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6 MBA Programs to Launch Your Career in the High Tech Industry

High Tech MBAs

Written by Molly Ellison. Photo courtesy of Christiaan Colen via Flickr.

What began with a few computer wizzes in garages and dorm rooms has grown into one of the world’s largest – and most pervasive – industries. The technology sector, led by Silicon Valley evangelists and the like, has transformed the way we do nearly everything. So, it’s no surprise that as the industry’s employment numbers continue to boom top b-schools are sending grads to companies like Amazon and Google in droves. And, the Bay Area is no longer the only place where you can land a job. Opportunities are popping up across the U.S. and MBAs offer a skillset that leading tech firms are looking for. So, what are you waiting for?

It’s hard to find a more trendy and financially lucrative industry than high tech. In the U.S., the sector grew by 2% from 2016 to 2017, and its average salary is more than double the national average across all industries. Cities outside of the bay area also experienced significant job growth in the sector in 2017, including Austin, Seattle, Denver, and Charlotte.

It’s easy to blur the lines between the best MBA programs for high tech versus entrepreneurship as there is certainly overlap in careers. But, the two paths require different skillsets. This guide is for those who want to work for already-established tech companies like Amazon or IBM, rather than those hoping to launch their own endeavors.

We emphasize employability, so all our schools boast impressive industry employment stats. The University of Washington’s Foster MBA takes the cake with more than 1/2 of its grads entering the industry. We also only included programs that offer a track or specialized degree in technology. These targeted curricula give students a foundation that will help them thrive in the tech industry.

Our list only includes schools in the U.S. because of the industry’s strong foothold in the country. Leading employers such as Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have offices in several American cities and were all founded in the country. There are international programs that send grads to successful careers in the industry, but the U.S. schools we’ve featured show exceptional results.

 

The Best Full-Time MBA Programs for a Career in High Tech

Foster MBA Logo

University of Washington – Seattle, Foster School of Business (Foster) – Touch MBA Interview

Seattle, Washington, United States

Seattle is known for its grunge scene, stunning mountain scenery, and for being the birthplace of two of the most well-known tech giants, Microsoft and Amazon. It’s still one of the leading U.S. cities in the tech industry, so it’s no surprise that more than half of Foster MBAs pursue careers in the sector. In addition to offering a robust full-time MBA program, the school has a Technology Management MBA geared toward established professionals in the field.

Technology in the Classroom

Full-time MBA students can take electives including “Software entrepreneurship,” “Technology Commercialization,” and “Data-driven Marketing.”

Do you already have some experience working in the industry, but are looking for something to set you apart from your peers? If so, Foster’s accelerated 18-month Technology Management MBA may be for you. Nearly 80% of the Class of 2019 already work for tech companies and average 11 years of work experience.

Technology Outside the Classroom

Foster’s mentorship program connects MBAs with established professionals who can help them navigate the competitive tech industry. Students can also join industry-focused clubs like Foster Tech and the Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Club.

Where Do Grads End Up?

More than half – 52% – of the Class of 2017 landed jobs in the industry. Nearly all – 86% – stayed in the Seattle area, too. Top hiring companies in 2015 and 2016 include Amazon, Dell Inc., Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce.

Technology in Practice: A Foster MBA’s Success Story

Earl Kim, MBA ‘17, spent eight years in the U.S. military before going to business school. After connecting with Microsoft through on-campus recruiting activities, he landed an internship with the company. He launched his post-MBA career as a Finance Manager with the company.

 


McCombs MBA Logo

The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business (Texas) – Touch MBA Interview

Austin, Texas, United States

In recent years, Austin has been on the rise. Not only is it a live-music mecca and home to one of the largest festival scenes in the country, but it’s also a booming tech hub. In 2017, Forbes ranked the Southwestern city third in the country for tech job openings. Amazon, Google, and Facebook all have offices in Austin, in addition to the slew of start-ups that have set up shop in recent years. The Texas MBA offers multiple concentrations in the field and a host of electives to prep students for high-tech careers.

Technology in the Classroom

Of the 23 MBA concentrations Texas offers, four are related to the tech industry: High Tech Marketing, Marketing Analytics and Consulting, Business Analytics, and Information Management. Students can choose from a robust lineup of electives, ranging from “Data Analytics and Dynamic Pricing,” to “Data Mining for Business Intelligence,” to “Marketing High-Tech Products.”

