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Very first question - what to learn?

By rytrom ·
I'm in the very beginning of my planning for studying and self developing and I need advice and help here. I'm a MSc. (Applied mathematics) graduated from Volgograd State University (Russia) in 1994 and have about 7 years of experience in various positions in IT. Lately I've been hired by a well known (almost the biggest) international company as a solution consultant and this position is just fantastic! First time I got a job such as I don't think about my next job dreaming how better/interesting/challenging/promising/whatever it could be! I love my current job and hope enjoying it in the future as well.
But nevertheless I always think about self development and growing from a professional point of view. I forgot to mention that besides the degree I've got a lot of technical certification and learned tons of new material so from a technical point of view I'd say I need no special education (or at least I know how I can accomplish and achieve whatever I'll be willing to do in the future). Here I'm getting closer to the point of my question. I guess to be able to claim for some high positions (CIO, CTO, VP of technology) in the industry I need to enlarge my knowledge by non technical areas. First idea came to my mind is MBA. And here is my first request for advice:
1. Is there any option to MBA? I mean to get another master degree that adds real knowledge and has a CV value behind itself.
Another question is about preparing to a top MBA school.
2. Assuming that a top MBA school is my choice how can I improve my chances to be accepted there? Probably to take BA in business or psychology or in a more exotic realm like "Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management"? I estimate I have 3-4 years before undertaking MBA. How to best utilize them to prepare?

I have tons of minor questions that I'll ask after your answers that I hope will help me be more specific and concrete.

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Welcome to the fun Zone

by JimHM In reply to Very first question - wha ...

I was also hired as a solutions (Advanced Technology) consultant - and its fun and exciting.

To gather strength in this field is more research and breath of knowledge in all areas of IT - from management to nuts and bults that hold the infrasture together.

My recommendations - If you going on for a Masters program there are some school now offering a masters in Technology management. Covering architectures, advanced technology, implementations and other areas. Also see if your company has access to advisory services - Meta, Gartner, Faulkner, Forrester and any others - they all have good research (Hope you like to read) - just at different levels of details.

Use the internet - to gather more information - mag's - MIT Technology review - Science Mag's - (I have found a majority of the PC mags are hyped and MS bias reports)...

But - if you can there are some great conference and seminars out there -

So have as much fun as I have had these past number of years - its a fun and exciting field.

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by rytrom In reply to Welcome to the fun Zone

Thanks for the greetings!
Actually what I expect from a degree is 1. strong business knowledge (not just marketing terms but real understanding) 2. some affect on the CV. I don't wanna waste the time and then get just smiles from people reading my CV.

Do you know more acrive/suitable forums to find it out?

Thanks

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Not 100% sure what you need - will this help

by JimHM In reply to

Not 100% sure of what you are looking for. My position is that I work with the business units and develop a recommended solution and alternatives to business issues and challenges.

Examples of my position:

1) One of our business units utilizes multiple fax machines to receive inquires, these inquires are then investigated and marked up then faxed back to the customers. They were using 6 single function fax units which required 1 FTE to maintain, load and operate. There was a recommended solution (multifunctional printer, scanner, fax - based on best fit with the architecture and infrastructure) and 3 alternatives ? each had a Implementation cost, on going costs, and infrastructure cost sheet, pro?s and con?s to each. Management and the Business Unit management made their selection of which option they wished to have implemented. They selected the recommended solution.
2) One of the business units wanted to preload customer information onto the support screen when the support person picked up the phone. (The customer enters his identification number when they call into the support line, and answer a couple of simple questions with a 1 or 2 key.) Again a recommended solution was made (purchase a BRE), alternative developed, costs tables built, pro?s and con?s and presentation made. Management and Business unit made the decision.

So if you job is to do something like these, then there isn?t anywhere to learn it except for pure experience and investigations. I was hired because of my background from Operations, Operations Management, Programming, Project Management, Networking, Network Design, Help Desk Management and systems design.

Fourtyfive percent of my days are spent researching new technologies, reviewing current technologies, reading Deltas, review reports, reading news articles in the various mag?s and other research. The job is more R&amp than in depth knowledge.

My job is also now moving into supporting acquisition of technologies after solutions recommendations ? assembling a review team, building a requirements document, writing / sending out and evaluation of RFI?s and RFP?s, reviewing of products, then leading the team with recommendation (Management and Business units always have final selection) then coordination of a proof of concept ? or evaluation period from assitanting the team developing success/fail criteria to writing the final report.

If this is your job ? God its fun. But for education in it - if you are going for a masters you will want the Masters in Technology, other than that ? read ? attend seminars ? free webinars ? gather information from everywhere and anywhere and lock it into your head.

And they will laugh at your recommendation until you prove they work - once you got a good track record (after 10 successes) - I haven't had a business unit not accept the recommended way. If you're a contractor you'll be proving yourself each time out the box...

Good luck

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Jim is quite correct in his postings

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Very first question - wha ...

You seem to have the "Paper" qualifications and a bit of on the job training will not go astray either but what is far more important than any "Paper" is experience and the fact that you can work in a team enviroment qand maybe even manage the team.

So I would say that the next thing for you to work on is personal skills and potential managment skills as these are things that you have to learn on the job and just can not get them from any books. Most of these things are nothing more than common sence but it is amasing just how many people lack them all together.

I hope that is some help to you.

Col

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hopefully useful

by david.planchon In reply to Very first question - wha ...

Hello,

If you're aiming for band 0 positions you're going to have to get a Masters. There is no way around that. Even smaller companies will want to see such positions filled with people of experience and education.

If you are not sure what direction to take I would suggest you place a few calls to people who already hold such positions as well as Human Resources directors. I think you will find that most people will give you honest answers if they perceive your interest as genuine. Select a few companies you'd like to work for some day and approach them the same way you would for an initial job interview. Proactive attitude will take you a long way in life.

I sense you feel unclear about the values of spending time, money on a degree. Don't forget that Master programs aren't about the degree as much as helping create an understanding of social networks and visionary thinking. Most Master students are professionals who've come to an impass and to move on forward need the extra credentials.

note: good Universities won't accept your application for a Masters program without a certain amount of field experience.

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Masters of Technology

by mlayton In reply to Very first question - wha ...

...if you are sure you want to stay with the technology side, and are thinking big (CIO, VP), you probably need a Masters. What you want is not a standard MBA, but a Masters with a Technology focus. Not sure where you are, but the one I took from Polytechnic had Accounting, Legal, Project Management, Supply chain management, Marketing, Management as well as technical networking, etc courses and required a thesis for graduation. It was comprehensive, with applicable knowledge across the board and Brooklyn Poly is a fairly well-respected university on the east coast and it also offers a follow-on doctorate (if you get really motivated.) My recommendation is peruse universities in your area - everyone has open houses, etc and find one that clicks for you. An MS will help you build skills for business and it looks good on the resume. Plus, those professors can come in handy later in the career, as can the alumni network!

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