Turning Business Problems into Technical Solutions: Why IT Folks Should Get MBAs

October 27, 2011 · Leave a Comment 

When IT professionals are looking to move up the management ranks in a company, getting an MBA might give them an edge. Michael Morris, and IT professional and achiever of an MBA from the University of North Carolina, puts it this way, “my technology background is networking and telecommunications. I’m good at that. The problem is, if I want to go and run application groups – which is where a lot of senior IT managers and CIOs come from – they’re going to look at me and say, ‘You’re a network guy. Why would we want you to run our Oracle platform?’… The theory is that [the MBA] will open up doors in other parts of IT that my technology background can’t take me to.”

The Importance of an IT Professional with Leadership Skills

It is becoming more and more desirable for an applicant in technology companies to have both technical and leadership capabilities. This is because of the increase in value of someone who has the ability to take a business problem and turn it into a technical solution – while turning a profit. After all, that is what made Steve Jobs the legend he is today. Senior Vice President Tom Silver of Dice.com states, “in general, we see a big push toward tech professionals who have insight into cost structure, customer behavoir and emerging trends – business IT.”

In the End, Experience Counts the Most

Still, today the MBA for the tech professional is no golden ticket like it might be in typical business administration management fields, where it can translate into an instant pay increase. Morris describes the significance of the MBA in IT hiring processes as, “as long as you’ve got one” you are good. Basically, the degree is not enmeshed in business-school pedigree baggage. It also is still only considered as a “preferred” quality for hopeful-hires, rather than a required one and in the end, experience, not education, is where it matters most.

Jack Cullen, president of IT staffing provider Modis, asserts, “nothing trumps great work experience… A candidate who has the right technical skills, experience working with relevant applications, and industry-specific domain knowledge is going to stand out to prospective employers. “That drives up value more than the certifications, more than the education.”

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