For Tech Workers, an MBA Could be the Key to Future Success

David M. Smith, PhD is Professor of Economics, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

The number of jobless Americans in the technology industry increased again in May 2023, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Tech sector companies reduced headcount by roughly 9,000 jobs last month compared to adding 32,000 the same month last year. 


While the technology industry unemployment figures appear to be leveling off, that is little consolation to the tens of thousands of technology industry workers who are unemployed, underemployed or had job offers rescinded. Many would-be professionals in the tech industry are left wondering: what can I do to get a leg up in the industry? 


For professionals who are in the industry or desire to join, workforce training may be the key to getting a new position, embarking in a new direction, or preserving a long-term career. A graduate business degree can provide enhanced knowledge, specialized skills, and expanded career opportunities, ultimately leading to higher earning potential and increased professional growth. Here are some of the specific benefits of earning an MBA for a technology career:


Broaden Skill Set: An MBA program offers a comprehensive curriculum that includes technology but extends to other valuable areas such as finance, marketing, strategy, and operations. Acquiring knowledge in these areas can help a technology professional be more versatile and therefore more valuable in the job market.


Networking Opportunities: MBA programs bring together professionals from diverse backgrounds and industries. Building a strong network of classmates, alumni, and faculty can provide valuable connections and potential job opportunities in the tech industry or other sectors. For example, students who earn an MBA from Pepperdine Graziadio have immediate access to more than 48,000 alumni. 


Entrepreneurship and Innovation: An MBA can nurture an entrepreneurial mindset, equipping professionals with the knowledge and skills to start a tech venture. It can provide insights into financing, business planning, and strategic decision-making to launch and manage a technology-oriented enterprise.


Leadership Development: Developing leadership skills is a core component of an MBA program. Nearly every higher-level technology position requires leading teams, making strategic decisions, and navigating complex business challenges. Very few technology industry professionals stay in one position for the duration of their career, and employers expect workers to aspire to management. 


Transferable Skills: The skills acquired during an MBA program, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and data analysis, are transferable to multiple roles within the tech industry. These skills make professionals more attractive candidates for positions that require a blend of technical expertise and business acumen. At Pepperdine Graziadio, the real-life MBA consulting program Education-to-Business (E2B) requires students to work with actual companies on complex, far-reaching business problems. 


Credibility and Branding: An MBA degree can enhance professional credibility and signal to employers that a prospective employee possesses a solid foundation in business concepts. It can differentiate candidates, provide a competitive edge and once earned, never be taken away. 


While an MBA can offer significant advantages, it is important to consider the time commitment associated with pursuing the degree. At Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, earning a full-time MBA is a 12-, 15- or 20-month commitment for full-time MBAs.  Earning a part-time MBA is a longer process, usually, six trimesters of coursework are typically completed on a two-year schedule. One upside to a part-time MBA is the ability to scale up classes when work is slower and scale down classes when work or life is busy.   


No matter the specific circumstances or duration, earning an MBA could be the key to higher wages, career stability and growth. An MBA can also unlock doors to personal fulfillment. Whether full-time or part-time, earning an MBA can put a technology professional on a course toward long-term success.

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