Tech is taking over and it’s making the MBA even more valuable today.
“Successful MBA programs need to look ahead and prepare students for the business challenges of tomorrow not only for those of today,” Andrea Masini, associate dean of HEC Paris MBA, says in a Quora post. “Therefore, with the pervasive digitalization of our economy and the increasing importance of technology in our society, I would say that an MBA degree is more valuable than ever.”
The Rise of the MBA in Tech
In a recent analysis of the employment reports of the top 25 schools, P&Q found that an average of 22% of the Class of 2017 went into the technology industry. Just five years ago, the same group of 25 schools only saw an average of 16.5% go into the tech industry.
What are some of the top tech companies hiring MBA? Amazon, Microsoft, and Google just to name a few. Amazon reportedly hires 1,000 MBAs a year – a record for any MBA employer in history. To put that in context, McKinsey & Co. hires roughly 550 graduates annually, while Bain & Co. brings in roughly 500 MBAs a year.
“It’s one of the smartest companies on the planet, and it has become a training ground for MBAs,” says Shashi Matta, faculty director of the MBA program at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. “They are absolutely hungry for talent and growth.”
How Tech and the MBA Go Hand in Hand
Knowing tech is one thing but knowing the business behind it is another. Experts say this is the reason behind why tech demands MBAs.
“MBA graduates are among the few professionals able speak both the language of business and the language of technology, bridging the gap between these two worlds,” Masini writes. “This is a badly needed skill nowadays.”
And b-schools have been quick to keep up with the demand. At UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, the curriculum has been updated to meet tech demand by students.
“Back in 2011-12, as we saw the student demand for enhanced tech employment preparation really manifest itself, we had discussions with students about what resources they needed to be competitive,” Robert Weiler, associate dean for the full-time MBA program at Anderson, tells P&Q. ”Classes were vital, as were seminars to cover industry happenings. As you might imagine, ‘Technology’ is not a traditional academic area in business schools, so we had to go out more broadly to find practitioners who could supplement what our faculty were able to teach. We offered an important foundational tech course series called Emerging Technologies in spring 2012, and out of that grew a much broader technology curriculum.”
Weiler says the fast pace of change in the tech industry drives change in the b-school environment.
“It will always be a race to stay current and to deliver a cutting-edge education to our students,” he says. “This is a huge benefit of the Easton Center, because of where it sits — directly between the tech business community and our academic expertise. It is so well-positioned to be current and to offer our students the pertinent information they need to be competitive candidates for technology jobs. That is exciting — and keeps us moving!”