As breakthrough technologies continue to emerge, business leaders are constantly dealing with new challenges and opportunities. In addition to imparting broad business acumen, many MBA programs are focusing on how to prepare the future technology business leaders of the world by adding tech-specific elements to their educations. If you’re considering a future career that leverages disruptive technology (think robotics, artificial intelligence/machine learning, quantum computing, and human-computer interaction), then consider the following programs. Note that we’ve intentionally addressed blockchain and crypto-related resources in a separate blog post.
The best place to start your search is by looking at “tech MBAs.” These programs are designed for individuals who want comprehensive classroom and experiential learning opportunities in both business and tech:
- NYU Stern’s Andre Koo Tech MBA – This 12-month program (May to May) is STEM designated with a strong business and technology balance and also integrates experiential learning to solve real-world challenges. Tech-specific courses include “Emerging Technologies” and “Foundations of Networks and Mobile Systems.”
- Kellogg MBAi – Preparing leaders in technical operations, product management, product marketing, and consulting, this newly launched program boasts class offerings such as “Computational Thinking for Business Leaders,” “Artificial Intelligence Theory and Practice,” “Machine Learning for Business,” “Human Computer Interaction and Design Thinking,” “Synthetic Biology,” “Robotics,” and “Natural Language Processing.”
- Cornell Johnson Tech MBA – This STEM-designated tech MBA is a one-year, full-time residential program. After 13 intensive weeks in Ithaca, NY, students shift to the Cornell Tech campus in New York City and mix hands-on learning with class-based work. Student also have the option of participating in treks.While we’re on the topic of Cornell Johnson, the school’s two-year MBA program also offers abundant opportunities for learning and gaining experience with disruptive technologies. The Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Technology Product Management areas of focus include ample courses on disruptive technologies.
- Washington Foster Technology Management MBA (TMMBA) – This 18-month program is an accelerated path for working professionals. Plus, the school is based in Seattle, a hub for emerging tech and tech giants.
In addition to the tech MBAs listed here, most traditional MBA programs involve some element of technology leadership preparation in their student experience. For example, almost every program has student-led tech clubs, while some offer tech-focused treks, events, and competitions. To focus more on disruptive and emerging technologies (not traditional technology, operational tech, etc.), the following programs have gone a step further with their curriculum, resources, and program elements:
- Carnegie Mellon – Tepper – The school’s entire full-time program is STEM designated. Students can leverage cross-campus academic experiences with other areas of Carnegie Mellon, including the School of Computer Science and the Software Engineering Institute. The Technology Strategy and Product Management track involves courses that deal with human-computer interaction, machine learning, the Internet of Things, blockchain, digital transformation, and the future of work technologies.
- MIT Sloan – “MIT Sloan is about invention,” declares the school’s site, and the program qualifies as STEM designated. While the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Track is not solely for technology-focused students, it includes the foundational course “Introduction to Technological Innovation” and the tech transformation course “Revolutionary Ventures.” There are also experiential learning opportunities such as the Silicon Valley Study Tour. Rest assured, MIT lives up to its name (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) with a strong curriculum to help its students prepare as leaders on the cutting edge.
- UT Austin McCombs – Fourteen of the school’s 22 full-time MBA concentrations are STEM certified, including High Tech Marketing (with the course “Marketing High-Tech Products”) and CleanTech. In addition, several centers and initiatives stand at the intersection of business and tech, including the Blockchain Initiative and the Center for Analytics and Transformative Technologies.
- University of Chicago Booth School of Business – The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation offers multiple experiential learning opportunities. The Fab Lab, for example, has 2D and 3D design workshops and materials for prototyping. Forming partnerships with the broader University of Chicago’s deep technical expertise, this is the place to get your hands dirty and change the world with breakthrough technologies. The Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence is where transformative AI projects incubate, and the center organizes multiple events and posts opportunities to engage. Booth continues to build its emerging technology footprint and recently launched the nation’s first quantum startup accelerator (Duality).
- Dartmouth Tuck – Students looking at careers in tech should start with the Glassmeyer/McNamee Center for Digital Strategies, which has robust expertise in several tech-focused areas, including technology and innovation, digital business models, digital society, and enterprise transformation. There are ample learning opportunities and programming for the MBA community, including MBA Fellows and Associates.
- Michigan Ross – With courses such as “A Brief Introduction to Computing Technologies: Crypto, AI, Quantum” and a small (compared to San Francisco, at least) but mighty local tech scene, aspiring tech leaders will find fantastic opportunities in Ann Arbor. While Ross has multiple tech clubs, one in particular stands out: FitX, which focuses on “the intersection of fitness, health, wellness, innovation and technology.”
- University of Pennsylvania Wharton – A highlight experience for Wharton students aspiring to pursue emerging tech is the Semester in San Francisco, which tends to be focused on entrepreneurship and technology. Courses such as “AI in Business” and “Enabling Technologies” keep Wharton students on the leading edge. Also, many students undertake internships in Silicon Valley and enjoy career treks and site visits with companies in emerging technology.
- Harvard Business School – Of course, HBS is preparing the tech leaders of tomorrow. Courses such as “2032: 5 Technologies That Will Reshape the World in the Next Decade” and “Digital Innovation and Transformation” are great classroom experiences. Meanwhile, the Digital Initiative is a research-fueled engagement community that is focusing on multiple topics relating to how technology impacts the world.
Expect to see more schools introduce and evolve their programs with more emerging technology, and as you research your school options, talk to tech club members to learn how they’ve maintained a pulse on emerging technologies on campus.