MBA in Cybersecurity

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In early 2017, Forbes shared the following advice with its readers: cybersecurity is for everyone. Modern hackers aren’t just going after the big targets like Target, The Home Depot, the U.S. government, or other prominent victims of the past. There is currently potential for hackers to target anyone. As a result, Forbes warns readers that literally everyone should prepare for possible cyber attacks, theft of money, and theft of critical information.

With Intel’s prediction that by 2020, there will be 200 billion smart devices worldwide, data vulnerability will require a lot of attention. Companies are going to need high-level insight on what hardware, software, and processes need to be established or replaced to maintain effective defenses against cyber criminals. For those interested in helping businesses keep data secure

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that opportunities for information security analysts—one of many potential career paths open to cybersecurity professionals—are expected to swell 28 percent between 2016 and 2026.

By understanding the inner workings of business and mastering the computer skills to keep data secure and keep intruders out, those who earn an MBA in cybersecurity can qualify for a range of positions including security consultant, systems administrator, IT manager, database and network administrator, digital forensic specialist, and more.

In response to the need to offer professional development that fits into already-established lives, many MBA programs are now offered in fully online or in hybrid online/on-campus formats. These distance learning formats allow students to complete coursework on their own schedule within some parameters. In addition, distance learning programs don’t require students to physically relocate in order to complete the program, and have no or minimal requirements for on campus visits.

Because business education recognizes the need for quality programming that is also flexible, there is a wide range of high quality online MBAs in cybersecurity taught by highly qualified and experienced professors.

Read on to learn more about online MBA programs in cybersecurity, including details about the expected curriculum and distinguished faculty.

Online MBAs in Cybersecurity

Students pursuing an online MBA with a concentration in cybersecurity at American learn about risk management, database management, and cybersecurity governance. Graduates can be prepared to help companies, organizations, and agencies improve their defenses and investigational abilities through coursework in fraud examination, litigation support, and general forensic accounting. The 48-credit program also includes an overview of business fundamentals, accounting, and finance. Courses are designed in coordination with the school’s Kogod Cybersecurity Governance Center, an entity focused on technology research and policy. Though American’s MBA in cybersecurity is mostly online, students are required to visit the campus for two three-to-four day practicums throughout the program.

Location: Washington, D.C.
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Time to complete: 18-24 months
Tuition: $1,642/credit

Maryville’s online MBA program offers nine concentrations, including cybersecurity. Students enrolled in the cybersecurity concentration learn hands-on skills like PEN testing and forensic examination, and can gain analytical and theoretical information like the legal aspects of privacy and compliance. Creating strong defensive cyber systems is the main emphasis of this program. The 36-credit online program also includes core MBA courses in business and leadership skills, and aims to prepare students with required information to apply for certifications such as Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Information Systems Security Professional and EnCase Certified Examiner.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (school), Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (program)
Time to complete: One to three years
Tuition: $714/credit

MBA seekers who are interested in additional knowledge in the areas of cyber topics have two specialization options within Utica’s 30-credit curriculum: cybersecurity or cyber policy. The cybersecurity specialization helps students to understand the role that cyber systems can have on businesses and institutions. Coursework in the cybersecurity specialization include cyber intelligence, investigations, and general management and response to threats. The specialization in cyber policy includes coursework in public policy and politics, law and ethics, and international aspects of policies. Both specializations are available online.

Location: Utica, New York
Accreditation: Middle State Commission on Higher Education (school), Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (program)
Time to complete: one year full-time, two years part-time
Tuition: MBA cybersecurity $895/credit, MBA cyber policy $775/credit

The Florida Institute of Technology offers an MBA with a specialization in cybersecurity. In this program, students begin studies with a focus on business principles, followed by an overview of the fundamentals of modern cybersecurity terminology and practices. In an online format, students discover skills in risk assessment and how to create or maintain secure networks and communications systems. In the 36-credit program, students also learn about current vulnerabilities and threats, how to prepare to defend against them, and how prevent threats from affecting workplace secure networks.

Location:Melbourne, Florida
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Time to complete: 18-24 months
Tuition: $896/credit, $32,256/program

The MBA with a cybersecurity management concentration at St. Leo’s provides the technical skills and tools to create solid policies and defenses against cyber threats, blended with foundations of leadership, interpersonal communication, and team-building. The 36-credit online curriculum emphasizes ethical business decisions and the role of technology related to management issues. This program includes courses on the fundamentals of network security, disaster recovery, web security, general security principles, and strategic planning for future defenses and intrusion efforts.