Technology Outside the Classroom

MBA students can join clubs like the Graduate Business Technology Group. Through its Global Connections program, students visited tech companies in Southeast Asia in 2017. MBA candidates can also go on Career Treks in the U.S. to visit companies.

Where Do Grads End Up?

One-third of the Class of 2016 landed jobs in the tech industry. About two-thirds – 63% – stayed in the Southwest post-grad.

Technology in Practice: A Texas MBA’s Success Story

Kyla King, MBA ‘13, worked in healthcare before coming to Texas for her MBA. Post-grad, she landed a job at Cisco Systems and is now Manager of Business Development at AppDynamics.

 


Berkeley Haas Logo

The University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business (Berkeley Haas)

Berkeley, California, United States

Berkeley Haas is only a stone’s throw away from the tech industry’s mecca – Silicon Valley. More than one-third of its MBA grads land jobs in the industry with employers including Adobe, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. The b-school complements its robust technology concentration with co-curricular offerings that tap into the extensive (and accomplished) Berkeley Haas network.

Technology in the Classroom

Berkeley Haas offers a Technology area of emphasis for MBAs. Elective offerings include “International Trade and Competition in High Technology,” “High Technology Marketing Management,” and “Strategy for the Information Technology Firm.”

Technology Outside the Classroom

The Berkeley Haas executive fellows are a group of well-known Silicon Valley leaders who visit campus, speak with students, and advise the b-school’s dean. Current fellows include Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, and Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist for Apple, among others.

The Haas@Work program gives students hands-on experience in the industry and introduces them to tech leaders. Students can also expand their networks through clubs like the Berkeley Haas Technology Club, Berkeley Digital Media and Entertainment Club, and Haas Innovation Design club.

Where Do Grads End Up?

Nearly 40% of recent grads landed jobs in the tech industry. Top employers for the Class of 2016 include Adobe, Amazon, Cisco, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

Technology in Practice: A Berkeley Haas MBA’s Success Story

Kate Benintende, MBA ‘15, used her Berkeley Haas MBA to transition into the tech industry. Post-grad, she landed a job as Senior Strategy Lead for Google at its Mountain View, California, headquarters.

 


Kellogg MBA Logo

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management (Kellogg) – Touch MBA Interview

Evanston, Illinois, United States

Though Chicago isn’t as much of a tech hotspot as some of the other cities on this list, Kellogg’s MBA program sent about one-quarter of its Class of 2017 into the industry. In addition to offering a Data Analytics pathway, students can pursue a dual Master’s in Design Innovation from the Segal Design Institute. Its interdisciplinary course offerings give students a dynamic education in the field.

Technology in the Classroom

Kellogg’s Data Analytics pathway gives MBAs an in-depth education in crunching big data for a variety of sectors. The curriculum includes courses such as “Human and Machine Intelligence” and “Programming for Analytics.”

The MBA program also offers special courses that give students hands-on experience in the tech industry. In its “Digital Marketing and Commerce” course, students build and operate online stores with mentorship from professionals at companies including Target, IBM, and Walgreens.

Technology Outside the Classroom

Students can join Kellogg clubs such as the Kellogg Tech Club, MMM, and the Kellogg Design Club.

Where Do Grads End Up?

Twenty-five percent of the Class of 2017 landed jobs in the tech industry. That’s more than double the rate for its Class of 2013, which shows that the school has strengthened its expertise in the field in recent years. Unlike many schools on our list, Kellogg grads spread out across the country post-grad. About one-third of recent grads stayed in the Midwest, while 17.4% went the Northeast and 17.4% moved the San Francisco Metro Area. Nearly 11% pursued careers abroad.

Technology in Practice: A Kellogg MBA’s Success Story

Westin Hatch, MBA ‘14, pursued Kellogg’s dual MBA-Master’s in Design Innovation after a career in product management. He knew that he had a passion for technology and he’s now Head of Service Operations at Qualtrics.

 


Scheller MBA Logo

Georgia Institute of Technology, Scheller College of Business (Georgia Tech) – Touch MBA Interview

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Though Atlanta hasn’t historically been known as a high-tech hub, such skills are in increasing demand in the southern city. Georgia Tech is situated in the city’s “Tech Square” neighborhood, so the campus is next to some of Atlanta’s top tech employers. Georgia Tech is also known far and wide for its engineering program, which gives the Scheller an unique advantage over more traditional business schools. The MBA program offers a concentration in Information Technology Management as well as a track in Leading Innovation. Nineteen percent of Georgia Tech’s Class of 2016 landed jobs in the tech industry.

