Find all School-related info fast with the new School-Specific MBA Forum

It is currently 16 Sep 2014, 05:45

Close

GMAT Club Daily Prep

Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

Customized
for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Track
Your Progress

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance

Practice
Pays

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.

Events & Promotions

Events & Promotions in June
Open Detailed Calendar

IT + MBA

  Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  
Author Message
TAGS:
Senior Manager
Senior Manager
User avatar
Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 440
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 9 [0], given: 0

GMAT Tests User
IT + MBA [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 12:01
I read how many IT professionals and engineers are looking to earn MBA degree to switch careers into a typical post MBA track like MC, IB, etc. But why not leverage IT experience with MBA degree to become chief technology officer for example, i.e. a management position in IT industry or something to that extent? Am I missing something?
Manager
Manager
User avatar
Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 192
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0

 [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 12:14
you are...its the "Grass is greener on the other side" concept.

I have done IT for the last 3 years and I am just tired of it. Several of my other conuslting buddies are in the same boat.

That and the higher pay packages in IB are the main draw.
Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 16 Aug 2006
Posts: 14
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0

 [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 12:14
A lot of people end up doing something like that: they go into biz dev or marketing in IT/high tech. It doesn't make sense for you to get an MBA if you want to stay on the engineering side of things. I never met a CTO with an MBA. In my personal experience, having an MBA will drag you down in an engineering dept. because people won't perceive you as 'techie' anymore.
Senior Manager
Senior Manager
avatar
Joined: 18 Feb 2007
Posts: 256
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 1 [0], given: 0

GMAT Tests User
Re: IT + MBA [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 12:20
Nsentra wrote:
I read how many IT professionals and engineers are looking to earn MBA degree to switch careers into a typical post MBA track like MC, IB, etc. But why not leverage IT experience with MBA degree to become chief technology officer for example, i.e. a management position in IT industry or something to that extent? Am I missing something?


I have a BSEE, getting a MS in math, and plan to do IB.

I like finance and i like $. Those are my reasons
Senior Manager
Senior Manager
User avatar
Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 440
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 9 [0], given: 0

GMAT Tests User
 [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 12:24
gmat_newb wrote:
A lot of people end up doing something like that: they go into biz dev or marketing in IT/high tech. It doesn't make sense for you to get an MBA if you want to stay on the engineering side of things. I never met a CTO with an MBA. In my personal experience, having an MBA will drag you down in an engineering dept. because people won't perceive you as 'techie' anymore.


Yes, but let's say we take a large corporation as UTC for example. Wouldn't you be a great fit for a top technology position with an engineering background and a top notch MBA degree? I'd imagine that hours are good, upwards mobility and you're working in a field that you know so much about.
Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 12 Nov 2006
Posts: 32
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0

Nsentra [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 12:59
As gmat_newb said already, an MBA degree is not a pre-req for management roles on the engineering side. The management skills needed for such jobs are easily learned through short customized courses in project manangement, risk/decision analysis and marketing for high-tech etc. Not much finance knowledge is required in this track and practical experience in such a role is more valuable than coursework for 2 years. The level of technical depth needed to be a VP of engg or CTO is best retained by keeping in touch with technology and not taking a 2 year break for a full-time MBA program.
Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 16 Aug 2006
Posts: 14
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0

 [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 13:04
Nsentra wrote:
Yes, but let's say we take a large corporation as UTC for example. Wouldn't you be a great fit for a top technology position with an engineering background and a top notch MBA degree? I'd imagine that hours are good, upwards mobility and you're working in a field that you know so much about.


Don't know about UTC, but in my experience there's a very well defined line between engineering and business in high tech companies. A product manager is the only position that kind of straddles both organizations. I can see how at a large company having an MBA will help you on the eng. side, but I think of all the post-B-school jobs, being a middle manager in an eng. dept. an MBA gives you the least edge. The MBA degree isn't valued at all in engineering.
Senior Manager
Senior Manager
User avatar
Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 440
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 9 [0], given: 0

GMAT Tests User
 [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 13:20
thanks neo and newb, that makes sense.
VP
VP
User avatar
Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Posts: 1408
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 15 [0], given: 0

GMAT Tests User
Re: IT + MBA [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 13:40
Nsentra wrote:
I read how many IT professionals and engineers are looking to earn MBA degree to switch careers into a typical post MBA track like MC, IB, etc. But why not leverage IT experience with MBA degree to become chief technology officer for example, i.e. a management position in IT industry or something to that extent? Am I missing something?



