What MBAs Need To Get A Tech Job
Tech companies are on a hiring spree for MBAs.
Nearly 89% of tech companies expected to hire MBAs in 2018, according to a study done by the Graduate Management Admission Council. But experts say it’s important to differentiate tech companies that are interested in MBAs and tech companies that aren’t.
Ilana Kowarski, a reporter at US News, recently spoke to experts on how tech companies view MBAs and how MBA grads can market themselves to successfully secure a tech job.
“For early stage startups, it’s difficult to find a position for someone with an MBA – and they likely won’t be appreciated as much as they could be elsewhere,” David Cancel – the co-founder and CEO of Drift, a tech company that provides a digital platform for marketing and sales to businesses, and the entrepreneur-in-residence at Harvard Business School – tells US News. “However, as companies grow and scale, the skills team members with MBAs bring can be invaluable.”
The Need For MBAs
Experts say MBAs tend to be in-demand at large, established tech companies.
And as tech companies grow, the importance of MBAs grows. Adam Rodnitzky, vice president of marketing at Occipital Inc, a company that designs and sells cellphone software and sensors, says MBAs are just as critical to growing tech companies as engineers.
“After all, a tech company needs more than just a product to grow,” he tells US News. “It needs a market as well. Once a product finds a market, the complexities of doing business become manifold and can quickly eclipse the experience or resources of a founding team.”
MBAs, Rodnitzky says, can help a tech company overcome a number of obstacles in an effective and efficient manner.
“Having someone with an MBA can not only free up technical founders to refocus on what they do best, but that person can also provide critical thinking to help guide the business through legal, financial and marketing challenges that have the potential to sink or accelerate a tech company’s progress,” he tells US News.
The Skills MBAs Need To Enter Tech
Despite the surge in MBA hiring for tech companies, the industry as a whole is still a difficult one to enter.
For MBAs, that means the more tech experience and relevant skills you have, the better.
“Soft skills”, the ability to work within a team and collaborate effectively, were the highest rated skill that tech employers look for in MBAs, according to Financial Times report.
But that doesn’t mean hard skills are out of the question.
Liz Arnold, associate director for tech, entrepreneurship and venture capital in the Career Management Center at Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, says MBA programs are rapidly ramping up their curricula to ensure MBAs are ready for the tech revolution.
According to Arnold, b-schools are heavily emphasizing hard skills such as predictive analytics in addition to project-based learning opportunities to help prepare MBAs for tech jobs.
“When students are looking for MBA programs, they should really dig into the curriculum,” Arnold tells US News. “I also encourage all students interested in tech to build their entrepreneurial skill set, to really understand how to take the initiative on their own to go from idea to launch. I think that particular skill set is relatively … valued at most tech companies, because the tech companies want students to be autonomous and take projects and run with those ideas and move them forward.”