New MBA Program in Management of Technology

Sep 01, 1999

Global competition in high technology has created an unprecedented need for managers who have both the technical and management skills to lead high growth organizations that rely on intellectual capital.

B.C.’s high technology sector is about to get a boost in its pool of management, thanks to a new MBA program in Management of Technology (MoT) at Simon Fraser University.

“Technology is B.C.’s fastest growing economic activity right now and the sector has severe labour shortages in both technical skills and management skills,” says FBA Dean John Waterhouse. “Our objective is to increase the number of people with management skills who work in the technology sector.”

The program, which begins in February 2000, consists of two 11 week semesters of full-time study, followed by an applied work project involving a real-world business problem with a high technology company.

“Our job is to provide students with the know-how and credentials to move beyond project work in high technology into management positions,” says Ernie Love, Academic Director of this new program. “There is a great deal to learn about the principles and practices of managing technological innovation. Moving from innovation to implementation requires strategizing in several

dimensions concurrently and both the technical and the business risks must be managed.” Interspersed throughout the

program are a series of conferences and workshops involving key representatives of the industry who offer insights into such topics as negotiation and conflict management, ethics and corporate responsibilities, and personal career planning.

The MoT program is based on the popular cohort model where the same group of students take all classes together and complete much of their work in small project teams. The model is the same used by the faculty’s EMBA program, which is also targeted to working managers and involves a combination of work and learning experiences. In addition to the accelerated 9-month schedule, working students who choose to continue their employment can take advantage of the program’s flexible cohort model, completing their studies over 5 semesters.

“It is the only program of its kind in western Canada,” says MoT MBA Executive Director Tom Brown, who also directs the Faculty’s Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (GDBA).

“The MoT MBA has been developed from the ground up in consultation with our business advisory council and continues the university’s long tradition of industry collaboration,” says Brown. “Many students are supported by their companies, either financially or by receiving time off to complete their studies.”

When the program was being developed, the faculty created a partnership – the MoT Business Council – with companies and organizations that will provide business problems for students and faculty to solve, support faculty research in management of technology, and provide jobs for students (see below).

The MoT Business Council will also work with SFU’s Learning Strategies Group (see story on page 3) to help identify their learning needs and to design corporate strategies and university level courses to meet those needs.

High tech workers interested in pursuing an MoT MBA must have at least two years of work experience, a university degree in a non-business area, and either a certificate from SFU’s new one year, on-line Graduate Diploma in Business Administration or a business degree and work experience in technology. Cost for the full-time, one-year program, which begins in February 2000 in the new TIME Centre at the downtown Harbour Centre campus, is $15,000.