Elizabeth is a current Tech MBA student, specializing in Business Analytics, Tech Product Management, and Strategy. Prior to Stern, she worked at Methods+Mastery as a Business Intelligence Analyst supporting full-scale social intelligence and analytics work streams for Google and YouTube. Post-MBA, she plans to pursue a business analytics or strategy role in the tech industry. At Stern, she is a part of several clubs, including the Graduate Marketing Association (GMA), Stern Management & Strategy Club (SMS), Stern Women in Business (SWIB), and Stern Technology Association (STA). Additionally, Elizabeth is a part of the 2023-2024 Makhoul Family Leadership Fellows Program. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys playing volleyball, collecting rare plants, and spending time with her dog Shelby.
Venturing into the tech world can seem like an arduous journey, especially if you come from a non-tech background like me. When I first enrolled in the NYU Stern Andre Koo Tech MBA program, I was thrilled and apprehensive. My resume spelled out my strengths in customer experience, analytics, and market research. I have worked with tech clients, but diving deep into tech? That was a different ballgame.
My initial concerns revolved around whether I’d be able to grasp the intricacies of the engineering side of the tech industry and its ever-evolving landscape. The jargon, the coding, and the business models all seemed very distant from my past experiences. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career, it’s that challenges are opportunities in disguise.
Embracing the Learning Curve
The start was, unsurprisingly, a steep learning curve. Terms like distributed cloud, blockchain, and quantum computing were often thrown around. Long hours were dedicated to online tutorials, intensive reading, and numerous consultations with professors and classmates. Every project became an opportunity, a stepping stone to assimilate and learn more.
One key realization for me was that my non-tech background was not a disadvantage but a unique lens through which I could approach problems. My analytical skills, honed from diving deep into consumer insights or strategizing market research for leading brands, allowed me to approach tech challenges with a distinct perspective.
Leveraging My Unique Perspective
In group discussions and projects, I found that my questions – often rooted in the “why” rather than the “how” – brought new dimensions to the table. It was a reminder that tech, at its core, is about solving human-centric problems. And as the classes unfolded, the parallels between my analytical background and the technical intricacies became evident. Coding, much like marketing analytics, became a methodical dance of logic and creativity. Each algorithm, every line of code, mirrored the systematic approach I’d honed over the years, albeit in a different language.
The real victory, however, wasn’t just about grasping these technical skills but realizing that my background wasn’t a limitation; it was a strength. The skills I had developed over the years were adaptable, relevant, and crucial to my success in this new environment.
Building a Supportive Network
The NYU community was invaluable in my journey. From professors who went the extra mile to explain complex topics to peers who shared their tech expertise, I was surrounded by a supportive network. Study groups became collaborative learning experiences, and late-night discussions often led to eureka moments.
Joining the NYU Stern Andre Koo Tech MBA with a non-tech background is not just about acquiring technical knowledge but also about integrating diverse skills to bring fresh perspectives to the tech industry.
For anyone considering a tech MBA with a non-tech background, here’s my advice:
- Embrace the Learning Curve: Every challenge is an opportunity to grow.
- Leverage Your Unique Perspective: Your non-tech background can offer invaluable insights.
- Build a Supportive Network: Surround yourself with those who can complement your skills.
In hindsight, my non-tech background was not a hindrance but a strength. It has equipped me with a holistic understanding of tech, blending the technical with the human, and uniquely positioned me in the tech world.