Professional Education and Career Blog

The Technology Management MBA – The Business of Technology

techmgmtWith the importance of technology in today’s world, many professionals in the tech sector desire to move into management to further their careers. Of course, a general Master of Business Administration degree is worthwhile for this, but many schools are offering an MBA with technological emphasis: The MBA in Technology Management. For many people, this degree may be just the thing to help them move to the next level.

What is Different About the Technology Management MBA?

The Technology Management MBA is typically a degree program that combines a rigorous study of management topics with a specific focus on technology and innovation management. Its goal is to prepare the graduate to manage technological fundamentals to create a competitive advantage for their company. Typical concepts used in technology management include:

  • Technology Strategy – the review and planning of using technology in an organization.
  • Technology ForecastingIdentifying potentially lucrative technologies for the company.
  • Technology Scouting – the systematic approach of gathering information in science and technology, through which technology sources are evaluated.
  • Technology Roadmapping – Evaluating technology with regard to business and market needs.
  • Technology Portfolio Management – Managing the tech projects in development and technologies in use.

Is it Worth It?

A reasonable question to ask is not only whether an MBA is right for you and is worth the expense, but is a specific degree such as a Technology Management MBA really worth it? There are many conflicting opinions on this; some swear by the skills provided by MBA programs, while others believe that it’s a waste of time and money, and doesn’t help that much. Of course, different people have different needs and skill-sets, so it’s entirely possible that both these views are true.

The fact is, someone interested in a technology MBA probably already has technology skills. The question is whether the added business knowledge gives them a significant advantage. According to the website The Best Degrees, the site recently used U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2010 to rank 51 degrees according to job outlook and salary. An MBA in Technology Management came in first. The site concluded that graduates of these programs are well positioned to enter computer and information systems management roles.

A Significant Expense

The expense of an MBA can be steep. From a top-ranked business school, the cost can soar about $150,000. Columbia University’s program costs $168,000, and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business is $165,000. To make it worth it, a student needs to ensure that the increase in salary pays off that money in a reasonable amount of time.

No doubt, an MBA is not a requirement to get into the highest levels of management. Once can find numerous examples of top-flight managers that never entered an MBA classroom. But if your goal is to get into high-ranking technology management positions such as CIO or CTO, these positions are very difficult to get and there aren’t that many of them. You are going to have a significant amount of competition, and having the MBA may be a differentiator compared to other candidates you’re going up against.

The truth is, however, ultimately companies want the person with a great technological track record of producing innovation and getting results. A Technology MBA isn’t going to suddenly make someone with a poor track record into an ideal candidate. If you’re short on experience and resume highlights, it may be more productive to put your efforts, time and energy into establishing a solid track record.

Is Management Really Right For You?

graphIt’s worth considering if the management track is really what you want. If you’re just interested in larger paychecks, it’s possible that going for a technical specialty such as Masters in Computer Science or Masters in Information Systems might be more productive and lucrative, especially if your first love is technology and not management.

A Technology Management MBA can be a great option for some, but not necessarily a great option for everyone. It’s important carefully consider your goals and decide if it’s right for you.