Why Tech Wants (and Doesn’t Want) MBAs
More MBAs are going into tech than ever.
For example, tech placement for MBAs at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business has jumped 19 percentage points from 41% to 60% for the 2018 graduating class. And that’s just one example of a b-school churning out a large number of MBA into the tech sector.
Yet, experts say, the industry is starting to shun traditional b-school candidates as they search for more tech-savvy employees.
“Technology has been one of the hottest post-MBA career paths in recent years, even as some companies in the industry continue to shun business school and hire candidates with more technical horsepower instead,” Seb Murray writes for Find MBA.
TECH SURPASSES WALL STREET
For many MBAs, a job in tech is a dream come true.
A Financial Times analysis finds that the popularity of an investment banking career for b-school students has dropped by nearly 40% since the financial crisis.
Part of the reason? Tech companies can attract MBAs with high starting salaries.
At Google, the average starting salary for MBAs is $121,979. At IBM, it’s $124,714, according to Metro MBA.
“Tech companies value MBA grads because of the skills that they bring to the job: complex problem solving, critical thinking, comfort with ambiguity and collaboration,” Abby Scott, assistant dean for MBA career management at the University of California-Berkelely’s Haas School, tells Find MBA.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TECHNICAL SKILLS
While MBAs are certainly in demand in tech, a number of tech companies are hesitant to hire MBAs.
Experts say this is most common amongst mid-sized and startup tech companies, where structured hiring for MBAs is less common
“Also, at smaller companies, technical skillsets are usually the most critically needed resource,” Stephen Rakas, executive director of the Masters Career Center at the Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School, tells Find MBA. “An MBA may or may not have deep technical skills, but they do bring the skills necessary to scale and manage a growing business.”
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, says smaller tech startups don’t have an immediate need for MBAs. But that doesn’t mean they won’t need them later down the road.
“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,” Cancel tells US News “However, as companies grow and scale, the skills team members with MBAs bring can be invaluable.”