market,” he notes. “During recessionary times, you need the proper mix of skills to meet specific needs. OU’s program is teaching me to provide diversified technological solutions. The OU program provides real industry experience, the actual sorts of things I – and other students – will encounter in various cultures of the working world.”

Subramanian notes the value he found in participating in a research project based on flexible business process modeling in a health care environment. In addition, he has had the chance to attend regional conferences. “OU’s Master of Science in Information Technology program gives people like me – those already skilled in technology – the information and skill set necessary to manage the business side of the industry.”


With an appreciation for the SBA's specialized MSITM program, Dean Przymusinski says, “The courses in the MSITM program are specific, very current and relevant. We’re studying things that are completely cutting edge.


“I’m learning a great deal about aligning IT with other business practices. Not only why it is important to be able to do that, but also how to actually go about putting the methods into practice. The combination of business and technology helps me to understand what is going on in the trenches," he says.


While working in sales, Pete Pfeiffer enrolled in the SBA's MSITM program as a way to transition into the information technology field. Bolstered by the knowledge he gained in the program, he was promoted at Gale(R), a part of Cengage Learning, moving from systems analyst, to team leader, to manager of operations analysis, all within 18 months.

"Initially, the IT core classes -- Systems Analysis, Systems Design and IT Project Management -- gave me what I needed to get out of sales and into a systems analysis job," says Pfeiffer. "It takes a lot of creativity, business domain knowledge, technical skill and finesse to provide value to decision makers. The  holistic approach of the SBA's MSITM program, putting technology into a business context, gave me the tools to operate at a high level in each of those areas."