Location: St. Leo, Florida
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (school), Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (program)
Time to complete: Two years part-time, 18 months with permission
Tuition: $555/credit

Within the Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business, students can seek a 42-credit MBA with a cybersecurity concentration. The program includes an overview of business-focused courses such as finance, value-based marketing, and operations management. The cybersecurity track covers topics such as network security, organizational cybersecurity management, data protection and compliance, and legal issues. The business school has been designated as a Center for Academic Excellence by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.

Location: Irving, Texas
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Time to complete: 18 months to three years
Tuition: $1,250/credit

The Muma College of Business at USF invites MBA students to concentrate in cybersecurity. This program includes courses on strategies in risk management to try to create strong defenses and disaster recovery methods if a system fails. Students also learn about database management, cryptology, legal compliance, and general information security topics. The 32-credit online program is designed to help people do well in highly technical security fields, including working on projects and putting policies together. Students are required to visit campus for a three-day final capstone course.

Location: Tampa, Florida
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (school), Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (program)
Time to complete: One year full-time, three years part-time
Tuition: $900/credit

The 36-credit online MBA program includes a cybersecurity component, and is recommended for people who want to be facilitators between IT teams and upper-level management. The program provides an overview of modern business foundations and theories, plus computer terminology, which can be useful in creating or updating corporate security policies. Students in the online program also are taught how to assess system security, create disaster responses, and work with common cryptographic algorithms.

Location: Tyler, Texas
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (school), Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (program)
Time to complete: 18-24 months
Tuition: $837.43/credit, $2,512.29/course, $30,147.60/program
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Online MBA in Cybersecurity Faculty To Know

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    Manish Agrawal, PhD University of South Florida

    Dr. Agrawal is considered an expert in cybersecurity, social media, software quality, and decision fusion. He teaches a variety of courses at USF, including business data communications, information assurance, and application development. He received his doctorate in information systems from SUNY Buffalo and also studied at the Indian Institute of Technology in India. Publications topics include electronic commerce and management information systems.

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    Sandra Blanke, PhD University of Dallas

    Dr. Blanke is the director of the University of Dallas Center for Cyber Security Education, and the chair of the Management Technology department. She specializes in management and disaster recovery, and her expertise includes cybersecurity, risk management, and cyber insurance. She has been teaching at UD since 2005 and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional. Prior to becoming a professor, she worked at Verizon in enterprise technology and network operations. She has also given presentations about cyber vulnerabilities in health care.

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    Dustin Loeffler, JD Maryville University

    A graduate of Maryville, the university considers Dustin Loeffler a definite success story. Today, he’s the school’s director of graduate studies in business and an associate professor of cybersecurity and information systems. Following graduation, Mr. Loeffler spent 14 years in the corporate world, including positions with Boeing and IBM. He is also a proponent of integrating Apple products into the classroom including software and other tools that allow better delivery of the school’s cybersecurity programs. Notably, he has been named an Apple Distinguished Educator.

Admission Requirements

Each MBA program is different in what requirements they expect of applicants. While it is important that prospective students understand each school’s individual requirements, general requirements often include:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a related field (business, sometimes computer science)
  • A minimum GPA (at least 2.5 or 3.0)
  • A personal statement expressing interest
  • Letters of reference from professionals in the field
  • GRE/GMAT scores, which can be waived based on significant professional experience or other graduate-level courses.
  • OEFL scores for foreign students

Accreditation and State Authorization

Accreditation is the way in which universities indicate to prospective and current students that they are teaching relevant, high-quality information. To earn accreditation, universities and business schools allow industry organizations to perform evaluations to ensure that programming meets certain standards of quality. On an institutional level, more than 3,000 colleges and universities seek accreditation from entities approved by the Council for Higher Accreditation (CHEA).

For business education, the two main accreditation organizations include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (AABSP) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business(AACSB). Both groups verify that correct, industry relevant information is being delivered, and ensure that business programs (or schools) have other assets such as career placement, qualified faculty, and alumni and community support.

While certification is not required to work in cybersecurity, individuals can pursue post-graduate certification as a way to show potential employers that they possess specific schools. Those seeking additional certification in different realms of cyber security can explore the following certification entities: CompTIA Security+, Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Information Security Manager, or Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

As a final note, if a student wishes to enroll in a program offered by an online university outside their state of residence, it is important to ensure that the intended university has authorization to provide education in their home state. Students can learn this information by checking the program’s website, speaking to an admissions officer, or by researching if their intended program is a participant in universal state reciprocity as delineated by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).