IT Skills Sorely Lacking in Harvard MBAs

Are business schools adequately preparing MBA students with the IT skills that tomorrow’s companies will demand? Not according to a recent article in The Harbus, which asserts that Harvard Business School in particular is behind the curve when it comes to teaching students how to interact effectively with IT-oriented members of the C-suite.

“Today the HBS curriculum gives us powerful insights into CFOs and CMOs, but multiple alums observed that noticeably missing is the CIO and CTO perspective,” write Lauren Lockwood and Sean Liu, the article’s authors.

Whereas HBS once dominated in preparing students for today’s technology, and in fact was the first business school in the country to require every student to own a personal computer, the school now offers courses in this area only as electives in each individual HBS department.

In contrast, the authors note that MIT Sloan School of Management requires all students take “Data, Models, and Decisions”, and Stanford Graduate School of Business requires “Information Management”, whose syllabus states: “Knowledge of technology (computing, networks, software applications, etc.) is a prerequisite for a successful manager.”

“Information technology has infiltrated the senior ranks, becoming an integral part of building competitive advantage, securing information, understanding clients, predicting trends, and increasing productivity,” say Lockwood and Liu, who point to a growing importance of making IT decisions at senior levels.

The article offers an eye-opening look at how Harvard Business School has lost its tech lead and leaves its MBAs with a technology skill set gap. “It’s inexcusable that the curriculum today fails to cover the implications of technology for management, strategy, and organization, fundamental to accurately reflecting the real world for tomorrow’s leaders,” say Liu and Lockwood, who want these courses offered as part of the required curriculum now.

“You have to look no further than the debacle to appreciate the level of senior involvement necessary in IT decisions.”

Read the complete story of HBS’s Technology Skill Set Gap here.



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