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The Online MBA in Technology Management Explained

Technology Management

Technology has never had more of an impact on business than it does today. Engineers and IT professionals are the lifeblood of companies big and small, responsible for everything from communication and security to data and dollars. Think about it. Could you get through the day without your laptop, mobile apps, and WiFi? While most technology professionals are great at connecting all the right plugs -- so to speak -- to make these modern inventions work, they often lack the formal training necessary to manage divisions and organizations.

That's what leads many of them to pursue an MBA. Certainly, some end up studying general management. But more often, those who aspire to management positions in the technology sector want a specialized degree. They also seek out programs that will have them networking with fellow technology professionals, who know their language and can discuss servers, code, apps, and all the rest. Since they simply want to enhance the career they already have, these professionals often consider online programs that allow them to work and study at the same time.

What is an MBA in technology management?

An MBA in technology management is no different than any other, really. Students learn about core subjects, such as operations, finance, and marketing. There's an emphasis on leadership, which is particularly important in this program because those are the skills that many engineers and IT professionals are lacking. Usually, many of the case studies, some of the professors, and guest lecturers come from the technology sector. That's where the specialization comes into play. Courses topics may include managing change brought about because of new technology, overseeing innovation, and using technology to help companies perform better and become more efficient.

Universities have different ways for delivering this education. Some offer part- or full-time brick-and-mortar programs that have students and professors interacting in a classroom. Others offer online programs that have students viewing lectures, getting assignments, and communicating with professors and classmates via virtual education platforms. Some schools even offer a combination of the two. Still, since many students who enter such a specialized MBA program already have experience in the field and simply want to make themselves better candidates for promotion (as opposed to changing careers), online options appear to be more plentiful, according to a Google search of "Technology Management MBAs."

Online programs typically allow students to continue working full-time, while completing projects, assignments, and lectures at their own pace. In other words, you could take courses in your living room, wearing your pajamas, at two in the morning, if that's what works for you.

Often, graduates seek management roles in technology organizations or IT departments at more traditional companies or as consultants with a technology focus. The goal of educators in these programs is to help students leave school with both technical and soft skills than can help organizations oversee and manage innovation.

Who is a good fit for this program?

If you have the chance to observe a technology management MBA program, you'll realize that most of the students have experience as engineers or IT specialists. These are the guys who create software, fix your hardware, and do all the other stuff that keep us connected 24/7. People with these kinds of skills, who want to become managers or aspire to the C-suite, make good candidates for this niche MBA program. Some of them have already been asked to take on leadership roles or assess budgets to determine the value of investing in a particular technology, but were lacking the technical skills that one can pick up in business school. This program is great for people who are looking to fill such gaps in learning.

IT Manager

What are the admissions requirements?

Most programs require applicants display a certain level of work experience in the technology sector and explain how this degree can help them progress in their careers. Some require standardized test scores, such as the GMAT. Often, applicants must submit recommendation letters from their superiors on the job.

Ultimately, technology management MBA programs are the same as any other, but geared toward the kinds of people who actually know what those error messages your computer spits at you mean (and can fix them). The goal of most of these MBA programs is to help technology professionals combine their practical skills -- creating software, writing code, building apps, etc. -- with the soft skills of a leader and the quant know-how of a businessperson.