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Best Business Schools to Jumpstart Your Career in Tech—or Advance It

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CMU’s Tepper School of Business

Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business also sent a little over a third of its Class of 2016 graduates to work in the technology industry—33.5 percent—though we should note that’s a bit of a downturn from the whopping 38.24 percent of the Class of 2015 who went into tech. Consulting, the second-most popular industry for Tepper grads, draws just 27 percent. These stats may not come as a surprise to those acquainted with Tepper, which has a long history of churning out quant wizzes with tech prowess. Even so, it represents significant growth even for the traditionally tech-focused school. As recently as 2011, Tepper sent just 20 percent of its grads into tech.

There are several aspects of the Tepper MBA program that set students up for success in the technology field. For starters, any Tepper MBA student can choose to pursue a specialization in business technology, which combines technical and managerial coursework with experiential learning opportunities. The 10 faculty members who teach in the Business Technologies Department boast an array of research and expertise between them, from big data and IT management to e-business and the economics of information systems. There were no fewer than 19 technology courses on offer this semester, from “Intellectual Property and Internet Commerce” and “Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategy” to “The Art and Science of Prediction” and “Strategic Technology to Revitalize Business.”

best business schools for technology
CMU Tepper School of Business

Students who come into Tepper with a technology background can also pursue the school’s Technology Leadership MBA Track, a joint partnership between the Tepper School and Carnegie Mellon’s top-ranked School of Computer Science. One of the most popular offerings in the MBA program, the Technology Leadership MBA Track trains students in the specific strategic and management issues facing companies developing cutting-edge software technologies. This serves to prepare them for success in senior technology roles ranging from product manager to CTO, CIO, or CEO. To enroll in this MBA track, students must have an undergraduate degree in computer science, computer engineering, management information systems or comparable work experience to ensure that they can keep pace in the School of Computer Science’s rigorous, technical classes.

Finally, Tepper also offers a three-year, dual-degree MBA/Master of Software Engineering program, also in partnership with the School of Computer Science. Designed for “exceptionally strong candidates who have engineering and science backgrounds or appropriate experience,” this program equips MBA students with the advanced engineering skills they need to advance to the most senior technology strategist roles.

Beyond academics, Tepper also features several student clubs that help prepare students for tech careers. With 282 members, the Business and Technology Club (B&T) is one of the largest groups on campus and serves as a hub for recruiting, case competitions, treks, and other events with technology and e-commerce companies at Tepper. Each year, the B&T Club helps sponsor the Tepper Tech Innovation Challenge—a case competition built around applying business techniques to the development of emerging technology products—as well as numerous networking events drawing representatives from some of the most innovative tech companies in the world.

Recent Tepper grads headed off to work for top tech firms including Amazon, Apple, Cisco, Expedia, and Google, reporting a mean starting salary of $119,031 and a median signing bonus of $25,000.

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) was right on Tepper’s heels, sending 33 percent of its Class of 2016 into the technology industry. That outdistanced the 31 percent who went into finance and was more than double the 16 percent who went into consulting. Like Haas, Stanford surely benefits from its proximity to Silicon Valley—both in terms of having a wealth of tech recruiters within arm’s reach and being able to draw executives from those same companies to serve as guest speakers and lecturers, student project advisors, and more. Experiential learning opportunities in the tech industry also abound for Stanford MBA students.

Of course, the Stanford GSB faculty is nothing to sneeze at either. More than 20 faculty members make up the Operations, Information Technology department, including leading experts in areas ranging from product design and manufacturing processes to information systems, homeland security systems to social networks. One such professor, Haim Mendelson, is known for his “Organizational IQ” concept, which quantifies an organization’s ability to quickly and effectively use information to make decisions.

best business schools for technology
Stanford Graduate School of Business

Stanford also offers students the opportunity to pursue a dual degree of significant relevance to students interested in careers in tech. Its joint MA in Computer Science/MBA degree links two of the university’s world-class programs and helps students develop a unique skill set ideal for becoming a manager and/or entrepreneur for new technology ventures. The program includes a year of courses at each the GSB and in the Computer Science department followed by a third year of elective courses in both programs and enables students to shave off one to two semesters it would take to complete both degrees separately.

The GSB is also home to multiple centers and research initiatives, many of which study issues central to the technology industry. The Digital Business Initiative, for one, focuses exclusively on looking at the types of questions that can be answered with data and statistics, as well as best approaches to do so, such as the use of data and designing metrics to influence decision-making policy, data-driven products design and experimentation, and marketing analysis.

And by virtue of being part of the larger Stanford University ecosystem, Stanford MBA students can also take advantage of several other centers of research, such as the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab, where some of the world’s most brilliant students and faculty are hard at work building smart algorithms that enable computers and robots to see and think.

Student clubs, of course, round out the offerings for Stanford MBA students hoping to land careers in technology. The High Tech Club offers members opportunities to share tech fundamentals and trends with each other, access employment resources, and network with tech leaders. Another club, the Product Design and Manufacturing Club, gives students who appreciate the importance of creation opportunities to learn more about how designers and inventors create everyday products that make life easier.

OK, so where do Stanford MBA grads work in tech? Stanford is pretty cagey in terms of what it reveals about who its recruiters are. It simply provides a LONG list (16 pages long) of companies who either did On‐Campus Interviewing (OCI) and/or posted to the GSB Job Board for summer and/or full‐time positions. Given that there were approximately 1,550 companies on the list—and only 410 graduates in the Class of 2016—it’s hard to know which tech companies actually hired Stanford grads. Needless to say, every major tech recruiter you can think of—Amazon, Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, and many more—appears on the list.

We do know that the mean salary for students in the Class of 2016 who took jobs in tech was $130,447 and the mean signing bonus was $18,237.