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Kathy G., Architecture Integrator

Kathy G., Architecture Integrator

A Day in the Life of Kathy G., Architecture integrator at one of the largest banking companies in Newark, New Jersey, U.S.

MBA Information Technology (IT)

What I Do

Upon completing the MBA in 2002, I accepted a job as an IT architect. I am responsible for setting up a strategy for a particular section of the banking company’s technology for a given line of business.

I do this in consultation with architects specialized in their disciplines, such as applications, security, etc. I need to look at where the company wants to be three to five years in the future, consult with senior management, and gain their buy-in to the plan. Once this is agreed, I need to sell it to the rest of the stakeholders and ensure it gets implemented.

What I Enjoy Most

Although I am new in this architecture role, what attracts me about the opportunity is the exposure I will have to planning IT at a more strategic level. This job will also provide me with exposure to the senior management team of the bank so I can become aware of the issues they are dealing with. I should be able to put into practice new skills and business vocabulary that I have acquired through the MBA.

Architecture is well respected in the bank, and I am excited about joining this team, as we will be a key team in driving the future view of the bank.

What I Enjoy Least

Prior to this new role and company, some of the more difficult things I encountered in IT development were:

  • the continual chasing after a moving target when trying to develop and test a new application
  • explaining technical problems encountered to nontechnical managers. I have learned to deal with this by documenting decisions in detail and obtaining official signoff before continuing a course of action. Also, I have learned the value of spending time preparing my explanations to meet the level of the manager’s understanding.

Why I Chose This Career

I wanted to move away from a development and operational role within IT into a more strategic role. I have extensive experience in IT application development, but I wanted to move into a position where I would be exposed to the decision makers and visionaries within a company. Here, I use my past experience and the new skills gained through my MBA.

Desirable Traits to Be Successful in This Career

You must have an aptitude and understanding for technology, combined with a broader view of business issues facing senior management and companies in a competitive environment. Then, develop your ability to communicate clearly and present your results to nontechnical people.

It helps to have the confidence to stand up for your views against strong-willed managers or team members.

Words of Advice If You Are Considering This Career Path

You need to be prepared to work long, hard hours when necessary. Keep up-to-date with business trends as well as changes within the technology arena, which can be leveraged by your clients, whether internal, as in my case, or external, as in consulting.

You need to be able to work in a team, yet still be a self-starter and take ownership of your own projects.

You must have good communication skills and be presentable to the management who will be your clients. The more planning you do in all areas of the technical project development lifecycle, the better prepared you will be to overcome and deal with issues that raise their heads at inopportune times.

What I Did Before This (Including Pre-MBA and Post-MBA Jobs)

Prior to getting the MBA, I spent two years as a management consultant with Deloitte Consulting. Before that, I spent 11 years in application development (programming, systems analysis, project management, business analysis) in financial institutions within South Africa, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom.

Educational Background (Undergraduate, MBA, Other)

In MBA Programs, I’d Suggest You Look For…

  • reputation of the MBA program and business school in the workplace
  • quality and business credentials of the lecturing staff
  • evidence that the subject matter covered is current and relevant to business today in your field of interest
  • opinions offered by past students