Integrating an IT or tech background with business can be a sweet combination. Technology is a key component of the business world today. MBA careers in the IT industry are leading digital transformations and technology is considered a key strategic differentiator for some of the world's top companies.
Top tech firms like Apple and Google are some of the most sought after career paths in the MBA Jobs world. A career in the IT industry is exciting, fast-paced and ever-evolving - and not one limited to just those with technology-related backgrounds.
Gone are the days when IT and business were two separate entities. IT employers are seeking the skills of business leaders; management, team leadership, budgeting and resources are all key components for those seeking a digital career.
IT-background MBAs can enjoy business strategy roles, among others, across a wide variety of industries. After b-school, opportunities to break into the industry are vast. Microsoft, a global leader in the IT world, has over 1,800 people enrolled in its graduate scheme worldwide.
Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management that offers IT leadership careers, has recruited almost 700 fresh graduates of 67 different nationalities through their international recruitment programme since 2001.
International exposure and diversity are some of the main benefits of studying at b-school, and an IT-related career can be an extremely international one.
Some of the best business schools in the world offer specialist options for IT Management, and IT and technology are disciplines increasingly married with business administration. Julien Levet is one such b-school grad that has merged the two.
He has been working in the IT industry since the height of the financial crisis in 2008 and, five years down the line, has excelled in his career after studying at Grenoble Ecole De Management in France and, later, Singapore.
He thinks that b-school can help you launch a career in the IT and technology industries because MBA programs tick the list of what the big companies are looking for. There is no doubt that it benefited him. “Business skills today, and especially the ones taught in MBA classes, are fitting what companies need for leading digital transformations,” he said.
“We need not just general management skills, but people should be able to manage teams, budgets and resources. It’s not just about a technical background, but the way we work together and collaborate.”
Julien is an IPO Collaboration & Digitization Team Leader at Schneider in Hong Kong – one of the best companies in the industry. He entered the organization back in 2009 based in the US, and after picking up a BA in Management/Business from Grenoble, has risen through the ranks.
His career with Schneider has taken him to Bejing, Rhode Island and now Hong Kong – but he initially got the job through the connections he made at French-based business school. “We have a lot of professionals coming into the school and I was lucky enough to meet the CIO of APC, which was later acquired by Schneider, who was a part-time teacher at Grenoble,” Julien said.
“Grenoble has a strong partnership with Schneider, and that helped me to get that one-year job in the US.” The financial crisis made it difficult to bank a job in America, but after a difficult interview process, the company snapped him up - wanting more business orientated backgrounds in their IT department.
Julien credits the international exposure you get at b-school for helping him further his IT career. “I was in France for twenty-one years and coming to Singapore was great as a personal experience, and on the professional side it gave me a gate into the Asian jobs market,” he said.
“Grenoble is very good for international exposure. My experience gave me that multicultural aspect, which is key for me, when working with people from all over the globe.”
The IT and technology industries arae on the rise. As businesses enjoy renewed growth and global economies are seemingly on a path to prosperity, MBA Jobs have increased in demand and pay. According to a recent survey by QS Top MBA, employers hired 14 per cent more MBAs this year than in 2012, and in the Asia Pacific region, salaries increased by 8 per cent.
In the US, middle-management roles in the IT industry brought salaries as high as $115,000 in 2012, according to a seperate survey. B-school graduates seeking senior management roles can enjoy a pay-packet of over $140,000, with bonuses breaking the $25,000 mark.
Aiyeshwariya Sekar, an AGSM MBA graduate with four years of experience as an IT consultant, says that IT and tech background graduates can benefit business in different industries. “IT is definitely a key strategic component for businesses in all industries,” she said.
“If a business is not adopting IT as a part of their growth strategy, they are unlikely to have a sustainable advantage over their competitors, and this will eventually be detrimental for them. It is slowly moving from a 'nice to have' to more of a 'must have'.”
After graduating from her MBA program in 2009 and landing a job with Tata Consultancy Services in Sydney, Aish thinks b-school can enhance IT and tech careers. “Business school will be of benefit to those who want to get into the management side of the IT business or on the business analysis side,” she added.
“It also helps you progress into a managerial position faster than colleagues who do not have an MBA.”
For Julien, that was certainly the case. Now in a leadership role at Schneider, he says that his business Masters “personally gave me the required background to reach a higher position in my organization”.
He agrees that many employees with IT and tech backgrounds feel the need to diversify into business. “I have always been fascinated by technology and I found out that today, it is definitely people with businesses backgrounds that are in this industry,” he said.
“We are constantly managing digital transformations and to be successful in that you need a mix of tech and businesses orientated resources. Technology can give companies the opportunities to transform business.
“At Schneider, we are managing major IT projects; ultimately trying to transform the business.
“I do believe that IT today needs a mix of people with tech and business backgrounds.”
His assessment is hard to argue with. With IT and technology backgrounds in demand, and MBA salaries on the rise, it looks like a sweet combination.
As these graduates have shown, b-school could be the key to unlocking that path.