To earn a bachelor’s degree in management information systems (MIS), one of the top degrees for the highest-paying business careers, you’ll need to complete a comprehensive core of studies that prepares you for this career field. As part of your undergraduate MIS curriculum, you should expect to take required coursework in business and management and computer systems, as well as completing elective courses that delve into your areas of interest.
Business Courses in an MIS Curriculum
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Management courses are among the most important classes you will take in a degree program in MIS. Students of these programs study different approaches to management, each of which can play an important role in equipping you to create the computer systems business leaders need to improve their processes and decision-making.
As you study operations management, you learn the skills needed to manage routine operations of businesses that produce goods and provide services, including market planning and forecasting, inventory management, supply chain management, and the design of products and service models. Classes in strategic management focus instead on integrating the principles and theories of different business functions into a cohesive strategy to help businesses succeed. Taking classes in financial management helps you develop an understanding of business organization, pricing models, financial ratios, budgeting and managing a company’s working capital.
It’s also crucial for you to understand the foundations of each of the underlying business functions that managers oversee. Many undergraduate MIS curricula include coursework in accounting, economics, marketing and organizational behavior. You might complete classes that offer an overview of business career options, business planning and professional development in the field of business as well as the international business environment.
Although a course like management accounting isn’t a management class per se, the subject revolves around the practices of producing financial data that business leaders use to plan and guide the direction of the company and make educated business decisions.
The Most Important Computer Classes for Business Professionals
When you split up your core MIS curriculum into business courses and computer courses, you’ll notice that the distribution heavily favors studies in business. That said, the value of your technical skills can’t be understated. Without taking the classes in computer and information technology, you have no technical skills that you can use to develop the computer-based tools and platforms businesses need.
Your computer coursework usually starts with introductory studies in computer-based analysis and overviews of information systems and technologies. Students learn how to use the analytical software and methods, especially spreadsheet-based techniques, that companies often use for purposes such as accounting, financial analysis, market research and management decision-making.
A strong foundation in the principles of information technology systems prepares students to develop further skills later in their undergraduate studies. For example, the more upper-level computer courses in a bachelor’s in MIS degree program may emphasize analyzing and designing information systems and developing computer applications for business purposes. Students also learn how to manage business database management systems and, in certain programs of study, how to develop these databases.
What about programming? While you need to learn languages like SQL and Java, programming is only a small part of studying MIS. You learn these languages through your core coursework, but you can also take elective courses in programming.
Elective Courses in Management Information Systems
Most bachelor’s degree programs in MIS also allow students to customize their curriculum to some degree by choosing from a bank of MIS elective classes. Some of these electives are more general in nature, such as information security and data analytics, but others have a more specialized focus.
For example, if you hope to use your MIS education to help hospitals and healthcare systems manage their business data and processes, a course in healthcare information systems can give you enough background to get started in an entry-level role in this field. You might also choose electives that focus on supply chain and logistics, web and social media analytics, social and ethical issues pertaining to the Internet and the use of automated software tools in detecting deception and intent to identify security and terroristic threats.
Your required core coursework and MIS elective classes also build on the skills and knowledge base you acquire through your general education studies.