Technology in the Classroom

The Information Technology Management concentration allows students to take courses including “Electronic Commerce,” “Business Intelligence and Analytics,” and “Emerging Technologies.”

The MBA program also offers immersive tracks that cover a range of niche tech topics. High-tech related ones include Technology Commercialization, Leading New Ventures, Innovating for Sustainability, Business Analytics, Computational Finance, Leading Digital Transformation, and Managing Technology Products.

Technology Outside the Classroom

Georgia Tech is located in the epicenter of Atlanta’s tech scene – fittingly dubbed “Tech Square.” Students are a stone’s throw away from startups, top companies, and innovation centers.

The Management Information Systems Club complements the Information Technology Management concentration.

Where Do Grads End Up?

Nineteen percent of the Class of 2016 pursued careers in the tech industry. Recent employers include Amazon, Cisco, Citrix, GE, IBM, LexisNexis, Microsoft, and VMware Airwatch.

Technology in Practice: A Georgia Tech MBA’s Success Story

Sarah Hsi, MBA ‘15, has pursued a tech career in the transit industry as Chief Information Officer of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. In this role, she managed all technology for the system, which has weekday ridership of more than 200,000.

 


Carnegie Mellon Tepper

Carnegie Mellon University – Tepper School of Business (Tepper) – Touch MBA Interview

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Carnegie Mellon University boasts a strong academic reputation, particularly in engineering. Tepper taps into this strength by offering a Technology Leadership MBA track as a partnership with the School of Computer Science. More than 1/3 of the Class of 2016 landed jobs in the tech industry. Though once a fading Rust Belt city, Pittsburgh’s tech scene has been on the rise in recent years with employment in the sector growing by 12% from 2015 to 2017.

Technology in the Classroom

The MBA program offers two tracks that can lead students to the high-tech sector – Technology Leadership and Business Analytics. The Technology Leadership track is ideal for those with engineering and programming backgrounds, as it’s a partnership with the renowned School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon. Courses include “Designing for the Internet of Things” and “Strategic Technology to Revitalize Business.”

Technology Outside the Classroom

Tepper offers a range of clubs, including the Business and Technology Club, the Data Analytics Club, the Design and Business Club, and Students at Tepper for Astronautics Rockets & Space (STARS).

The school also hosts the Tepper Tech Innovation Challenge, which allows students to apply “business techniques to products in emerging technologies.” Uber and Cisco were among the 2017 event’s sponsors.

Where Do Grads End Up?

In 2012, about 21% of Tepper MBAs landed jobs in the sector. In 2016, that number had jumped all the way to 33.5%. Recruiting partners in the tech industry include giants like Amazon, Apple, Expedia, and Google.

Technology in Practice: A Tepper MBA’s Success Story

Zachary Talmadge combined his love of working with people and his passion for the tech industry by landing a job at Microsoft post-MBA.

 

Honorable Mentions: Other High Tech MBA Programs to Consider

The following MBA programs were in our final consideration set. We think you should also take a look:

  • Cornell University, Samuel Curtis Johnson School of Management: Cornell offers a one-year, specialized tech MBA at its new New York City campus. The intensive program is aimed at professionals with strong digital experience, and preferably with a background in science or engineering.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management: Though MIT Sloan is known globally for its tech industry strengths (nearly 1/3 of its students land jobs in the industry), the school’s curriculum focuses heavily on entrepreneurship and is a stronger fit for students interested in this path.
  • INSEAD: Nineteen percent of recent INSEAD grads went into the tech sector. And, the school’s international locations give students a global perspective and extensive network. That being said, much like MIT its strengths lie more in entrepreneurship.
  • Stanford University, Graduate School of Business: With its prime location Silicon Valley, long-standing reputation in tech circles, and impressive employment stats (1/3 of the Class of 2016 went into tech), we would be remiss to not include the Stanford MBA on our list. B-school students can pursue dual degrees in computer science or electrical engineering.

 

Head to Head

Read below for a head-to-head comparison of top high tech MBA programs. You can also contact our team to get free b-school selection help.

