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How Can Business School Help Women Land MBA Jobs in Tech?

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An MBA is essential for anyone looking to get ahead in business. But for women in business wanting to break into traditionally male-dominated industries, an MBA can be a great way to boost your network, build your confidence, and gain the skills needed to thrive in your career.

Of those industries, the technology sector is booming. Global tech job growth is set to continue over the next few years, hitting more than 60 million roles by 2023, according to Statista.

Here are four ways business school can prepare women for MBA jobs in tech.

1. Business school will equip you with the specialized skillset required for MBA jobs in tech

Working in the tech industry requires an understanding of tech and digital trends, as well as the confidence to apply specialist skills to multiple projects. Katya Lobynko, an Asia School of Business (ASB) MBA graduate, joined the 20-month ASB MBA as she wanted to challenge herself. After working in digital project management at Procter & Gamble (P&G) for five years, she was ready to move onto a new business adventure in Southeast Asia.

“What attracted me to ASB was the Action Learning (AL) component, because I never wanted to just go and sit at a desk,” she says. Throughout Action Learning, students work in teams on five consultancy-based projects, with students solving business problems for global companies like Microsoft, Google, or Samsung. Katya says it helped sharpen her digital skills in a real-world setting.

ASB is also in partnership with the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a mix of ASB and MIT Sloan faculty lead these projects alongside the core and elective MBA modules. Katya worked with an early-stage sports startup to advise on how to build a business model for a multi-sided platform, and with a leading hypermarket chain in Thailand to revamp their marketing strategy.

During the ASB MBA Summer Internship Program, she also worked on a go-to market strategy for a newly created innovative unit of General Electric, gaining insight into the Industry 4.0 and cutting-edge tech innovations like 3D printing using metal. She explains that these experiences honed her ‘Sharp’ technical skills like how to make data-based decisions, design business processes, and run operations.

She says she uses these skills today in her role as a global commercial data lead for a consumer healthcare division of the global pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, a Paris-based firm she joined after the ASB MBA. ASB’s focus on technology means that, on average, 52% of ASB MBAs enter tech and innovation after graduating.

2. Business School will prepare you for MBA jobs in tech by training you to lead diverse teams

Becoming a successful woman in the technology industry isn’t just about having good tech skills—it’s also about knowing how to lead diverse teams. The ASB MBA classroom provides that learning environment with, on average, 43% women and 70% international students in each cohort. “I was lucky to learn from and work with other people from different industries, different backgrounds, and different countries,” says Katya, adding that everyone had something unique to bring to the table.

She says that learning about communication styles in the Organizational Behavior course helped to improve her ‘Smart’ skills like listening and adaptability, which she put into practice during AL projects. “I learned that what really makes a difference is how you can bring people together,” she notes.

3. Going to business school will broaden your professional network in tech

Working alongside other likeminded women in business and women in tech during an MBA offers a great opportunity to build a professional network. On the ASB MBA, Katya explains that she was not only able to network with her peers but that many faculty members and advisors on the AL projects were successful women in business.

“It really helped to see women in leadership positions to look up to,” she says. “What I’m trying to do now is to make sure that I do my best to lift up women who are at an earlier stage of their careers and help pave the way for them as well, which is especially important in a male-dominated industry like IT.”

4. Business school can give you access to women in tech MBA scholarships

Offering scholarships and fellowships to talented women in business is one of several ways that MBA programs are proving their commitment to diversifying the business world. Katya was a recipient of the ASB Scholarship for the Unconventional Candidates. She believes that her prior career in an IT team within one of the biggest FMCG companies worldwide, as well as coming from a small town on the far east of Eurasia, played a big part in helping her land a place at ASB and receive a scholarship.

“I think my version of a ‘self-made woman’ story resonates with the ASB spirit of entrepreneurship and empowerment.” ASB also partners with the 30% Club, a global organization dedicated to increasing gender representation at the board level, to offer MBA fellowships to women who’ve faced challenges in the workplace in relation to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Finding a business school that partners with diversity-based organizations is a good way to know whether the MBA program you’re choosing supports your individual needs and career goals. Some schools may also offer MBA scholarships to women pursuing careers in tech. Pursuing a career in technology will mean embracing an agile mindset, becoming well versed in evolving digital trends, and knowing how to combine your specialist tech skills with leadership qualities.

These are all skills you can develop while at business school, helping prepare you for MBA jobs in tech after you graduate. “The ASB MBA made me realize that a code or a business strategy doesn’t care if it’s a woman or a man who creates it—your skills and knowledge are what’s really important.” It’s estimated that diverse and inclusive companies are 60% more likely to outperform their peers. “Having women at the decision-making table is crucial if your company wants to succeed,” concludes Katya.

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This article was originally published on BusinessBecause, a network helping MBA students make connections before, during and after their MBA.