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IT PAYDAY: What do top CIOs make?
Companies today are very rate-conscious and they have firm expectations about what they want to pay to fill an open position. "If we introduce a candidate who has the skills and we try to put a premium on the MBA, we're not seeing it. It's not moving the needle," Cullen says.
However, earning an MBA can provide leverage if an IT professional is looking to negotiate a bump in pay from a current employer, Cullen says.
Reed of Robert Half Technology agrees. "Can you command more money because you have an MBA? Not necessarily," he says. "But because of the additional skills it adds to your repertoire, it certainly puts you in a position to make yourself more valuable to an organization, and to do more for an organization. And when you do that, it typically leads to increased opportunity and increased compensation."
From a recruiter's perspective, an IT pro with an MBA is a highly marketable candidate, but the degree won't make up for a lack of technical skills. "A hiring manager is going to look at a person's most actively used skills and actual experience on the work site, probably ahead of the MBA," Cullen says.
In other words, getting an MBA is valuable, but it's no golden ticket.
"Nothing trumps great work experience," Cullen says. A candidate who has the right technical skills, experience working with relevant applications, and industry-specific domain knowledge is going to stand out to prospective employers. "That drives up value more than the certifications, more than the education."
Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.