Washington Foster MBA vs. Texas McCombs MBA vs. Berkeley Haas MBA

Northwestern Kellogg MBA vs. Georgia Tech Scheller MBA vs. Carnegie Mellon Tepper MBA

Last updated January 2017


Washington Foster MBA vs. Texas McCombs MBA vs. Berkeley Haas MBA

 Washington FosterTexas McCombsBerkeley Haas
% of graduates going into field52% - Technology

Class of 2017
33% - Technology

Class of 2016
38.8% -
Technology/telecom

Class of 2016
Related courseworkElectives:
Software Entrepreneurship

Technology Commercialization

Marketing High-Technology Products & Services

Data-driven Marketing
Electives:
Business Analytics and Decision Modeling

Strategies for Networked Economy

Data Analytics with Data Mining

Managing Innovation in a Global Company

Marketing Analytics and Information

Data Analytics and Dynamic Pricing

Analytical Tools for Marketing Decisions

Supply Chain Analytics

Analysis of Markets

Data Mining for Business Intelligence

Social Media Analytics

Marketing High-Tech Products

Marketing Metrics

Scientific Marketing Analysis and Implementation

Connecting with Customers in a Digital World
Electives:
Topics in Operations and Information Technology Management

Marketing Analytics

High Technology Marketing Management

Dynamic Capabilities and Innovation

High Technology Marketing Management

International Trade and Competition in High Technology

Strategy for the Information Technology Firm

Opportunity Recognition: Technology and Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley

Innovation Strategies for Emerging Technologies

Corporate Strategy in Telecommunications and Media

Media: New and Otherwise
Related co-curricular opportunitiesMentorship Program

Foster Tech Club
Global Connections

Career Treks

Graduate Business Technology Group
Clubs:
Berkeley Haas Technology Club

Haas Innovation Design
Dual-degree & specialization offeringsTechnology Management MBAConcentrations:
High Tech Marketing

Marketing Analytics and Consulting

Business Analytics

Information Management
Concentrations:
Technology


Northwestern Kellogg MBA vs. Georgia Tech MBA vs. Carnegie Mellon Tepper MBA

 Northwestern KelloggGeorgia Tech SchellerCarnegie Mellon Tepper
% of graduates going into field25% - Technology

Class of 2017
19% - Technology

Class of 2016
33.5% - Technology

Class of 2016
Related courseworkElectives:
Analytical Consulting Lab

Digital Marketing & Commerce

NUvention Courses
Electives:
Managing Information Resources

Database Development and Applications

Electronic Commerce

Business Process
Analysis and Design

IT Practicum

Emerging Technologies

Data Analytics in Business

Project Management

Business Intelligence and Analytics

Business Analytics Practicum
Technology Leadership Specialization Requirements:
Mobile and IoT

Technology Strategy

Commercialization and Innovation: Strategy

Technology Leadership Capstone

Electives:
Cloud Computing for Business

Designing for the Internet of Things

Intro to Human Computer Interaction for
Technology Executives

Privacy in the Digital Age

Management of Software Development for
Technology Executives

Agile Methods

Commercialization, Innovation: Workshop

Strategic Technology to Revitalize Business

Managing Intellectual Capital and Knowledge Intensive Business

Information Policy and Governance

Big Data

Marketing Analytics

The Art and Science of Prediction

Optimization for Interactive Marketing

Strategic IT
Related co-curricular opportunitiesClubs:
Kellogg Tech Club

MMM

Kellogg Design Club
"Tech Square"

Management Information Systems Club
Tepper Tech Innovation Challenge

Clubs:
Business and Technology Club

Data Analytics Club

Design and Business Club

Students at Tepper for Astronautics Rockets & Space (STARS)
Dual-degree & specialization offeringsDual MBA-MS in Design Innovation

Concentrations:
Data Analytics
Concentrations:
Information Technology Management

Immersive Tracks in Leading Innovation:
Technology Commercialization

Leading New Ventures

Innovating for Sustainability

Business Analytics

Computational Finance

Leading Digital Transformation

Managing Technology Products
Dual MBA-Master's of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dual MBA-Master's in Software Engineering

Tracks:
Technology Leadership

Business Analytics

 What Do You Think?

While we’ve highlighted some of our favorite tech industry MBA programs, there are so many other great schools out there. Is there another b-school that you think deserves to be featured? If so, let us know why in the comments below.

  • Kulbhushan

    UCLA Anderson

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