Moore’s Law & the Tech MBA

Nicholas Imbriglia is a Tech MBA candidate specializing in Tech Product Management and Sustainable Business & Innovation. Prior to Stern, Nicholas worked as an engineer and engineering manager at companies such as Siemens, athenahealth, and Intel. He is passionate about technology’s ability to improve lives and, upon graduation, plans to return to the tech workforce to help deliver novel solutions with a positive impact for society.

Moore’s Law (admittedly, more of an observation than a law of nature…) states that the number of transistors that can be fit onto a microprocessor doubles about every two years. Every 18 months, if we’re being technical. And we ARE being technical. This is the Tech MBA, after all! But nitpicking aside, Mr. Gordon Moore’s famous doctrine is meant to illustrate just how fast technology can progress in a short period of time.

I didn’t want to play catch up

It was this thought that was going through my head as I considered my options for business school. After over 10 years of working in technical roles, ranging from semiconductor development to healthcare SAAS products, the prospect of going back to school for two years seemed excessive… extravagant, even. Especially for someone old enough to remember using floppy disks and playing with tamagotchis (look them up). And with the way things move in tech, I wondered if I wouldn’t be falling behind while getting my MBA. Could I afford to be out of the tech scene, not to mention without a salary, for such a length of time? Would I be playing catch up when I returned? As someone who planned on going straight back to the tech industry after business school, there were parts of me that wondered if it was worth it, both from a financial and a developmental point of view. 

Beyond the standard

That’s where the Stern Tech MBA really shone through for me. I’ll admit, when I first started researching NYU Stern, I didn’t even know they had a focused, one year MBA program. When I found information about it on the Stern website, I recall thinking “huh, that’s interesting,” and quickly brushing it aside. At first blush, it seemed too different. It deviated too much from what I considered the “standard business school” experience. But as I went through the application process (at Stern and elsewhere) and the reality of two years out of the workforce hit me, I realized I didn’t want the standard. In fact, I wanted a program catered more towards the tech industry, with an immersive curriculum, a quicker turnaround, and a superior ROI. And that’s exactly what Stern’s Tech MBA offered. When the moment of truth came on my Stern application, I selected the one year program and never looked back.

Staying in the game

And, in many ways, it’s not just the shorter program length that ensures you are “back in the industry” quicker. If anything, the Tech MBA curriculum ensures you are at the cutting edge of it. Regular visits to tech offices (Google, Uber, and Pfizer to name a few) and guest speakers from a range of tech fields (fintech, healthcare, smart cities, Web3, etc.) guarantee you have your finger firmly on the pulse of the tech scene in New York. NYU also has a history of offering classes that focus on the newest trends in technology and business. Many of my classmates are taking electives on blockchain and extended reality. I myself am enrolled in a renewable energy markets course.

So, with all that in mind, I was able to rest easy with my decision to enroll in the Stern Tech MBA. The focused experience has been an enlightening one so far and our cohort has been having a truly wonderful time. The irony of it all may be that, come graduation in May, we won’t want it to end. But when we wrap up our one year and enter back out into the wider working world, we will do so armed with new tools and insights, ready to supercharge our careers after a fraction of the time of a traditional business school offering. After all, Moore’s Law waits for no one.

Why is it Important to Understand Innovation?

Joseph Schumpeter, one of the most important economists of last century, related growth with the capacity to innovate. He coined the term “creative destruction” to describe the process of disrupting old habits (products, services, practices, etc.) for new ones. He saw capitalism as the most useful system to incentivize the impactful power of entrepreneurs to create and deliver value for improving quality of life for people.

In the last decades we have witnessed new technologies maturing in parallel, and due to the pandemic, many trends have accelerated. A lot of capital has moved from traditional industries to nontraditional, and new technologies and startups are disrupting old and long-lasting industries. This is supported by based technologies like cloud, IoT, 5G, blockchain, among others, that have been granting more innovation.

So why is it important to understand this? Innovation is uncertain and nobody can predict the future, but it does have patterns. Understanding how disruption has behaved in the past can allow us to understand in what part of its development each technology is located. Sometimes, technologies are received with a lot of echoes by the market, and we may think that they won’t stop until they have been generalized and used in many fields. Many times, this is only hype, fueled by a trend that won’t last. In order to improve, they may need more time, more capital, or perhaps the technology is not disruptive or useful enough.

Innovation normally coexists between three edges: technology, business, and regulation. Therefore, a Tech MBA is incredibly relevant. The program uses technology as a toolkit for facing business challenges in a way that creates and delivers value. There are cases in which is the problem involves more than simple business, like health tech, and understanding these concepts helps us drive impactful change.

We are living in a time in which most industries are trying to transform into tech. This transformation could be in how they reach their clients, in the experience that their customers have, in production, or in how they use data (among MANY others). Stern’s Tech MBA combines resources and knowledge to be able to connect the dots, lead teams, create capabilities to build a stronger vision for facing the future.