You may not think of an MBA as a tech-related degree, but advanced business training can lead to several possible tech careers. Here, we explain how to get into tech after your MBA with the right choices and preparation.
According to the Graduate Management Admission Council's (GMAC) 2020 Corporate Recruiters Survey, the technology industry is one of the three largest employers of MBA graduates.
In 2020, approximately 83% of tech employers expressed confidence that MBA graduates' skills would make them successful employees.
Transferable skills from an MBA to tech
While certain MBA concentrations lend themselves better to tech, such as an information systems MBA, most MBA graduates possess useful skills for a tech career. MBA students receive leadership training, data-driven technology expertise, and extensive business operations knowledge.
Graduates also develop and hone applicable people skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. The GMAC survey found that employers value MBA graduates' communication skills, versatile skillsets, and strategic thinking most highly.
Technical roles available to MBA graduates in tech
These careers may require tech, math, and programming know-how. Your specific education, skills, and experience will determine your eligibility.
Computer and information systems manager
Minimum degree required: Bachelor's Alternate job titles: Chief information officers, IT directors, IT security managers Important characteristics:
Leaders with organizational and decision-making skills
Good communicators with business knowledge
Critical thinkers with analytical skills
Problem-solvers with technical expertise
Computer and information systems managers oversee technology and computer-related activities within an organization. They look for new technology, upgrades, and cost-saving opportunities. These managers help the organization meet its goals using computers and information systems.
Strong understanding of economics and analytical software
Market research analysts help organizations better understand clients, consumers, and markets. They study demographics, market conditions, competition, and consumer behaviors. They also analyze marketing effectiveness, pricing strategies, and future trend predictions.
Problem-solvers with analytical and quantitative analysis skills
Good communicators with writing and math skills
Critical thinkers with reasoning abilities
Operations research analysts use mathematics and data to help organizations improve their decision-making abilities. They collect information from various sources to better understand problems and develop solutions. These analysts use computer software and models to create simulations and predictions.
Non-technical roles available to MBA graduates in tech
MBA graduates can also enter the tech world through more traditional business paths. These positions may require additional training or experience.
Empathetic decision-makers who understand labor and safety laws
Human resources managers handle administrative tasks and connect an organization's management with employees. They may manage labor relations, health and safety protocols, and staffing. These managers may also apply mediation and conflict resolution techniques from their human resources MBA.
Minimum degree required: Bachelor's Alternate job titles: Product director, program manager, project management specialist Important characteristics:
Strong leaders who are detail-oriented and organized
Critical thinkers with excellent reading comprehension and communication skills
Problem-solvers with time-management and coordination skills
Project managers handle large teams and assignments, including design, development, and implementation. They oversee budgeting, monitor progress and performances, and provide solutions to emerging issues. Project managers may work closely with staff, management, and stakeholders.
Critical thinkers with accounting and finance expertise
Strong communicators who are detail-oriented and organized
Analytical with excellent math skills
Accountants manage an organization's financial records, ensuring accuracy and adherence to laws and regulations. They handle taxes, produce reports based on their financial analysis, and assist with budgeting. Accountants may look for financial irregularities, inefficiencies, and opportunities.
Tips for how to get into tech after an MBA
Your preparation for the tech field should begin before you complete your degree. The following tips can help position you to make the most of your training and appeal to tech employers.
1. Get clear on the type of tech role you want.
You can find tech careers in most industries these days, so you need to think about where you want to land. Think about your ideal company size and stage of development. That may influence the training, experience, and skills you emphasize in your professional development.
You might also settle on a preferred company by considering what industry you want, the work-life balance you need, and your desired salary and responsibilities.
In certain organizations and high-level positions, such as C-level management consultant roles, candidates may need a DBA or an advanced technology degree to qualify.
3. Maximize the quality of your application and portfolio.
Highlight what makes you, your training, and your experience special. Focus on your advanced education in leadership, communication, networking, and strategic thinking. Use your cover letter to give specific examples and experiences applying these skills.
Though not all roles require a portfolio as part of the application, they're more common among tech roles. MBA students with coding experience should learn how to build a coding portfolio. Use practical examples that highlight your skills' versatility. You can build your own portfolio webpage or use an existing online portfolio platform.
4. Show your expertise, self-awareness, and passion throughout the interview process.
Tech interviews can look quite different from traditional business interviews. Employers must assess specific tech skills needed for the role.
The process begins with a phone or online screener that gauges the applicant's interest and qualifications.
The second interview usually involves a coding or technical assignment to assess the applicant's abilities. The final interview is typically in person and may involve technical challenges that candidates need to complete under supervision.
An MBA provides opportunities to enter the tech field for students and business professionals hoping to switch careers to tech. Your MBA can equip you with transferable skills to pursue tech-specific and interdisciplinary careers, using both your business and technical expertise.
Sarah Holliday has years of experience working with nontraditional and traditional-aged students in various areas related to career coaching and training and development. Holliday holds a BA in English from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and an MS in instructional design and technology (training and performance improvement) from Walden University. Holliday is currently working on her doctorate and looks forward to dissertating in the near future.
Sarah Holliday is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network.