Post-MBA Career Goals: Technology
Updated: Jan 30
So you want to break into tech after your MBA.
Tech is the second-most preferred post-MBA industry for MBA graduates, according to this 2023 GMAC survey, especially among millennials (47%).
Tech companies flock to business schools for their pipeline of graduates equipped not only with technical proficiency but also key communication, strategic thinking, and leadership skills. As tech companies evolve to include more DEI values, they look to business school culture to supply them with graduates fluent in navigating diverse working environments.
We spoke to Tom Lawrance, former head of global industry careers at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School and MBA recruiter at Amazon, to learn more about transitioning to tech after an MBA.
The full article is published by QS here.
You can also watch the interview on our YouTube channel.
Here are Tom’s top insights:
Why Tech for MBA graduates?
Many MBA candidates are drawn to the tech sector post-graduation, and for good reason: the tech industry offers lucrative salaries and the opportunity to work on innovative projects. Unlike some industries, tech also tends to offer more flexible work arrangements, making it an attractive choice for those seeking a balanced career.
How to use an MBA for Tech
MBA programs provide valuable skills transferable to tech roles, particularly in data analysis. Leadership and communication skills honed during an MBA program are also highly relevant for holistic career development in the tech sector, allowing graduates to lend their expertise to varied functions within the company.
Transitioning into Tech
Transitioning to tech from another industry is especially contingent on transferable skills and alignment with company values. If you are looking to make this transition, networking, company research, and productive conversations with industry professionals are essential. You may need to start in less high-impact roles to gain industry specific skills before advancing to your desired position.
Finding the right Tech company
The tech industry's diversity presents a dynamic work environment, from large corporations like Amazon to smaller startups. Company culture varies widely, so finding the right fit requires effective networking and research. An MBA can provide tech aspirants with the right tools and network to understand which company’s culture best suits their working style.
What are the current Tech recruitment trends?
While tech hiring at large firms has slowed, niche areas like fintech, healthtech, and agritech offer diverse opportunities. Given the tech industry's dynamism, MBA students should avoid placing too much emphasis on past or current recruitment trends, which can change rapidly.
What is the Tech recruitment process like?
Tech companies employ various recruitment methods, including behavioral interviews, online assessments, and technical components like coding or data analysis. Understanding specific company processes and culture is essential to the MBA interview.
Tech companies' recruitment processes evolve with market trends, making it essential for both companies and business schools to adapt. Companies often look to top business schools for talent for efficiency and quality in their hiring processes. On the other side of the table, business schools ensure that they highlight factors like classroom diversity, highly skilled graduates, and curriculum strengths (for example, courses on data analysis and modeling) to attract companies.
What are the best roles for MBAs in Tech?
Product management is a popular post-MBA role, driven by supply and demand. Marketing roles in tech have also grown, allowing graduates to leverage their data-driven decision making skills. Roles in sales and business development offer untapped opportunities to apply MBA skills in the tech world.
Leadership Development Programs
Many tech companies offer leadership development programs that support MBA graduates in moving to senior roles. These programs expose graduates to multiple business functions and teams, expanding their network and career prospects.
How to prepare for an MBA in Tech
Between offer acceptance and the start of an MBA program, candidates should network with tech professionals, leveraging platforms like LinkedIn. Tom recommends the book "The 2-Hour Job Search” by Steve Dalton, which outlines systematic methodologies for efficient job searching. Building early relationships within the tech industry can be instrumental in future career prospects later in the program.
What to do before starting the MBA
Engaging with the program and career department from the outset is crucial. Clearly articulate your priorities and the work you've done in networking and research to streamline conversations with career advisors. Researching required skills for your desired job and creating a flexible plan B is also useful, as you’ll learn about new opportunities during your MBA.
Alternatives to full-time MBA
You don't have to do a full-time MBA to break into Technology. We met Sharoon to discuss how he used a part-time MBA to pivot into a Product Management role at Microsoft.
Other Post-MBA Career Options
Other "classic" post-MBA careers include Venture Capital, Investment Banking and Management Consulting. We've recorded interviews with applicants who work in these areas, which you can access below.
Many talented professionals move between technology and private equity, for example moving into an operations role at a tech-focused Venture Capital firm. We spoke to Vibhav about his experience in Venture Capital.
Within Investment Banking, there is demand for people with tech experience, particularly in certain segments of the bank, like the Telecom, Media, Tech (TMT) team of large investment banks. We spoke to Elie about he broke into a bulge bracket investment bank.
There are certain management consultancies focused on technology. For example, McKinsey has its QuantumBlack, it's AI arm. We spoke to Joao about how an MBA helped him in Management Consulting with McKinsey.
If you have any further questions about how to make your application stand out for a tech-friendly MBA, contact us here for a free 20-minute consultation.
Get real example essays from successful tech applicants on MBAconsultant.com, our self-paced online platform for bespoke MBA application guidance.