Leveraging a business degree in the tech world

6.5.2014 Article, Careers, Charlotte Center, School News

By Sydnee Alms and Stephanie Skordas, Wake Forest University School of Business

Building and maintaining strong teams, ensuring you’re hiring the right people and overcoming challenges in your management career might sound like typical concerns for business school graduates, but translating those skills into a future in the IT industry? That’s not your typical discussion.

That’s why an interactive Information Technology Panel for the Charlotte Evening MBA students, MBA students, and alumni was held the Wake Forest Charlotte Center on June 5. Panelists Aarick Eberhardt of MDI Group, Randy Franklin of Peak 10, Carl Smith (MBA ’05) of Microsoft and Gary Zukowski of TweetMyJobs offered insights about future trends, hiring practices, the value of the MBA, and how to leverage the MBA into a career in the IT industry.

Here are some of the highlights and key advice from the panelists:

How do you get a job in the IT industry?

  • Network, network, network! Smith says 80% of employees at his company, Microsoft, are referred by other employees.
  • Make your presence known on social media. Companies are looking for your digital footprints on social media. You should post updates and like pages because companies check out your personal brand on social media

How will an MBA add value to a career? How can one leverage the skills learned as an MBA toward a rewarding career?

  • Utilize your transferable skills. Leadership, negotiating, communication and critical thinking are in demand across all industries. ,
  • Find a mentor. Target senior management to build a mentor/mentee relationship. It’s – one of the most advantageous things you can do.
  • Learn different management techniques. Servant leadership can help you become an key factor to your employee’s success, which helps your organization
  • Treat people at every level with respect.
  • Pursue on-going certifications, Having certifications under your belt, such as project management, shows that you value education and strive to improve personally and professionally.
  • Have a global mindset. Relating with different cultures and colleagues with diverse backgrounds is critical to career success.

How do you build and maintain teams committed to excellence?

  • Recognize your teammates’ strengths and weaknesses.
  • Be clear in your expectations.
  • Hold people accountable.
  • Create a culture of trust to allow people to express their opinions.
  • Exhibit the culture and ethics you want your employees to have because your leadership is crucial to the team.

After the discussion, panelists stayed to further engage with the students and alumni in the audience. Carl Smith from Microsoft gave away one tablet won by Jacob Velky, a second-year student in the Charlotte Evening MBA program, and three new 365 Microsoft software packages went home with second year Charlotte Evening MBA students Fritz Hjardemaal, Doreen Rogers, and Sharadendu Singh.