Picture our daily lives without technology — from waking up and getting to work or effectively executing professional tasks. Innovations help us manage these responsibilities with ease. Such is the case in organisations of various sizes. Hence the growing need for effective technology management — which has become equally imperative as competitive business models.
Professionals looking to lead on this front require in-depth education and experience. The Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developed its Master of Science in Technology Management (MSTM) to provide just that.
The one-year, STEM-designated programme nurtures future managers capable of looking at technology through a business lens while implementing enterprise-wide business solutions. While to some, its title might imply technical competencies, general management is this dynamic program’s main aim. All backgrounds are welcomed.
“Coming from an electrical engineering background, I had very little exposure to the functioning of the business side of the industry,” explains graduate Siddharth Ahuja. “To be successful, it’s important to align the technology with the vision and mission of the business. Hence, it’s of the utmost importance to gain core business skills to succeed in the product management space.”
Deloitte’s 2021 Technology Industry Outlook agrees, advising companies to actively seek out and develop “translators” who understand what a business wants and how technology can best deliver the solution. It’s little wonder why MSTM graduates quickly realise an immediate return on investment by joining major corporations like Accenture, Amazon, Deloitte, EY, Google, KPMG, and PwC.
To prepare for pivotal roles in analysis, consultancy, product management, or project management, data science, supply chain engineering and more, MSTM students relish coursework divided into three categories: core business courses that build a solid business foundation, technology management courses, and professional development activities.
The programme’s core courses are paired with lessons in functional areas of business administration, such as process management, introduction to finance, as well as accounting measurement, reporting and control. Meanwhile, technology management courses teach students the ins and outs of navigating a business environment where innovation, the introduction of new products, and managing intellectual property are the basis for success.
Both core and technology courses are taught in eight-week and semester-long modules that complement and build on each other within a synergistic framework. Of course, electives and optional concentrations are available for those with clear ideas of how they would like to add value within organisations — the comprehensive, extensive list of options can be found here. The MSTM’s most popular courses cover data storytelling, enterprise database management, and technology strategy.
When students are ready to apply knowledge from the curriculum they designed, they do so during their last summer semester. Through a required technology practicum, students get to solve business problems under the supervision of a faculty member. Those who start in the fall and are able to land a summer internship off-campus will be allowed to substitute the opportunity for the technology practicum.
“The best part of my Gies education is that I had the opportunity to work with real-time clients on real-time projects and come up with real-time solutions,” says Sarvesh Giri, who now works as a technical account manager at OneTrust. “I’ve been able to immediately apply the concepts I’ve learned.”
Such real-world experiences give students the confidence booster they need to begin strategising their first steps out of graduate school — yet, it’s not a decision they have to make alone. Gies Business Student Career and Professional Development prepares students for purposeful careers by providing a wide range of professional advising and career resources that span résumé review, practice interviews, one-on-one advising, career fair preparation, company information sessions, and virtual alumni conversations.
Their support was crucial for Abhilasha Gulhane when she was about to re-enter the workforce with a fresh set of in-demand competencies. Upon graduating, she began working for the university that made her by assuming the roles of course assistant and tech support. A year later, she began her journey at BlackRock as a data analyst.
“After working as an engineer in the manufacturing sector, learning the business side of technology was a logical step to move up in my career,” she says. “Having access to Illinois’s top engineering school and robust startup space made the MSTM programme a great fit for me.”
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