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Starting a Career in Tech After Your MBA

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When getting your MBA, it’s easy to get caught up in the herd mentality. With hoards of classmates heading off to meet with top consulting firms or pursuing careers in investment banking, it can be tempting to simply go with the flow. But while many business school students do choose careers in finance or consulting, those industries are not your only options.

Tech opportunities are exploding in a big way. In fact, 12 percent of MBAs accepted a job in the industry in 2015, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s (GMAC) annual Global Management Education Graduate Survey Report.

Why Is Tech Hot?

According to GMAC, 52 percent of tech companies plan to increase the number of MBAs they’ll hire in 2016. In fact, nine out of 10 technology companies will hire an MBA to fill positions in business development, marketing and sales, and more.

Beyond hiring, corporations like Facebook, Google and Apple have taken over their respective markets and built strong user bases that set them apart. According to Fortune, the tech giants Apple and Google are the most admired and valuable companies in the world.

Simply put, the technology sector is booming, and not since the dot-com era has it ever been a more attractive place to work.

Choosing a Career in Tech

According to Jeremy Schifeling, an MBA graduate out of the Ross School of Business and the founder of Breakinto.tech, there are only two things that really matter when choosing your career in tech post-MBA.

  1. The work that you’re doing.
  2. The environment that you’re doing it in (people + culture).

The Work

So, how do you choose a career in tech after your MBA? The key is to match up your roles and skills with their corresponding functions in tech. Schifeling breaks down five skills outside of the tech industry and how they translate into a tech job.

Skills Outside Tech Job Function in Tech
Strategy + Analysis BizOps, Research, Analytics
Financial + Accounting Finance, CorpDev
Built Products + Code PM, Project, Operations
Persuasion + Influence Marketing, Sales, BizDev
Built Teams + Culture HR, Customer Success

The Culture

Now that you know which tech job best fits your skills, it’s about finding the right organization for you. There are a few things to consider within the tech industry:

  • The size of the company: Do you want to work for a corporate giant like Amazon or a small startup?
  • Time at the office: Unlike many other industries, tech tends to be a little more flexible. It’s possible to get a tech job that lets you spend more time at home. Is that what you want or do you want to travel and spend your time in the office?

What MBA Skills Translate Best to Tech?

The reality is that most of the skills you’ll learn in your MBA will be crucial to the tech and startup industry, Adam Enbar (an MBA and co-founder and CEO of Flatiron School) told Quora. Nowadays, tech companies aren’t necessarily successful because of pure technological innovation. Instead, tech companies are successful because they’ve learned how to use existing technology in smart and innovative ways to meet the needs of their customers.

The reason MBAs are so valuable is because most graduates are business leaders who know how to spot opportunities to apply technology in new ways. MBAs also have the skills necessary to develop sales and marketing programs to help garner customers. Finally, MBAs have unique access to their schools’ networks and brands, which provides opportunities for funding, mentorship, future employees and more.

Best Tech-Focused MBA Programs

If you’re considering going into tech after your MBA, where should you go to school? CIO ranked the Top 10 Technology MBA Programs in America. We’ve briefly outlined that list below. And for even more guidance on best MBA programs for tech, don’t miss this Clear Admit article, “Tops for Tech: The Best Business Schools for a Career in Technology.”

  1. MIT Sloan School of Management: The school offers courses such as “Fundamentals of Digital Business Strategy” and “Generating Business Value in IT.”
  2. Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business: MBAs can earn an MBA with a specialization in technology leadership in tandem with a degree in computer science.
  3. UT Austin McCombs School of Business: Students can take advantage of an MBA concentration in information systems.
  4. University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management: The school offers a technology-focused MBA concentration.
  5. University of Arizona Eller College of Management: MBAs can choose the Management Information Systems (MIS) concentration.
  6. NYU Stern School of Business: Among the school’s many specializations is one in Management Information Technology and Operations.
  7. Stanford Graduate School of Business: The MBA program focuses on alternative education methods and offers an array of electives in operations, information and technology.
  8. University of Maryland Smith School of Business: MBA candidates can concentrate in information systems, operations management or business analytics.
  9. The Wharton School: The MBA program allows students to focus on operations and information management and specialize in systems.
  10. Arizona State University Carey School of Business: MBAs can concentrate in information systems.

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About the Author


Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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