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Are MBAs still worth it for IT leaders?

“Are MBAs still worth it for IT leaders?” on The Enterprisers Project, June 17, 2019.

PRO: Business skills trump technical skills for IT leaders

Alan Zucker, founding principal, Project Management Essentials LLC“I hold a masters degree in economics and strongly believe that most people that aspire to leadership roles in technology organizations should have a grounding in a non-technology field such as an MBA. I have worked with many brilliant software engineers and technologists. These analytic and technical skills have made them very good in their current roles. However, as technologists move into management and leadership, they need to have a broader view of their organization, its mission, goals, and the interlinkages across different domains and frontiers. They also need to develop interpersonal skills as they collaborate with their business partners and lead their teams.

“I have witnessed many strong technology leaders go down the rabbit hole by being enamored with the latest, newest technology without an understanding of how that will enable their business. I have also seen technology leaders that make fundamental management and leadership mistakes, creating dysfunctional organizations because they have not learned how to manage even small teams, let alone large organizations.

“Conversely, I have seen great leaders in technology organizations who had their roots in business. These people lacked the technical skills to actually code software, but they understood the business and how to work with people and manage their organizations. These people did not need to know or keep up with the latest technologies: They had the right people on their team to help them make those decisions.”