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Argument: MBA is a good way to get into inner circle of a business

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Thomas Mackay. "10 reasons why you should get an MBA." CIO.com. July 5th, 2007: "3. An MBA is your ticket to the inner circle.

Many CIOs are concerned about not having a seat at the table. That's because IT is often regarded as tactical and not strategic, and because business leaders are not usually ready to talk about tactical technology solutions in the early stages of planning any business initiative. If you as an IT manager have an MBA, you're seen as having more to offer than just your knowledge of technology.

Indeed, you do have more to offer because you possess that broad business mindset, and your colleagues recognize your value by asking you informally for your perspective on their problems and formally to lead up committees that aren't technology-related. For example, I recently had a conversation with the associate vice president for auxiliary services at Christopher Newport University. He was trying to determine the best locations for serving lunches to students based on where they lived. I suggested that he might be better off syncing up lunch locations with the places where students had classes around lunchtime. He liked the idea and wanted to move forward with it. We then began to discuss marketing and sales analysis ideas for the university bookstore.

My exchange with the associate vice president for auxiliary services is notable not because my idea was so brilliant, but because the conversation happened in the first place. When you have those conversations with your business counterparts and start offering insight, they will think of you the next time a strategic issue comes up and they'll be far more likely to get you involved in conversations early on. I've experienced that at Christopher Newport University and at my previous employer, the College of William and Mary, where I was asked to lead an effort to develop a formal donor-prospecting process for our fund-raising efforts. This process was a hugely critical component of an impending fund-raising campaign. Even though this process wasn’t technology-based, I was asked to lead it because of the credibility I had as a business person."

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