The skills required to run a high-technology company often bear little resemblance to those that were needed to launch it. But learning to manage such key problems as rapid growth, foreign competition, and technological obsolescence is not something America's traditional business schools emphasize.
Starting this fall, however, Boston's Northeastern University will offer a Master of Business Administration program designed specifically for high-tech employees eager to climb management ranks in an increasingly competitive industry.
With classes meeting nights, alternate Saturdays, and occasional full weekends, the intensive part-time program leads to an M.B.A. in two years. Though other universities, including Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offer project-oriented management training for engineers, Northeastern claims to have the first program geared to general management in high-tech companies.
Northeastern's new program is making its debut at a time when the entire high-technology industry is facing a critical shortage of both engineers and managers. Indeed, notes Howard Foley, president of the Massachusetts High Technology Council, which is made up of 125 firms employing some 115,000 persons, there's a need among member companies for thousands of engineers and "at least a couple hundred managers." Northeastern will admit 35 students to its first entering class.
Over the past three years, Foley says, MHTC companies have assisted North-eastern in developing its curriculum. The program combines standard management courses in such areas as finance, cost accounting, and marketing with subjects like managing research and development efforts, and international technology transfer.