LeBow Launches MS in Business Information Technology: Q&A with Professor Arinze
Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, in partnership with the University’s College of Computing and Informatics, has launched an MS in Business Information Technology (MSBIT). The curriculum is designed for students who aspire to understand and manage the latest technologies that are digitally transforming the economy. Built on a stackable certificate model, the program allows participants to customize the curriculum to their unique background and career goals.
Orakwue Arinze, PhD, a professor in LeBow’s Department of Decision Sciences and Management Information Systems, explains the need for this pioneering program and some of its key features.
LeBow College of Business: What career opportunities exist for graduates of this program?
Orakwue Arinze: There is a need in organizations for people who understand both business and technology and can bridge the gap between the two. Adding the greatest value to modern organizations is only possible when you take the best of information technology and combine it with the best business practices to yield powerful solutions. Tomorrow’s business leaders need to understand at a deep level the answers to questions such as: What drives organizational performance in a digital economy? What is the role of emerging information technologies in organizational transformations? How can we align IT to best serve business needs and manage digital transformations? What are the most important tools and techniques for IT-driven execution of strategic plans? Our new master’s degree, and the stackable certificates on which it’s built, will give you clear understanding and insight into how IT assets can be leveraged in business activity to deliver superior results. This is not a pure technology program; instead, it conveys how IT is best applied to solve business problems.
LCB: What makes Drexel’s MSBIT program unique?
OA: A unique trait of our program is its conception and delivery by two colleges, Drexel’s LeBow College of Business and the College of Computing and Informatics. The faculty from both colleges bring many years of research, teaching and corporate experience in a unique mix. This gives you a powerful integration of the business and IT perspectives. Companies that execute well at the intersection of both realms perform better than their peers. We prepare business and IT professionals for this role. The format of the program is also unique, with students able to choose the certificates that best fit their needs.
LCB: Can you tell us about the certificates offered through the program?
OA: In our Digital Transformation certificate, students learn how to help their organizations through a digital transformation using design thinking. An important part of that is learning which emerging technologies and innovations accompany the process. In the Information Technology & Management certificate, students learn how to manage digitally transformed organizations that have newer IT infrastructures. It’s essential that the new technology is aligned with business operations and configured to maximize resilience. The Organizational Security certificate advances a practical framework for building end-to-end security for physical and virtual assets. Through the Information Technology Strategy & Execution certificate, students learn how to formulate IT strategies that are aligned with the wider organizational strategy as well as how to lead and execute change. The Information Systems Development certificate is more tactical in nature, for those students seeking to lead IT development projects more effectively and with greater agility.
LCB: How does the program meet current and future industry needs?
OA: The five certificates available each offer a targeted body of knowledge. To receive the MS in Business Information Technology, students will complete three of the five certificates — the one in Information Technology & Management is required, then two of the remaining four are chosen, allowing for customization. The five courses in each certificate distill key concepts, essential knowledge, use cases, technology demonstrations and exercises that lead to mastery of the material and the ability to put knowledge to productive use right away in organizations. Our program therefore meets that acute need in industry for professionals whose skills straddle the worlds of business and IT and who can effectively apply this knowledge at tactical and strategic levels in their organizations.
LCB: What opportunities for innovation exist?
OA: As companies and industries undergo digital transformation, new and updated sets of business and IT skills are needed for business and IT leaders in this new economy. Our innovative program prepares professionals for the new economy with the knowledge and skills they require to guide and manage digital operations effectively.
LCB: What experiential learning opportunities does this program provide?
OA: Using industry connections established through Drexel’s long history of cooperative education and our own leading alumni network, classes will enjoy visits by industry experts bringing distinctive corporate perspectives to bear. Our faculty and experienced career development office will also assist students in deciding the future direction of their careers. With multiple certificates or the full master’s under their belts, students will be well prepared for the next exciting phases of their careers.