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These days, MBA students and Computer Science majors often sit next to each other. Helping to bring the two arenas closer together is the University of Washington.

Business and technology used to be very separate realms, with MBA students far from the Computer Science majors on campus. These days, they often sit next to each other. Helping to bring the two arenas closer together is University of Washington’s Business School, and spokesperson Chris LaPlante chatted about what makes the program unique.

Why did the UW Business School decide to offer a Technology Management MBA Program?

The Technology Management MBA Program has proved one of the most successful of these initiatives. In recent years, business schools around the world have developed new variations on the classic MBA, tailoring curricula, formats, and other features to the learning needs of different groups of business professionals.

The Technology Management MBA (TMMBA) Program is an example. Designed for working professionals who plan to make the leap from technology specialist to business executive, it combines elements of an executive MBA program with a focus on technology.

What does the program include?

The TMMBA program delivers a core business management curriculum with a technology focus. The curriculum builds on students’ knowledge of technology products and systems, but emphasizes the broad range of business functions that affect the enterprise as a whole.

The 18-month program kicks off in January each year, so students can graduate by June of the following year. Classes meet every Monday at the UW Business School’s Eastside Executive Center in Kirkland, convenient to many of the high-tech businesses located on the east side of Lake Washington, including Microsoft. Classes also meet every other Saturday, either in Kirkland or the UW’s Seattle campus.

What makes the program unique?

Much of the appeal of the program comes from the high-powered students it attracts. Since a class, or cohort, of students is relatively small–just over 50–and the group stays together throughout the program, students tend to form close bonds that last long after graduation.

The opportunity to share experiences with colleagues from many of the area’s leading companies and develop an instant network of contacts draws many prospective students. Top-notch faculty and the reputation of the UW MBA–the only nationally ranked graduate management program in the Northwest–add to the appeal.

What are some of the challenges you think your technology students are facing right now?

It’s more important now than ever for students to understand technology in the context of business, to be able to speak the language of finance, marketing, operations and the other major functional areas of business.

Turning an idea into a real business opportunity, using information technology to solve business problems, making good business decisions about investments in technology–all these require technological expertise and business savvy.

Certainly some students will continue to focus just on the technology side, but the number of workers with skill sets in many tech fields is growing–just look at the outsourcing trend–and therefore competition for jobs is greater If you have the tech expertise and understand business too, your chances for job security and career advancement are better in the long run.

That’s the premise on which the UW Business School has based its tech-related programs.

Do you know a Seattle company we should cover? Let us know about it. Send your local profile candidates to Elizabeth Millard at [email protected] computeruser.com.

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