A very valid question! In reality a lot of the MC/IB aspirant will be back in the industry to be managers/presidents/CXO.

There are several reasons why ppl want to goto for MC/IB (mainly MC) - to get the latitude of industry experience. MC/IB has up or out policy, unlike the industry. You HAVE TO PERFORM and bring in revenue to the firm else u leave. Lots just want the branding to accelerate their carrier. a MCK, Bain or BCG on the resume means a lot to potential employers. Definitely there will be ppl who will stick to MC/IB, but typically majority of the folks come out and rejoin the industry.

As someone mentioned the grass is greener on the other side. Everyone wants to taste it to get a feel for it themselves. I have this friend who works for one of the top MC Firms and she is fed up and wants to quit.

So yeah, lot of people (even though they do not admit it now) would be coming back to the industry as CXO.
1 KUDOS received
GMAT Club Legend
GMAT Club Legend
avatar
Affiliations: HHonors Diamond, BGS Honor Society
Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Posts: 5925
Schools: Chicago (Booth) - Class of 2009
GMAT 1: 730 Q45 V45
WE: Business Development (Consumer Products)
Followers: 255

Kudos [?]: 1540 [1] , given: 7

GMAT Tests User Premium Member
 [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 14:26
1
This post received
KUDOS
If I could come back to IT as a CXO out of my MBA program, I probably would consider it. I'd even take Director. The reality is I'd probably came back into IT as a junior PM or maybe a test manager or analysis manager or something - and thats just not especially enticing.

The way I look at it - and the biggest thing that keeps me from coming back -- ... no matter what position you end up in IT, with maybe the exception of CTO, you are reactionary not visionary.

Your job is always aligned with the decision someone else made. You might be a decision maker within your area, but you are never truly strategic. You are never on the front lines, defining company direction. You never get to vision a direction for the firm, you merely implement someone else's vision. Your projects, your existence, your entire line of work is, and will always be, a support role. The only exception to this is obviously a firm like microsoft, oracle, etc - firms where the software is the product. Everywhere else - banks, consulting firms, law firms, consumer product companies, ad agencies, marketing firms, steel manufacturing plants, dance studios, restaurants, government, healthcare, - whatever - IT is always secondary. It is always the bastard child to the true decision makers.

A professor at Georgetown once said to me when I was 16 - "You want to be the guy telling them what to do, not the guy doing it." - And that, is fundamentally, the difference between a senior level position in business and a senior level position in IT.
Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 16 Aug 2006
Posts: 14
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0

 [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 14:41
rhyme wrote:
The only exception to this is obviously a firm like microsoft, oracle, etc - firms where the software is the product. Everywhere else - banks, consulting firms, law firms, consumer product companies, ad agencies, marketing firms, steel manufacturing plants, dance studios, restaurants, government, healthcare, - whatever - IT is always secondary. It is always the bastard child to the true decision makers.


I would say that even at the high-tech companies, an engineer's role is not very strategic. PM's typically decide what goes into the product and they just work with eng. to make sure the schedules they give to sales and marketing are realistic. Unless you are talking about a consumer grade product, an engineer would have no clue as to what the customers actually want and, to a lesser degree, what features would give a product a competitive edge. This is mostly true even for consumer products, as engineers have a skewed perception of what a 'good' feature is... if it were left up to them, all the excel macros would have to be entered in RPN. Well maybe not, but you get the idea.
GMAT Club Legend
GMAT Club Legend
avatar
Affiliations: HHonors Diamond, BGS Honor Society
Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Posts: 5925
Schools: Chicago (Booth) - Class of 2009
GMAT 1: 730 Q45 V45
WE: Business Development (Consumer Products)
Followers: 255

Kudos [?]: 1540 [0], given: 7

GMAT Tests User Premium Member
 [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 15:02
gmat_newb wrote:
rhyme wrote:
The only exception to this is obviously a firm like microsoft, oracle, etc - firms where the software is the product. Everywhere else - banks, consulting firms, law firms, consumer product companies, ad agencies, marketing firms, steel manufacturing plants, dance studios, restaurants, government, healthcare, - whatever - IT is always secondary. It is always the bastard child to the true decision makers.


