New McCombs masters program fosters creative technology skills

London Gibson

A new McCombs School of Business masters program will fill the need for education in information technology and management skills starting in July 2018.

The Master of Science in Information Technology and Management (MSITM) program will accept students from a variety of majors and backgrounds to develop skills working with emerging technologies in a creative space, program director Caryn Conley said.

“There aren’t a whole lot of people out there with this skill in business to help figure out how we can use these emerging technologies to generate social value or business value,” Conley said. “This is the primary opportunity to create one of these programs with courses that bring business together with these newer technologies.”

For ten months, enrolled students will learn about a variety of topics including advanced programming, web development and technology design, Conley said. The program is 36 hours and lasts three semesters, beginning in July and ending in May. 

Only current UT undergraduates will have the opportunity to apply for the program early their junior year, said Briana Weiland, senior academics program coordinator for McCombs. These students will take their first semester of the program the summer between junior and senior year and finish the final two semesters the fall and spring semesters after graduation.

Weiland said applying to the program early allows students to know what they will be doing after they graduate and gives them the freedom to look for an internship in the gap between graduating and beginning the program. She also said early UT admissions will be freed from some application requirements.

“One of the perks of applying earlier on like that in their junior year is that they are waived the GRE and GMAT requirements,” Weiland. “They won’t have to take that standardized test, which is really nice.”

In-state tuition for the program is $38,000 while out-of-state students will pay $43,000, slightly less than some other current McCombs masters of science programs like those of business analytics or finance. 

The program has been in the works for about five years now, said Prabhudev Konana, associate dean of instructional innovation. Konana said he first proposed the concept in 2011 to previous dean Tom Gilligan, but it was put on the back burner until earlier this year when current McCombs dean Jay Hartzell supported pushing the idea forward. 

Konana said the biggest growth in business today comes from advanced technology like cognitive computing and artificial intelligence. He said this new program will help to fill a lack of undergraduate education in this area at UT and across the country.

“(The program) shows leadership in terms of thinking creatively and thinking about creating the talent that is in big shortage today,” Konana said.

Fostering education in the field of information technologies and management will benefit the business community and UT students on the whole, Konana said. 

“Today, many U.S. companies go to other parts of the world to get this talent, and we should be producing that here,” Konana said. “This is the talent we need, and we need to develop that kind of talent.”