For an increasing number of businesses, making advanced technology a core component of their business plan is no longer optional. Not only that, but the tech sector itself is in dire need of skilled workers.
At the same time, competition for the top positions is fierce, and it helps to have something to help your resume stand out. For that reason — along with the potential for higher pay and rapid advancement — many people working (or looking to work) in the tech sector are choosing to pursue their MBA.
It may not seem intuitive, but pursuing an MBA while (or before) working in the tech sector has become one of many vital self-improvement strategies for up-and-comers looking to boost their income or get ahead of their competition.
Those are among the reasons MBAs are more popular than ever in the tech sector. But how can an MBA benefit someone working in technology? Wouldn’t they be better off pursuing a Masters in their chosen field? Maybe not — and we’ll get into why a little later on.
What Is an MBA?
First, let’s dig a bit into what an MBA actually is, and then talk about what having one can mean for your career in tech.
An MBA is a Master of Business Administration, a generalist degree that teaches principles of business like marketing, finance, economics, and accounting. Students will learn how business works, and develop management and leadership skills as well as technical knowledge.
In addition to helping with earning more or advancing into more advanced, managerial positions, getting an MBA is also a great way to expand your professional network and open new business opportunities. It’s also useful for those who feel they’ve gone as far as they can in tech and are looking to break into a new industry.
MBA vs. Masters
Let’s say you’ve just gotten your Bachelor of Technology (Btech) degree and are wondering where to go next. You wouldn’t be alone — this is a common dilemma for graduates wondering which direction they should go in terms of further education.
In short, it depends on what sort of career you’re looking for in the long term. Generally speaking, students pursue a Masters of Technology if they’re interested in teaching or research. A Masters of Technology provides a good framework for research, and may be ideal for those wanting to improve society and solve large-scale problems using technology.
However, even individuals established in their chosen career with a BTech have opted to pursue an MBA, feeling they’ve already developed the technical aspects of their career and look to developing new skill sets that can enhance their appeal to employers. Having an MBA is continually in high demand, and the increasing sophistication of advancing technology makes managerial and leadership expertise a huge bonus.
MBA Programs and Tech Concentration
Individuals choosing to pursue their MBA could also benefit from taking an MBA program with a tech concentration. With many of the biggest and fastest-growing companies in the nation being tech companies, it pays (literally) to specialize in the field. A graduate with an MBA with a tech concentration could lead to a six-figure salary.
In addition, the rapid advancement of technological innovation has created high demand for tech-savvy executives, and having an MBA with a tech focus (instead of marketing and finance, for example) can help a hopeful stand out from the crowd.
So what exactly can you do with an MBA, particularly with a tech concentration? Here are some of the more common career paths.
Information Technology: An MBA in IT would provide training in systems development, tech management, and information security / cybersecurity. This is a fast-growing sector, with more and more businesses going fully online (with all the security risks that entails.). You could become an IT manager, CTO (chief technology officer), or systems manager.
Internet Marketing. While a bit more financially focused than other tech-centric MBAs, this is still an appealing choice for those who want to both put their technical skills to use, and develop a lucrative career in marketing. Subjects of study would include online branding, social media optimization, SEO, and customer relations. Individuals with this focus generally go on to become marketing directors, social media managers, or digital marketing managers.
Business Analytics. Big data is bigger than ever, and students who want to learn to process and predict that data. With this MBA, you would be working with IT systems, data processing, and analytics.
How Tech MBAs Can Benefit Entrepreneurs
What about the self-starters? It takes a lot more than a great idea to build a successful business. You’ll need investors, business partners, advisors, and mentors.
An MBA in entrepreneurship can give you the tools you need, as well as networking opportunities that might make the road ahead a little smoother. Subjects of study typically include marketing, statistics, leadership, and innovation. This is an ideal educational path for people who either want work for themselves, or climb the ranks quickly while working for someone else.