I would say that even at the high-tech companies, an engineer's role is not very strategic. PM's typically decide what goes into the product and they just work with eng. to make sure the schedules they give to sales and marketing are realistic. Unless you are talking about a consumer grade product, an engineer would have no clue as to what the customers actually want and, to a lesser degree, what features would give a product a competitive edge. This is mostly true even for consumer products, as engineers have a skewed perception of what a 'good' feature is... if it were left up to them, all the excel macros would have to be entered in RPN. Well maybe not, but you get the idea.


I wasn't thinking engineer. An engineer's role is never truly strategic - not at the level I'm talking about. It's too low of a position.

I was thinking that a CTO of a firm like, say, Microsoft, will get to make strategic decisions related to the companies overall strategy and direction - because technology IS the core of the firm... but that a CTO of a bank or law firm or architecture firm or whatever (that is, the other 90% of companies) - never truly gets the opportunity to vision for the firm - not in the same way that someone on a business end would. In that respect, a senior level person at a tech firm might get to be strategic, but one at a business focused firm would always, to some extent, be locked out, at least IMHO.
Senior Manager
Senior Manager
User avatar
Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 440
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 9 [0], given: 0

GMAT Tests User
 [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 15:19
Well from what I read, the Ibanker position isn't all glamorous in terms of innovative thinking and strategy design either. Sure IT is considered an expense to business, but today's day and age the roles of technology officer and investment manager are blending. The partner who joined our firm recently, ran a hedge fund manned by a staff in single digits - mostly automated stat arb strategies that he could monitor and manage from his yacht for example - because he is tech savvy and hands on type of manager.
So my short term goals are quant research analyst. Sure, I am going to have leeway in direction where I take my research initiatives, but I expect it to be a pretty grueling job. Even as a portfolio manager, yes you make investment decisions, but you're not running the show.

At the same time people always talk about a rift in various levels of understanding between business decision making and engineering departments inside a company. Wouldn't an MBA/Engineer breed of graduates help the company improve the workflow and cut costs in some sense.

I'm not putting this very eloquently, I am just suprised by the limited number of career alternatives for short-term MBA careers.
Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 12 Nov 2006
Posts: 32
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0

 [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 16:09
We are using the term IT in a very general way. IT for finance/consumer/manufacturing firms needs diff level of technical depth than for really high tech firms - Microsoft, Intel, Yahoo, Google, Cisco etc. I was not even aware if non high-tech firms have CTO roles (thought more like VP of IT etc etc). CXO kind of implies strategic role.

CTO roles at hi-tech companies are very strategic and one typically needs a PHD or needs to be a tech visionary for such roles. VP of Engineering is mostly about execution in all companies so Rhyme is right here that in non high-tech companies, senior IT management positions are not very strategic. But that is true even for high-tech companies.

I was talking to a few MBAs from ultra elite b-schools who are doing corporate strategy at high-tech firms and they said that the real power lay with product managers who made money for the hi-tech companies through their product lines. High-tech firms hiring MBAs for strategy is a relatively new phenomena and it is not clear if it is a viable career path for MBAs in the long term. The level of technical depth needed for product marketing/strategy at high-tech firms usually means that engineers/architects with several years of experience are usually given preference over MBAs. When MBAs are hired for product marketing, a very strong technical background is usually needed.

For such MBAs product line ownership roles in business development is the next step leading up to CEO kind of role.
Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 12 Nov 2006
Posts: 32
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0

 [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 16:35
A thought about strategic vs tactical role for high-tech companies:

I dont believe the distinction between strategic and tactical is as straightforward in high-tech companies as many of us believe. For any high-tech firm, strategy is usually only the 5% of the effort and execution is the remaining 95%. Execution is also where most of the failures happen. In high-tech companies (from personal experience), as most of the development work involves humans and not machines, challenges to good execution are immense and strategy involves more than coming up with some slides on which plant to use for production, which plant to close and whether to increase capacity or decrease.

An engineer may come up with an idea which could turn in to a strategic competitive advantage in a product. VP of engineering may come up with a strategy on implementing innovative processes which streamline the development work for increased productivity so that it adds to the bottomline of the company.

