The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

May - 2006 - issue > Cover Story

Do Techies Need an M.B.A?

Harish Revanna, Priya Pradeep, Imran Shanawaz
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
Harish Revanna, Priya Pradeep, Imran Shanawaz
There are still a few things left that Google can’t search, software can’t solve and mortals don’t understand. One such mystical thing is the perfect career. When it comes to something as important as your career, there is plenty of advice on offer and yet, there really is no sure shot at success. We at The SmartTechie have often wondered if management training was one way to ensure a good career?

Do techies need a Master in Business Administration (M.B.A) degree? Who better to answer that question than the gurus themselves…the people who have done the same thing you did, a little ahead of your time and went on to do wonders in the IT industry—the same industry that you probably work for.

Our findings were stunning: More than 80 percent of the bigwig techies or the gurus managing Indian and multinational IT companies do not have an M.B.A. Just one percent of the total IT jobs for engineers require M.B.A. And finally yet futuristically, with IT companies starting to offer product to Indian market, the MBA trend will snowball.

However objective and eye-rolling the data is, there is truly a sense of subjectivity lost in the entire process. And that’s exactly what Jack Welch of GE and Louis Gerstner of IBM called the Getting Executed (GE) factor. When it comes to success in business, an M.B.A degree might be optional. But a GE attitude is mandatory. Any successful techie, or for that matter a successful human being, is not without it. So, there we go picking thoughts on how much of an M.B.A is optional and, how much is real or GE based.

1990: India is a now a great services country. Its engineers just out of schools are all jet set with their new careers as programmers, developers and coders. They call themselves techies. All are gung ho about graduating to become team leads, project managers and so on in the next five years. Managers, they think, belong to the higher echelon of tech companies; coding would be a place for the new entrants. This feeling emphasised the need for management education. B-Schools, they believe, will mold them as the crème de la crème managers.

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