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Nov 28, 2023 2023-11 Business Administration Faculty Student

Gies Business technology management degree prepares graduates for tech careers with top employers

The master’s in technology management (MSTM) degree at Gies College of Business prepares learners to approach technology with a strategic business mindset, helping graduates land influential roles at a variety of organizations, like Walmart and the parent company of TikTok.

Through a unique blend of business management and technology courses taught by top Gies Business faculty, MSTM students learn to garner technology skills to guide employers in making high-impact, data-driven decisions.

“Every day, all over the world, successful businesses depend on innovative technologies and sound business practices,” said James Noonan, academic director of the MSTM program. “The need for managers who are able to look at technologies – both new and old – through a business lens is only increasing, and that is exactly the kind of graduate the MSTM aims to develop.”

The combination of business and technology attracted 2020 MSTM graduate Nikita Choudhary, now an analytics manager at Walmart. In her role, she utilizes data insights to contribute to informed business decision-making. When a former employer encouraged her to pursue a master’s degree, Choudhary explored various business schools. She chose Gies Business because of the MSTM’s emphasis on integrating business principles into technology-based problem-solving.

“One needs to understand the crux of the business in order to use data strategically,” Choudhary (left) said. “Understanding the business is foundational to effective decision-making. It provides the necessary insights and context for making informed, strategic, and well-rounded decisions that contribute to the overall success and sustainability of the business.”

The strong focus on business skills helps set the MSTM program apart from programs at other institutions.

“The MSTM degree at Gies is unique from many peer programs because our emphasis is on business,” Noonan said. “We maintain the benefits of a STEM-designation while our curriculum provides instruction and experience centered on general management principles.”

One way the MSTM program teaches strategic business and management skills is through experiential learning, giving learners the opportunity to work directly with clients to solve real-life business problems. Along with opportunities through organizations and activities outside the classroom, the MSTM program builds experiential learning opportunities directly into the curriculum, guaranteeing each student gains hands-on experience to apply the concepts they’ve learned.

“By giving students the chance to solve real problems for real clients, MSTM students are ready to hit the ground running as they enter their careers,” Noonan said. “We have also seen that for those students with limited or no previous work experience, the experiential learning component provides a unique opportunity to gain genuine experience and to have some meaningful stories to tell during conversations with potential employers.”

Although Choudhary already had work experience when she started the program, she credits the MSTM curriculum with helping her improve her skills around critical thinking, leadership, innovation, marketing management, and communication. Effective communication stands out as being particularly important to her.

As an analytics manager, Choudhary engages with both technical and nontechnical stakeholders. She emphasized the importance of effectively communicating her insights to them.

“Even slight miscommunications can pose significant challenges since these stakeholders play a pivotal role in making crucial business decisions,” she said. “The precision of communication is paramount, as any discrepancies could have a substantial impact on the overall decision-making process.”

Choudhary values the concepts and skills she acquired during her time in the program, noting that each assignment and component served a specific purpose.

“Some elements may seem unnecessary at the time, but the realization of their importance often dawns when embarking on one's professional career,” she said. “The understanding emerges that these assignments were indeed valuable in preparing for the demands of the professional landscape.”

Having initially chosen Gies Business as her top preference among business schools, Choudhary explained that the program not only met but exceeded her elevated expectations, equipping her with the tools she needed to succeed as an analytics manager at a leading Fortune 500 company.