The dual-degree MBA+ MSDT program
The dual-degree MBA+ MS in Digital Technology program is based in a digital tech hub of the world—Boston. Leveraging our location, you’ll acquire the coding, database management, and analytic skills you’ll need to lead on the tech-based business frontier. At the same time, you’ll get a firm grasp of the business side of technology and learn to lead dynamic teams.
MBA+ MSDT graduates are in high demand, with 2021 grads earning almost 10% higher average starting salaries than their MBA counterparts.
Earn both an MBA and an MS in Digital Technology at the same time—all in just 21 months.
Our program is multi-disciplinary, STEM certified, and focuses on the integration of business and technology. You’ll be taught by technical faculty within Questrom School of Business with expertise in both technology and business and how they relate to each other. Our students emerge with a highly differentiated skill set that prepares them to help companies leverage technology investments for optimal business outcomes. You will learn foundational key concepts such as cloud, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and platforms, as well as the technologies underpinning them. You will also learn how to create, deploy, and evolve digital products that enhance customer experiences and solve business problems.
Our students participate in a wide range of opportunities beyond the classroom. These include company-sponsored projects, site visits, the annual Tech Connect conference, and panel discussions with current tech executives and alumni, among many others. Our Boston location is ideal for connections with technical firms, from startups to huge companies across a wide range of sectors, but especially in finance and biotech.
For more than 20 years, we’ve been integrating business and technology in all of our teaching and research. A recognized leader in educating students on the importance of information technology in the digital age, we’re always seeking new ways to equip the next generation of leaders with the latest tools—so they can make the greatest impact in business and industry. Our 84-credit curriculum will give you the skills to bridge technology and business functions in a variety of product management, analytics, and consulting roles.
Learn From Digital Technology Experts
Our faculty members are conducting the research that drives innovation and best practices in today’s complex business world. Leading practitioners and thought leaders, they’ll bring their expertise directly to you in the classroom every day. The MBA+ MSDT program is led and staffed by members of Questrom’s top-ranked Information Systems department. You might be surprised by how accessible they are—they’re world-class, but they’ll know who you are and what drives your passion. You’ll remember them as your mentors, and friends…the ones who helped you reach your career goals.
Core Technical Content
The MBA+ MSDT curriculum will immerse you in content that fuses our dynamic management coursework with experiential learning in business, information, technology, and design. You’ll learn to leverage data and technology from a managerial and strategic standpoint, enabling you to transform existing markets and grow new ones—all while acquiring the global and ethical frameworks you’ll need to lead. On the technical side all students will develop skills in the following areas as part of the required classes
- Core programming concepts in Python; core databases and SQL.
- Key elements of modern Systems Architecture, Analysis and Design, needed for the creation of enterprise-scale products; applications of these concepts to Cloud-based systems.
- Performing analytics in Python (one of the most important toolsets for this in industry), including core statistics, Machine Learning, and visualization.
- First-hand experience using modern cloud-based tools, both for the creation of dynamic websites/applications as well as for other applications including for AI (i.e. chatbots, etc.).
- Leveraging technical capabilities to improve business processes and operations, and the challenges in doing this.
- Core content in product and project management; agile, and scaled agile; modern experimental methodologies in business with applications in development, marketing, and operations.
- The integration of this technical knowledge with business concepts to create strategic advantage in business.
The above content is delivered at a level/depth such that it is an appropriate foundation for all of our students. Students interested in particular areas can then go in-depth through their elective choices.
Our students get a sense of what is hard about creating products/analysis/processes that are scalable and robust in a way that you don’t get from just learning basic programming.
Because much of the MBA+ MSDT curriculum technical content relies on programming, students often have questions about this specifically. We deliver content on both core programming skills (Python) and knowledge of advanced programming constructs. While our graduates generally don’t become programmers as their primary job function, many do when occasion calls. More importantly, almost all our graduates interact with programmers regularly as part of their job function. We teach programming differently than other programs. There are enormous differences between the programs you create in Programming 101, and what is needed to create real-world products, processes, and analysis.
Alumni of our program typically hold leadership roles in one of three critical business areas, which match the three pathways offered in the program:
Product Managers shepherd a product from both a business and a technical perspective, running data analysis of product effectiveness/improvement, and managing requirements gathering and project planning and management.
Analytics professionals either perform their own analysis (at modest-sized firms) or help orchestrate teams of data scientists in larger firms. This role requires the ability to translate between business need and a request for analysis; as well as to interpret data in the light of business decision making.
Several of our alumni are working at major consultancy firms, such as PWC and Deloitte, many in the technology consulting practice. Consultants often work on business process improvement or the creation/integration of business solutions through a combination of IT and management improvements. Similarly, internal consultants often work out of the CIO or CTO’s branch of large companies, working on similar topics, but working in-house rather than through a management consulting firm. These areas are often called “Business solutions” but have a lot of different titles, in practice.
top Employers and recruiters
There are hundreds of thousands of job opportunities in these areas, from start-ups to the largest firms. Our grads join some of the most exciting firms in each of the three pathways.
