Why I Added an MBA to my Computer Engineering Degree

Sarah Graduating with an MBA

Sarah Graduating with an MBA (Photo credit: sazbean)

Having a computer engineering degree with a concentration in software engineering is very marketable right now.  So why did I go back to get my MBA in marketing and strategy? When I originally started my business back in 1998, I was hand-coding websites in html and php. As I worked with clients to design websites for their businesses, I quickly realized that the technology intersected the business and marketing. Not only was there an opportunity to design websites as marketing tools, it was an imperative. To properly serve business, you need to understand business.

The Language of Business

While understanding the marketing and usability behind a good website is not difficult, larger organizations consider much more than marketing when deciding what online channels they will use and how they will use them.  An MBA helps understand the language of business, which is much more than marketing — finance, accounting, human resources, operations, etc. All aspects of business influence and affect how a company should market — understanding these extends the services offered from building a website to creating and implementing an online marketing strategy.

More Than Books

There is a reason that much of the best learning is done in a mentor-mentoree relationship — learning is more than just understanding words and images in a book.  Teachers have experience and subject-matter expertise that is invaluable, and classroom discussions expose different ways of thinking and new ideas which can be helpful for brainstorming and innovation.

Access to Unique Instructors

Some of my favorite and most valuable classes in my MBA were taught by Adjuncts, who I would not otherwise be able to learn from.  I had an advertising course taught by a former BVDO executive, a sales management course taught by a former VP at Gartner Research and a branding class taught by an design expert from Whirlpool.  None of the learning in these classes was covered in a textbook (we didn’t even have one) — and the relationships built with these experts extends beyond the classroom.

Reputation & Networking

The right MBA is more than just acquiring the business know-how.  It builds reputation and professional networks. Yes, I can stand on my accomplishments, but having an MBA from a top school lends credibility to everything I say and makes it that much easier to consult for larger organizations. I’ve also received referrals and sales leads from my classmates and alumni from the school that I have never even met.

As a business owner offering services in marketing strategy, getting an MBA provided the opportunity and knowledge to extend my services from website design and programming, and has proven invaluable for credibility and professional networking.

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