How B-Schools Are Meeting Tech Demand
For years, tech has increased deepened its footprint in MBA programs. Now, most b-schools have updated their programming to integrate data and analytics across every specialization.
A new article by Arianne Cohen, a contributor for Bloomberg Businessweek, examines exactly how b-schools are prepping MBAs for a career in tech and how the demand for it has exploded.
WHY DOES TECH NEED MBAs?
For many tech companies, an MBA can be especially valuable in helping an organization scale and grow.
“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,” Adam Rodnitzky, the vice president of marketing at Occipital Inc., tells US News.
HOW ARE B-SCHOOLS MEETING DEMAND?
The issue, however, is the MBA traditionally has not been a tech-embedded degree. Now, b-schools are finding a demand to teach its students at least some understanding of tech.
Martin Boehm, dean of the IE Business School, tells Bloomberg Businessweek that he often hears the same message from executives at large tech companies, such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook.
“We identified two roles for which we saw companies struggling to find talent,” he says. Product managers who oversee digital products and consultants who work with tech clients.
To meet that demand, IE Business School is launching a 10-month Tech MBA that will produce roughly 50 students who would be ideal candidates for such roles.
WHAT ELSE IS PUSHING DEMAND?
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, another big catalyst for the demand for tech MBAs is foreign students.
“Graduate programs that are designated as STEM programs enable international students on F-1 visas to apply for STEM OPT extensions, which provide two additional years in the country,” Cohen writes. “This is important to foreign students, who are often seeking permanent entry into the U.S. job market and want three years on a runway after graduation, rather than just one.”
And while many b-schools are offering tech-specialized degrees, a number are also wary of tech curricula replacing traditional management courses.
A good middle point for many b-schools seems to be adding an extra graduate degree that helps teach certain demands for tech jobs, such as management in IT.
“There’s a pattern where students are getting MBAs, and then getting specialized degrees, such as master’s in business analytics or technology management,” Barbara Coward, an MBA admissions consultant in Washington, tells Bloomberg Businessweek. “I’ve seen that over and over again. For now, the tech sector is where all the cool jobs are. I have not yet met anyone who said they want to go to Wall Street and make a ton of money.”