- Athena Health
- CVS Health
- Goldman Sachs
- Liberty Mutual
- The Home Depot
- Thermo-Fisher Scientific
Digital Pathways Seminar Series: In the early fall, we run a seminar series focused on each of the three program pathways: Product Management, Analytics, and Internal/External Consulting. These in-depth seminars offer a wealth of content on what it takes land jobs and succeed on each career pathways. The seminars typically include a panel of guest speakers, including alumni, working in these areas.
Digital Careers Seminar Series: In the late fall and spring, we run a seminar series on topics relating to developing a career in technology and management, in which senior executives present their company and its opportunities. Topics have included Technology Trends – The good, the bad, and the ugly, Advanced Interview Techniques, Resume Creation and Job Strategies, Technology Concepts and Language Students Need to Know for Interviews, Company Focus: Walmart, Company Focus: Ford, Company Focus: Medtronic, and Company Focus: Dell/EMC.
The MBA+ MSDT program is intense, but well worth it. Our program provides both technical depth and management context—all in just 21 months.
As an MBA+ MSDT student, you’ll complete an 84-credit curriculum and a highly encouraged internship component. The program is comprised of a carefully orchestrated sequence of 7 required technical MSDT-specific classes, in addition to the MBA core. And your choice of a significant number of tech-based business electives. Most (though not all) students will use these electives to focus in one of the three pathways provided in the program: Product Management, Analytics and Internal/External Technology Consulting. Within this content you will focus on contemporary business perspectives and issues while developing solid skills in collaboration, teamwork, and entrepreneurship. Case studies will help you learn to make the best decisions for the overall organization, not just for a single department or project. You’ll learn to solve problems, avoid creating new ones, simplify issues, and optimize results. In the end, you’ll walk away with two impressive master’s degrees from Boston University in the time it takes most students to earn one!
Students in the MBA+ MSDT obtain their 84-credits from three areas:
Core MBA Curriculum/32 Credits
All students complete the Core MBA Curriculum.
Required MSDT Classes/20 Credits
Students are required to take a 7-class sequence of required classes, 4 of which are delivered in an intensive (out of semester) format. Details on these classes are provided below.
Technical Elective Classes/32 Credits
Students are required to take technology electives. These may be from a pre-approved list of electives, or students may request a class to count (including via cross-registration), provided it (a) is technical enough (b) makes sense for the program and the student’s goals (c) registration is achievable through the registrar. Further details are provided below.
During the program Launch, you’ll get started right away with Ethics, learning frameworks that will guide your perspective as you continue in the curriculum.
Your first semester is divided into two 7-week modules. In Module 1, you’ll delve into economics, accounting, and organizational behavior. At the end of the first module, you’ll apply your new knowledge and teaming skills as you evaluate a company as a possible takeover target within a sector.
Module 2 introduces you to marketing, business analytics, and finance, as well as leadership communications. You’ll polish your presentation skills in our own version of the TED Talk, a “QuestromTalk”! The module ends with a team-based business simulation, allowing you to apply your marketing and business analytics expertise.
When you return in January, you’ll complete an intensive course on digital innovation. Then, you’ll take semester-long courses in operations management, innovation and strategy, as well as options for 7-week or semester-long finance courses—go as deep as you want. In addition, now’s the time to round out the strong business foundation you’ve built with electives that spark your interest. There are 100+ Questrom electives to choose from. During this semester, you’ll also put your new skills to work in an integrative capstone project with a real company—past clients include IBM, GSK, Wayfair, and the City of Boston.
In the first three weeks of summer, you’ll take 3 courses central to your knowledge of systems and technologies. You’ll receive intensive exposure to operating systems, telecommunications, and networked systems as they relate to the management of resources and the challenges facing professionals and managers.
- Human-Centered Design: 2 CREDITS
- Data Management: 3 CREDITS
- Digital Product Construction: 3 CREDITS
By the time you start your summer internship—which is optional, but strongly encouraged—you’ll have already begun differentiating yourself from the competition through solid IT exposure, an understanding of the functional areas of business, and experience with the sectors transforming the global economy. An internship is highly recommended, and serves as an excellent way to gain exposure to, and make contacts within, your desired field.
Your second year is also semester-based. Now is when you’ll also take the first of two required classes in the year two MSDT curriculum. Specialized coursework will provide you deeper sector and functional knowledge tailored to your post-graduation plans. You’ll take the final required class in the MSDT sequence: a hands-on project class where you and your teammates will design and build a digital product while employing the agile project management approach. Three of the 10 total electives throughout the curriculum must be MSDT electives.
Technology electives comprise an important part of the degree program. The pre-approved electives are listed below. Classes outside the pre-approved list may be included for degree credit if the class meets three criterion (1) The class is technical enough (2) The class makes sense for degree context and student career goals (3) The registrar can affect enrollment.