I may not have articulated my thoughts well, but the point i am trying to make is that since hi-tech industry is human capital intensive, it has different challenges. To tackle those challenges, strategic thinking is needed at all levels.
Manager
Manager
avatar
Joined: 04 Nov 2006
Posts: 159
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 6 [0], given: 0

GMAT Tests User
 [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2007, 17:26
rhyme wrote:
If I could come back to IT as a CXO out of my MBA program, I probably would consider it. I'd even take Director. The reality is I'd probably came back into IT as a junior PM or maybe a test manager or analysis manager or something - and thats just not especially enticing.

The way I look at it - and the biggest thing that keeps me from coming back -- ... no matter what position you end up in IT, with maybe the exception of CTO, you are reactionary not visionary.

Your job is always aligned with the decision someone else made. You might be a decision maker within your area, but you are never truly strategic. You are never on the front lines, defining company direction. You never get to vision a direction for the firm, you merely implement someone else's vision. Your projects, your existence, your entire line of work is, and will always be, a support role. The only exception to this is obviously a firm like microsoft, oracle, etc - firms where the software is the product. Everywhere else - banks, consulting firms, law firms, consumer product companies, ad agencies, marketing firms, steel manufacturing plants, dance studios, restaurants, government, healthcare, - whatever - IT is always secondary. It is always the bastard child to the true decision makers.

A professor at Georgetown once said to me when I was 16 - "You want to be the guy telling them what to do, not the guy doing it." - And that, is fundamentally, the difference between a senior level position in business and a senior level position in IT.


I don't have much to add to this thread except to say that Rhyme's post is a fantastic explanation of IT's role in most businesses, and really explains why the majority of IT professionals pursuing MBAs want to switch out.
Manager
Manager
avatar
Joined: 08 Sep 2006
Posts: 123
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0

 [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2007, 03:20
This is an excellent discussion and the topic is very dear to me.
I've been in IT for almost 10 years now and trying to figure out what I want to do next. I love IT and if I do go for MBA I intend to stick to the IT field after my MBA.
I do agree that in a lot of firms where IT is not the core competency, IT is relegated to the role of support. The business sets the vision/direction/strategy and IT implements it.
However over the last decade or so with the important role that IT is playing in the operations of a company, the role of a CIO/IT management in defining the strategic vision of a company has increased. There are a lot of companies where IT plays a very important role. Take companies like Amazon.com. You cannot define amazon.com as an IT firm, yet IT is definitely one of the most critical part of their operations. The same is true for an online brokerage firm like Ameritrade.
Another example would be firms in retail and those where logistics play an important part. Companies like Walmart, Fedex and UPS make massive investments in technology. Technological capabilities determine decisions related to inventory/supplies etc.
Moreover the ability to define strategy is but one skill in an MBAs portfolio. Other very important and relevant skills are people management and team building. In projects involving for example a SAP implementation at a big company, investments are of the order of millions and there are diverse teams that need to be managed. While an MBA is not a requirement to get the role to manage such huge implementations, the people and organizational skills learnt during an MBA can make a huge difference.
So I feel that an MBA is very relevant for an engineer seeking to enhance an IT career.
Current Student
User avatar
Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 5252
Followers: 23

Kudos [?]: 130 [0], given: 0

GMAT Tests User Reviews Badge
 [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2007, 06:48
I hate to be the one pointing out the obvious and doing so with simple one liners, but the fact is no matter which career path you take, whether it be based on intrinsic or extrinsic motivational factors, you will always be kissing somebody's a$$. If it isn't a supervisor's, then it'll be a customer's. Find what you like to do and stick to it, the money will come later...
  [#permalink] 22 Mar 2007, 06:48
    Similar topics Author Replies Last post
Similar
Topics:
MBA stunn3r 0 27 Mar 2014, 00:19
Experts publish their posts in the topic MBA?? sg33 1 24 Aug 2013, 16:42
Experts publish their posts in the topic MBA in IT geturnithin 2 02 Dec 2012, 02:25
1 MBA or NO MBA? PranavChamp 1 26 Aug 2010, 08:00
Exec MBA or MBA? lepium 4 11 Dec 2006, 22:38
Display posts from previous: Sort by

IT + MBA

  Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  


GMAT Club MBA Forum Home| About| Privacy Policy| Terms and Conditions| GMAT Club Rules| Contact| Sitemap

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group and phpBB SEO

Kindly note that the GMAT® test is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council®, and this site has neither been reviewed nor endorsed by GMAC®.