IE Business School, based in Madrid, Spain, has announced the launch of Europe’s first “Tech MBA,” a one-year course aimed at those with strong STEM backgrounds who want to work in technology companies or seek tech-related positions in other sectors. The program, slated to begin in September 2020, will include courses on subjects like artificial intelligence, robotics, and fintech, alongside traditional MBA subjects such as marketing and finance.
IE follows several U.S. schools that have launched STEM and tech-flavored MBAs in recent years, including Rochester University’s Simon Business School — crowned Poets&Quants’ 2018 program of the year — Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, and New York University’s Stern School of Business. (See a comprehensive list of U.S. STEM MBA programs here.)
IE’s new enterprise reflects the fact that tech companies are increasingly recruiting MBAs. Twenty percent of the cohort who graduated from IE’s flagship International MBA in 2019 went into tech firms, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. The pattern is repeated at other schools, as Poets&Quants has reported, and the phenomenon is strong in Europe, if only catching up to the trend in the U.S.: Twenty-three percent of London Business School’s most recent MBA class went to work in tech firms, while the figure was 20% at Barcelona’s IESE and 17% at top Paris-based schools HEC and INSEAD. Compare that to the astonishing 60% of the University of Washington Foster School of Business’ most recent batch of MBAs who went into the tech industry, or the 33% from Stanford Graduate School of Business who ventured into tech.
A DEGREE TO ‘EQUIP MANAGERS TO PROPEL THEIR BUSINESS INTO THE FUTURE’
IE’s move to create a specialized MBA can be seen as a way to carve out a niche in an MBA market where students find it hard to differentiate between programs, and where applications are decreasing. It also capitalizes on the appeal that technology-related programs have for business school students. According to research by the Graduate Management Admission Council, 17% of prospective master’s students — who tend to be slightly younger than MBA applicants — were interested in a data analytics courses in 2017, up from just 7% in 2013, and approaching the 22% who favored the top-ranked program, the master’s in finance.
“In a digital, interconnected world, companies need managers with the talent and training to promote technological innovation,” said Martin Boehm, dean of IE. “Technology rules our lives, rules the world and accelerates our capacity for innovation. Areas such as data management, artificial intelligence or automation take center stage in corporate strategy.
“Our Tech MBA will equip managers to propel their business into the future.”
FIVE APPLICATION ROUNDS FOR NEW TECH MBA
Applicants to IE’s Tech MBA should have an undergraduate degree in a science, technology, or mathematics-related subject, though people with economics, finance, or other degrees will also be considered if they can show that they undertook a substantial amount of STEM-related coursework during their studies. Additionally, the IE Tech MBA will have a Digital Female Leadership Mentorship program to attract women with STEM backgrounds. It will have two intakes, in January and September.
There will be five application rounds for the initial, September 2020 intake of the Tech MBA program. Deadlines are: November 4, 2019; January 7, 2020; March 2, 2020; May 4, 2020; and July 6, 2020.