The following courses are required.
Systems Architecture in Management and Applications (QSTIS717)
The objective of this course is to provide an overview of the concept of systems architecture and how it has evolved from a technical notion to an important business issue. The course has several themes: (1) Students develop an appreciation of how a business may leverage architectural design choices for operational and competitive advantage, both at a technical and business level. (2) Students obtain insight into how interface driven systems (those using APIs) enable flexibility and increased innovation. (3) Students are confronted with the difficult aspects of modern systems, such as parallelism and concurrency, and how these technical challenges are managed. An introduction to programming in Python provides a context to help students develop a hands-on understanding of these concepts. Care is taken to not just apply the technical material to management contexts, but also inform business strategy and organization and operations through these architectural principles.
Human Centered Design (QSTIS754)
When constructing digital artifacts, either for internal or external consumption, creating a coherent and well-motivated design is essential. This class will explore the language and key principles of design and how these impact the user experience. We will also cover the essentials of project management, including scoping as a design constraint. Students will be asked to critique existing designs and offer alternatives. Additionally, we will cover the programming topic of object orientation, and study both it and the structures it enables from a design perspective.
Digital Project Build (QSTIS756)
The modern economy is driven by dynamic websites: those whose content is created on the fly by programs, not humans. In this class we will learn the technology behind both static and dynamic websites. Students will be exposed to the concepts through lectures and labs, and ultimately by the construction of a complete dynamic website in Python using our custom infrastructure built on Google App Engine.
Introduction to Data Analytics in Python (QSTIS833)
This course will introduce students to programming-based tools and techniques for becoming analytically-minded managers. The course covers both a hands-on introduction to the concepts, methods and processes of business analytics as well as an introduction to the use of analytics as the basis for creating a competitive advantage. We will review variables, data types, conditionals, loops, and functions, and use these to introduce data structures, including DataFrames. We will also cover reading and writing raw files and the core APIs in analysis and visualization. With the basics under our belt, we will complement it with some of the most popular libraries for data analysis in Python, such as Pandas and Numpy for data manipulation, Matplotlib and Seaborn for visualization, and Jupyter Notebook for reporting. These packages will facilitate workflow and enhance the basic Python functionalities. Using them, one can effortlessly clean up a dataset, create elaborate plots, analyze and summarize the data, and produce presentable reports. Throughout the final project, we will learn to extract value from data by asking the right questions and using the appropriate analytical methods and tools. These methods comprise data preprocessing, explanatory analysis, and machine learning techniques. Prior programming experience in Python is required.
Data Management (QSTIS889)
The ability to collect, organize, access, analyze and harness data is a source of competitive advantage for some and a competitive necessity for others. Getting an organization to the point where it has a data asset it can leverage is a non-trivial task. Many firms have been shocked at the amount of work and complexity that is required to pull together an infrastructure that integrates its diverse data sources and empowers its managers. This course will provide an introduction to the concepts and technologies that are involved in managing and supporting the data assets of your organization. We will cover data modeling, relational databases, including SQL, data warehousing and business intelligence.
Synthesizing Digital Efforts to Deliver Better Outcomes (QSTIS883)
Most organizations today -- of all sizes and stages of maturity -- are undertaking internally and externally focused digital initiatives. The success of these programs varies widely and depends on numerous strategic, tactical and technical factors. Foremost among them are how individuals with skills across strategy, design, product/project management, technology, and data science think individually and how they work together collectively. In this class, students will learn and apply leading thinking, practices, and tools used by top digital professionals to design and build digital products. The first half of the course will focus on cloud technology and its effect on organizational structures and product development lifecycles. In the second half of the semester, students will organize into teams to begin work on a digital experience they will design and iteratively realize the following semester in IS890, applying skills they have learned throughout the MSDT as well as new methods including exploratory ethnography, service design, agile/scrum, and data-driven experimentation.
Digital Transformation Through Experimentation and Scaled Agile: A Practicum (QSTIS890)
This course describes how digital transformation increases the reach and speed of experimentation, and how this in turn both improves execution and supports innovation. The course will examine how successful firms integrate modeling, data gathering, analysis, knowledge synthesis, with both their planning and operations. Managing for such an approach requires not just an agile, but a scaled-agile approach, with multiple parts of the firm co-evolving in a mutually supportive way. Working in small teams, students will apply the concepts to term-length projects. The class will run as an applied studio, with teams providing constructive feedback to each other throughout the term.
we believe in teams that work
We believe there is no substitute for technical expertise. Technical skills let you go places you otherwise wouldn’t be able to go, and make you more successful regardless of your path. But we don’t just teach basic skills/programming, and leave it at that. We are just as focused on making sure our students understand the difficult challenges real-world teams face. Our program is built to enable you to confront these challenges and be equipped for success in real companies tackling the most advanced challenges.
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You can customize your MBA+ MSDT with a focus in the health sector or social impact management—in a city considered the capital of both industries. It’s your vision. We’ll help you make it real.
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