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The MBA and IT

By Identcc ·
After seeing that my BA in CIS, two MCSE certs, a Novell CNA cert and ten years of experience in IT isn't moving me up like I had hoped, I am now considering an MBA. Has anyone with a similar background done this? If so, how has it helped your career?

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Management position not a right

by timwalsh In reply to The MBA and IT

Jim, I've got a couple of points (drawing on my experience both in the military and in industry):

Management/Leadership is not a right based on a certain amount of tenure. It is usually something that must be earned. Yes, there are hurdles thatmust be passed to be eligible for a management position, one of which is usually an upper level degree such as an MBA. However, just meeting the requirements does not make a manager/leader.

The answer recommending a self-assessment was a good one. Ask a GOOD friend (a GOOD friend being defined as someone that will tell you the truth, even if it hurts) if he thinks you have what it takes to be a leader. If the answer is not a resounding "definitely", chances are that the powers that be in your company see the same thing.

Unless some sort of management training program exists, most companies are unwilling to place an "unknown" in a leadership position. Usually you are expected to perform from day one, and won't be given 6 months tofigure out what you are supposed to do. You mention 10 years experience, but you don't mention whether you have ANY leadership experience (team lead, project manager, shift supervisor, etc.). Natural-born leaders do exist. Usually their leadership qualities are recognized early on. The primary qualities are a take-charge attitude (in a leadership vacuum), and a willingness to always seek greater responsibility. Recognized natural-born leaders will tend to be put in leadership positions even if they don?t meet all the requirements.

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Not a right (continued)

by timwalsh In reply to Management position not a ...

Should you expect your company to pay for an MBA? If your company has some sort of a leadership/management development program, it might possibly include tuition reimbursement for such a degree. If you are one of the afore mentioned natural-born leaders who has already been put in a leadership position without meeting the requirements, or is being groomed for such a position, the company very probably would offer financial assistance. If you just ask out of the blue, who knows what the answer might be (although I wouldn?t hold my breath as MBA programs can get expensive).

Ask your supervisor what you can do to prepare yourself for a management?level position (although if he perceives you are after his job, don?t expect much help).Please don?t perceive my comments as an attempt to put you off your goal. I obviously don?t know you and you don?t give much information about your background. I?m mainly trying to say that you shouldn?t expect an MBA to be a magic bullet to magically transform you into management material. Any number of MBAs will not turn someone without the right qualities into a leader (unless maybe they are a relative of the CEO).

Good luck.

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Not a right indeed!

by Identcc In reply to Management position not a ...

Tim,

You make a good point that management is not a right, and also that "natural born leaders" are out there and are getting the management positions with or without the MBA. Having been in the military myself, I, too, have experience a lot of what you are saying.

Do I consider myself one of the natural born leaders you speak of? I suppose if I did, I would neither have to ask, nor would I be pursuing this advanced degree in the first place.

My thought, though, is that one can't always depend on other people to guide your way. Therefore, I'm doing what I can to maximize my exposure.

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Let me ask, then...

by Identcc In reply to Management position not a ...

Based on what we've been discussing, am I wasting my time in the pursuit of this degree?

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Not necessarily

by timwalsh In reply to Let me ask, then...

I subscribe to the school of thought that there is no such thing as too much education. An MBA is definitely a stepping-stone towards management. However, I think the knowledge you would receive would serve you well regardless of whether you ascend to a management position.

Some other thoughts on management/leadership:

If this is something you REALLY want to do, don?t lose sight of your goal. While natural-born leaders obviously have their foot in the door (so to speak), leadership CAN be learned. Those of us who aren?t natural-born leaders (myself included) just have to work harder at it (much harder sometimes), to do it right.

There are leaders, and there are followers. Both have their places in business (as in society). Being a follower is in no way demeaning, nor is a follower less valuable to an organization. Many people are very content being followers. This doesn?t mean they lack ambition.

The road to leadership is:
1. It is something you want to/must do.
2. After taking a realistic look at your qualities, skills, and even personality, it is something you are cut out to do.
3. Other people (especially other managers) recognize your qualities, skills and personality as being ?leadership/managementmaterial.?

Ask your TRUE friends if they think you have the necessary leadership qualities. Ask your supervisors the same question. If they say no, ask what you might be lacking to allow you to ?get your foot in the door.? It may be something that is readily within your grasp (like an MBA). But also be prepared to accept that you may have set an unattainable goal.

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An MBA

by LynnS In reply to Let me ask, then...

Only you can answer that question. I completed my MBA 3 months ago. I have a BS in Computer Info Systems and 16 years in Telecommunications and Information Technology Management. When I started my MBA, I was looking to "move up". When I finished my MBA, I realized that the journey was just as (if not more) rewarding than the destination. The people that you will meet in class will be a good representative sample of the people that will be on your management team. Accountants, HR Managers, Lawyers, etc. The insight I gained from listening to their perspective of the topics was invaluable. Another consideration - How much do you value your free time? The MBA is a huge time commitment. For every hour you spend in class you will need to spend 2 to 3 hours outside of class studying and preparing. It really starts to cut into your social and family life. All in all it was one of the best choices and investments I have ever made. Good Luck on your journey. -ls

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Sound advice. Thanks!

by Identcc In reply to An MBA

Lynn,

Both you and Tim (and everyone else) have given some very sound advice. IT management IS something I aspire to, and I hope that when I finally reach that goal (which may be quite some time after completing the MBA program), I hope I am good at it. I have heard quite a few comments from the many people (both here and elsewhere) that concur with your statement that the contacts made during this time will be invaluable. I've also heard the self-evaluation comments as well as the askingfriends/colleagues thing. All of that has made me want to do this that much more. Like most, I like being a leader as much as the next person. It's just that I'm not sure I was naturally born to do it. No one has ever told me that, and I supposeI'd know it if I were. Lynn, have you noticed ANY changes in the way people see or treat you as a result of your MBA?

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My 2 cents

by 1 In reply to Sound advice. Thanks!

What is the true reason you want to move into management? To make more money? You can still make very good money and not have to manage people. I have done it for several years and have a lot of freedom compared to my management friends. Be careful what you wish for. My granddad told me when I was young that you can make a living with your hands but you become wealthy with your mind.

I looked at several MBA programs but decided to pursue a Master of Science in IT. After a lot of research and exploring different options I felt it would be better for me personally. It seems that MBA's don't have the weight they did 10 to 15 years ago. I want to become more technical and gain a better understanding of emerging technology while increasing my skill set.

In today worlds all of us have to be live long learners to stay up to date with rapidly changing technology and business practices.

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by wuot In reply to The MBA and IT

people with mba's like myself wish for certifications like yours.

you can develop soft skills in the mba program like communication, writing, personal interaction and team playing. these skills require more of an extraverted personality vs introverted. the introverted personality works for technical skills but the extraverted works better for personal interaction. do you like working with people and can you give empathy and support to individuals and subordinate some of your expertiese to a team approach. these soft skill activities also require time and effort but would help to ascend the organizational ladder.

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