In today’s fast-paced workplace, where nearly all business functions use some form of computer technology, you can no longer rely on either technical skills or business acuity to get the job you want — rather, you need a combination of the two. So if you have a technical background and earn an M.B.A., or already have an M.B.A. and build on your technical skills, you are an exceptionally marketable employee.
There are some advantages to adding an M.B.A. to your resume of technical expertise. For example, there is a definite benefit for technical people pursuing a career through an organization’s management ranks, as well as those who want to start their own company.
Typically, the “M.B.A. types” are more inclined to encounter greater career opportunities over the long haul, says Michael Love, a Dallas recruiter.
The mixture of IT and business backgrounds is a hot commodity right now, says Marjorie Bynum, VP of work force development for the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA). Many M.B.A.s are popping up in areas like e-commerce, where a basic knowledge of HTML and Internet skills go a long way when combined with a business degree.
In fact, says Bynum, we are seeing such a high demand lately for people who have M.B.A.s because of the explosion of the Internet and e-commerce. M.B.A. programs often help individuals simulate the real world — integrating business skills with technology — making them better prepared for many jobs, especially since so many companies are pursuing e-commerce business practices.
In the eyes of many employers, M.B.A. holders wanting to expand their technical knowledge are typically better suited for roles on the business or marketing side of technical organizations, versus a “hands-on” technical role.
Many larger corporations like to have these employees in the role of a manager, director or vice president, with responsibilities including strategy, delivery, marketing, operations and business development. These positions give them transferable skills outside the pure technology arena.
If you already have the M.B.A. and show potential, many employers may be willing to train you in the technical skills needed. But again, technology basics, such as HTML and Internet skills, will make your progress easier.
Bottom line, there are three main skills, when combined with advance technologies, that will ensure your success. This holds true whether you’re competing for a job as a chief information officer, a tech-savvy executive, or plan to start your own business. They are:
If you are considering enrollment in an M.B.A. program, take a look at Computerworld’s Third Annual Top Techno-MBA Survey, which lists 25 schools that they found to do the best job of preparing students for careers as technology leaders.