In 2001, as I walked past an office, I noticed a senior manager racing through a book. The subject?
Objects for managers.
Unfortunately, the book couldn’t salvage his software project -- a train wreck that cost the company millions.
Two years later, at another company, an MBA presented an architecture diagram to a group of customers. The problem?
He used smiley faces to represent computer servers. After the laughter stopped, the customers opted for an early lunch.
These stories are symptoms of a larger problem. Today, business projects require a blend of business and technology, however, few employees have both skills.
Sure, there are companies where business managers and software teams connect. On the other hand, business and technology are often at swords’ points. Professionals with business and technology skills can heal the divide: They are able to bridge the gap between business and technology -- and drive your company from the peninsula of opportunity to the headlands of new products.
Picture business and technology as two separate streams. As you study both streams, you will reach a point where the ideas and concepts from each stream flow together to form a river. When you harness the power of the river, you will succeed where others have failed.
Academia has never been known for being fleet of foot when it comes to change. But Hasan Pirkul, dean of the School of Management at UTD, sees himself as coach of the sprinting team.Dr. Pirkul is customer-focused -- he seeks feedback from Dallas companies, then develops academic programs. What else are executives looking for?
“Speed to market is the critical issue for corporations today,” says the 48-year-old dean. “Our programs need to reflect that. Well, guess what? Typically when a university wants to change its curriculum, it takes at least a couple of years. Too long.”
Business leaders are searching for professionals with a better blend of business and technology.
So Dr. Pirkul and Bob Helms, dean of engineering and computer sciences, put their minds together and developed two integrated programs to do just that.
Later this summer, the two deans expect to announce a joint master’s program, through which a student can earn both a master’s of science in engineering or computer science and an MBA in about one semester less time.
“So you have an engineer who also understands and is proficient in business topics,” Dr. Pirkul says happily. “It’s a dream come true.”