In the fast-moving world of tech, it's important for professionals to enter the workforce with the skills they need to succeed. We gathered insights from experts and alumni to find out why the INSEAD Master in Management (MIM) is a top contender if you're thinking about working in the tech industry.
The wide world of tech
When you think of “tech,” it’s easy to think about Silicon Valley and the “Big Five” – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. But the world of TMT (technology, media, and telecommunication) is incredibly vast, filled with career opportunities in sub-sectors from hardware and software to “tech-enabled” firms which leverage technology to provide services to other businesses and individuals.
According to Viet Anh Vu, Assistant Director and Employment Engagement Specialist in TMT at INSEAD’s Career Development Centre, the trends that have emerged over the course of the pandemic include e-commerce, e-logistics, fintech, ed-tech and health-tech. Online entertainment spaces such as gaming, e-sports, and on-demand media content streaming are also becoming more popular, Viet says.
“Most importantly, in the B2B space, there is a strong demand for companies to migrate online to operate and conduct their businesses. We’re talking about online collaboration tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or retail-enabled platforms such as Shopify, Oddle as well as many other similar tools that have all become very sought after in this period.”
For graduates interested in pursuing a career in tech, there is a wide range of opportunities to consider, not only in terms of job functions but also various sub-sectors within the tech industry.
Large vs. small firms: Potential career paths for MIM graduates
“The type of job that you get when you graduate from the MIM is what we call ‘early career,’” Viet explains.
There are two types of "early career" approaches to consider. If you want to join a large company with more structured career pathway, they often offer what is commonly called an ‘early-career talent programme’, Viet says. “Usually, this will entail a rotation of function, rotation of location, or starting in a function from where you would grow progressively over a period of one to five years.”
On the other hand, if you’re interested in joining a smaller firm with less structured planning for early-career talent, then you can try to get in through internships, Viet advises. “The advantage of joining a small company with strong growth is that you can navigate and design your own career path. You will get to experience much more by wearing many hats and taking on more responsibility.”
Whatever path you choose, working in tech offers huge opportunities for growth and impact.
“There are three things I learnt about the tech sector that I want to share,” says INSEAD alum Parin Mehta. “One is that you really control your own destiny so it’s very important to build your own network and get to know people and different companies. The second one would be that the industry is constantly changing, so it’s very important to be comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. And I guess the third one is that it gives you a big license to think big and solve really big problems.” Parin is currently the Managing Director - Asia Pacific at Airbnb, and previously served as the Head of Strategic Partnerships - Southeast Asia at Google.
How does the INSEAD MIM prepare students for a career in tech?
With an intense core curriculum that focuses on fundamental business topics combined with relevant electives such as Agile Bootcamp, Technology and Innovation Strategy, and New Business Ventures, the INSEAD MIM programme gives its students key skills to launch a successful career in tech.
Moreover, who better to learn from than people who have worked in the industry? INSEAD boasts a faculty who often have impressive work experience themselves. Gopi Rangan, for example, is a Founding Partner at Sure Ventures and Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at INSEAD. Earlier in his career, Gopi spent several years in key product development positions in technology research and intellectual property and operations.
"In today's world when you build technology companies, they tend to be quite global in nature from day one," adds Marcus Swanepoel, INSEAD alum and Co-Founder & CEO of Bitcoin company BitX. "So the cultural diversity that you have at INSEAD and the ability to work really well with people from different disciplines and cultures prepares you well for working in a startup. We did a lot of courses that were very relevant to the startup world - and this has been phenomenally valuable.”
INSEAD is also home to several student clubs, including the INSEAD Technology Media and Telecom (TMT) Club, which has a partnership with Microsoft and Bain & Company.
From Google to TransferWise to Airbnb: INSEAD alumni are “tech-ing” over
The INSEAD alumni community is over 64,000-strong - and many of them work in the tech industry.
“If you do a quick LinkedIn search, there are over 400 people with an INSEAD connection within Google,” Viet demonstrates. “If you look at Amazon, it’s over 500. If you look at Microsoft, it’s over 250.”
As we’ve mentioned previously, however, it’s not only about the “Big Tech” firms. INSEAD also generated famous serial entrepreneurs like Taavet Hinrikus, Founder of TransferWise, and Frédéeric Mazzella, Founder of BlaBlaCar in France.
In conclusion, “Technology is interesting to INSEAD students because there is a lot of change,” says Chris Higgins, Assistant Director at INSEAD’s Career Development Centre. “Our role is working with employers to help them understand the value of INSEAD talent, and also with our students to really help them understand the market and to help them prepare their pitch to think about where they would most fit into one of these organisations.”