Why Technical Professionals Should Consider an MBA
It’s easy to understand why aspiring businesspeople choose to undertake a Master in Business Administration (MBA) qualification – it is commonly recognised as the perfect stepping stone towards higher employment positions, such as managerial roles or executive level leadership opportunities. However, there has been an increase in the number of technical professionals undertaking an MBA. But what is a technical professional? And what are the advantages for these technical professionals in completing an MBA?
What is a technical professional?
A technical professional can be described in many ways – in this instance, it is a wide-ranging term that covers people from a wide variety of technical backgrounds. That is, people who have trained, usually at high levels, in one specific skill or field – for example, engineers and IT specialists, or even doctors and service providers such as firemen would be considered to be technical professionals as they are specialists in a particular industry, with a very specific skill set.
Though technical professionals are incredibly skilled, they traditionally have less understanding of the necessities of a business-focused managerial role – important knowledge bases like leadership, marketing, finance, human resource management and so on are often overlooked throughout technical training and study.
Why are technical professionals studying an MBA?
There are many reasons why someone may choose to undertake further tertiary study. These are just a few of the reasons that a technical professional may consider pursuing an MBA.
Many technical professionals find themselves in managerial positions within their chosen field as their careers progress – for example, emergency service providers such as a Fire Service are more likely to promote well-performing technical firemen to management roles, as opposed to hiring someone from outside the industry. The advantage for promoting within an organisation is that they know the business, its workers and its organisational aims well – however, they can lack the basic skills required for a management position because of the technical focus they’ve had. An MBA can provide a student with the basic skills and knowledge needed to understand the requirements of management, and help to make the transition from technician to executive far less daunting.
In several industries, there is a risk of hitting a ‘glass ceiling’ within a business at a certain point. Because of that, some technical professionals require further skills in order to take another step up their chosen career ladder. For people with aims of becoming a leading executive within their business, a post-graduate level qualification such as the MBA is a great way to improve their management and leadership skills, whilst learning about the many key areas within a business.
Some technical professionals are likely to develop entrepreneurial aspirations as they continue throughout their careers – professionals such as engineers, architects and so on may wish to build their own businesses and provide their technical services in their own way. Building a business requires a great deal of foundation managerial and financial knowledge, in addition to the technical knowledge built over years of practice in their chosen field. An MBA, especially an MBA with a specialisation in Entrepreneurship, will assist a budding business owner and operator in the creation and management of their new venture.
Though some technical professionals remain in their chosen careers until their retirement, there are also some who are looking for a new challenge or new opportunities that cannot be provided within their industry. An MBA is often recognised as an indicator of a solid foundation of knowledge. The principles taught in the core subjects of an MBA are applicable in a wide variety of industries and positions. Many employers are more likely to take a chance on an employee with some kind of generalist background which they can build upon.
Are you a technical professional who has considered studying an MBA? What would your main motivator be?
If you are interested in learning more about our MBA programme please visit the AIB MBA page.
This article was written by Simone Ball on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Smart Company and Network World. Image sourced from Unsplash.