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Why the Top Online MBA Programs Emphasize a Technical Foundation in 2024

February 23, 2024

Technology is dramatically altering the modern business landscape. Businesses are growing ever more reliant on data-driven decisions and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered business processes. According to IBM research, 35% of companies already use AI, with another 42% exploring its potential. The increasing adoption of technology places new demands on business leaders, who are expected to integrate big data analytics, AI and other leading-edge technologies into their business strategies. 

Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs are adapting to address the changing business environment, evolving to include data analytics, technology and innovation. This article explores this growing emphasis on technical skills in top online MBA programs, like the Stevens Institute of Technology Online MBA program.

The Evolution of Business Education 

Since 1908, MBA programs have helped students develop important leadership and management skills for their careers. Traditionally, MBA programs have focused on general management skills, including finance, marketing and organizational behavior, with an emphasis on preparing leaders for well-established industries where stability and continuity were vital.

However, rapid technological advancements, data proliferation and the rise of the digital economy characterize the current business climate. For MBA programs to remain relevant, they must adapt to these changes and offer students the skills and expertise required to solve complex challenges and lead in a technologically-driven world. 

How Top Online MBA Programs Can Adapt to the Digital Era

Digital transformation is changing the needs of companies, and technological literacy is becoming a sought-after management skill. Aspiring and current leaders need the expertise to guide companies through this era of digital transformation and make the most of cutting-edge tools and software solutions. 

Across industries, companies seek (and are willing to pay more for) employees with relevant tech skills. A report by consulting company Robert Half indicates that 36% of skills managers in the finance and accounting industry would pay higher salaries to employees with data analytics skills. Other in-demand skills and certifications include SQL, CPA, CMA, SAP, Oracle, Hyperion and Sage Intacct. 

Finance is just one of many industries ripe for AI implementation. According to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), all business leaders must have a digital mindset and at least 30% fluency in critical technologies and technical skills to succeed. As such, MBA programs require technology and analytics-focused coursework to prepare students for the current job market. 

Leading MBA programs are shifting toward emphasizing skills like critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity to adapt to the AI age. By integrating lessons in soft skills with those of business fundamentals and technology, graduates can make well-informed decisions and navigate the complexities of an AI-driven business environment.

However, business leaders’ tech skills must go beyond effectively using AI. Digitalization brings various challenges that leaders must handle, including cyber breaches (which cost the global economy $4.45 million in 2023). In the digital age, business leaders need to be technically proficient not only to move the business forward but also to synthesize technical inputs to protect existing assets.

What to Look for in a Tech-Focused MBA

If you’re considering an MBA in 2024, look for the following program characteristics to ensure you’re getting a future-focused education: 

  • A curriculum with a strong focus on analytics: Choose an MBA program where you will learn data and analytics skills and gain exposure to the latest software and tools. 
  • Faculty with industry expertise: Top MBA programs allow you to learn from and network with active industry practitioners, giving you access to up-to-date information on current and future trends. 
  • Relevant specialization options: Look for an MBA program that allows you to choose a degree concentration (specialization) that will equip you with in-demand skills, such as business intelligence or information systems. 
  • Strong career outcomes: Top business school programs provide you with the skills and expertise to advance your career and apply for management-level roles across industries. 

Stevens Institute of Technology’s online MBA is a degree program that meets all these criteria. It is designed to prepare students to succeed by fostering the right combination of analytical and emotional intelligence and emphasizing the complex technologies that drive businesses forward.

How the Stevens Online MBA Looks to the Future of Technology

Stevens Institute of Technology boasts a rich history of innovation, and it remains at the forefront of technology and innovation today. With technology at the core of its curriculum, Stevens’ MBA program includes the additional opportunity for students to explore seven in-demand concentration areas: 

  1. Business intelligence and analytics, including coursework on marketing analytics, supply chain analytics, social network analytics and risk management 
  2. Finance, with coursework in private equity and venture capital (including exposure to the latest software and tools) 
  3. Finance analytics, with courses on Python for financial applications, financial data science and database design 
  4. Financial engineering, including coursework on computational methods (emphasizing modern software) 
  5. Information systems, with courses in digital innovation and information systems technologies 
  6. Project management, including coursework on project analytics 
  7. Sustainability management  

As a Stevens MBA student, you will learn from knowledgeable faculty, including expert business intelligence analysts who consult for top companies. 

Earn an MBA Designed for Tomorrow’s Technical Leaders

Technical skills are more important than ever for aspiring business leaders. If you want to progress into a leadership role, an MBA committed to technology and future-focused education can help you achieve your goal. 

Stevens Online MBA students develop essential technology and analytics skills, leading to a promising career outlook. Stevens ranked No.13 for best career placement by the Princeton Review (2022), with graduates working at top organizations such as Microsoft, CISCO, American Express and Verizon. The Stevens Online MBA has also consistently been ranked the No.1 online MBA in New Jersey since 2015 (U.S. News & World Report, 2022).

Contact an enrollment advisor if you want to learn more about the Stevens Online MBA program, or start your application process now if you are ready.