Technology is everywhere these days—and careers revolving around technology are the focus at many MBA programs around the United States. While a general management MBA will always help you build strong management and business skills, if you are looking to pivot specifically into technology, there are programs designed to help you get there. All tech MBA programs are also STEM designated to ensure that international applicants can qualify for two additional years of working in the United States through Optional Practical Training.
Think about whether your goals revolve around technology. Are you looking to gain experience at an established FAANG-type company? Or to work at a smaller, more focused company in, say, healthtech or fintech? Or even to start your own tech company? Tech MBAs were developed to create strong pipelines from business schools to technology companies. Urban legend has it that students would leave their MBA program to do an internship, and companies wouldn’t want them to leave at the end of the summer. So schools worked with tech companies to design programs that would help students get the skills they needed to be successful, and now, tech companies have a pipeline of great talent that can join them for full-time roles, not just internships.
Consider your experience to date and whether you can show that technology has been a consistent part of your journey. Did you study engineering or computer science in undergrad? Have you gained coding or data-analysis skills at work? While most tech MBAs don’t require you to have a technology background, they will look for strong evidence of your interest in technology. At New York University (NYU), engineers make up almost 40% of the incoming tech MBA class, versus 23% of the traditional two-year MBA class—and close to 90% of tech MBA students have experience at a technology company.
When planning how to pivot into technology, you can consider three options: a tech MBA, a master’s in technology management or engineering management, or a joint MBA/MS or MBA/MEng program.
1. Tech MBAs
NYU’s Andre Koo Tech MBA is a one-year MBA program that starts in May in New York City (NYC). The program is built around four major components: business core, technology core, Stern Solutions (experiential learning), and electives. Through Stern Solutions, you work with peers, faculty, and industry-leading companies to solve business challenges across NYC and the tech industry. Tech students participate in the Ignite career-planning program.
The Cornell Tech MBA is a one-year program that starts with a 14-week summer semester on Cornell’s Ithaca campus, where students take their core business courses with students from Cornell’s general MBA program. In the final two 14-week semesters, based at Cornell Tech in NYC, tech MBA students participate in experiential learning opportunities such as Studio—including Product Studio in the fall and Startup Studio, BigCo Studio, or PiTech Studio in the spring. In addition, students can take part in NYC intensives such as Finance Technology or Digital Marketing. The Cornell Tech MBA program expects you to have multiple years of experience in the tech industry.
2. Master’s Programs in Technology Management or Engineering Management
While a tech MBA can be a great option for someone who is looking for a one-year experience and does not need a traditional internship, another option to consider is a technology management or engineering management degree.
Stanford University’s MS in Management Science and Engineering is typically an 18-month program but can be completed in a single academic year. Students need to complete a multivariable differential calculus course and a general programming course before starting the program. It focuses on both technical and behavioral challenges in running a business.
Columbia University’s MS in Technology Management is a one-year program through the School of Professional Studies in NYC. It is geared toward new tech professionals and recent grads with the business skills necessary to become leaders in technology. You can use this degree to either switch to or advance in a career in technology, and a technology-based undergrad degree is not required.
Duke University’s Master of Engineering Management is a one-year program on campus designed for students with fewer than five years of work experience. The degree includes both technical and business courses, along with an internship, and is designed for those with a technology-based undergraduate degree and career.
3. Joint MBA/MS or MBA/MEng Programs
For those who are looking to earn both an engineering degree and a business degree in the time it would normally take to complete just one or the other, here are a couple of programs to consider:
UC Berkeley’s MBA/MEng is a two-year degree for those with a BS in a technical field. It was designed to help build leaders who have both technical skills and business acumen. Students participate in both programs through an interdisciplinary project.
Harvard Business Schools MS/MBA: Engineering Sciences program is geared toward aspiring entrepreneurs. It spans four semesters over two years, plus a summer term and a January term. It was designed to train future technology leaders in both management and innovation.
There are many ways to pivot to or continue to build a career in technology—so good luck on your journey!