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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Leadership and Service

PLU Business Department
Building Bridges

The MBA Program— Technology and Innovation Management

In the business world, technology and globalization are creating new industries, restructuring existing ones and radically changing the way firms compete.

“Preparing students for the future goes beyond learning technology,” said School of Business professor Jim Albers. “It means students getting involved in the community and industry…exposing students to the world around them opens up new opportunities for all of us.”

Albers should know, because the School of Business took a golden opportunity by hiring him. In the mid-‘90s, Albers was a NASA executive who had a wealth of experience spanning 30 years. Yet Albers wanted something else—a way to take his technological and management experience into the classroom, and create business students who were prepared for contemporary challenges. Luckily for PLU, the School of Business was looking for someone just like him.

Albers was given the opportunity to research and develope a program involving technology integration at PLU. Born in the fall of 1996 was TIM, the Technology & Innovation Management Program for MBA students.

The specialization in Technology and Innovation Management provides MBA students an education focused on specific issues relevant to technology companies and industries. The program is for non-technical employees who want a deeper appreciation of technical management issues and for technical employees who want a business education that has greater relevance to their careers.

One of the classes, Managing Innovation and Technology Change, focuses on the planning and implementation of major new technologies, processes or systems which pose significant uncertainty and the necessity of fundamental change in the organization’s design, culture, and industry structure. Students do not just learn how to use technology, but how to adapt, confront real world problems and come into the job market prepared for their careers.

“Students learn how to value change,” Albers said. “Along with TIM, our students continue to get involved in the local community and industry. I think these things help differentiate us from other programs.”

Another differentiation comes in a variation on an old School of Business theme. Like the groundbreaking evening MBA offered decades ago, one option today is to pursue the MBA/TIM program in a two-year, Saturday-only format. Whatever program PLU students pursue, whether it’s the MBA or the MBA/TIM, they can take advantage of all of the Technology and Innovation Management Courses.

“One of the advantages we have is our understanding of a student’s need for flexibility,” said Catherine Pratt, MA ’93, assistant dean and director of the MBA Program. “We appreciate the constraints on the working adult. While maintaining the integrity of a rigorous program, PLU students can still have a job, and a life.”

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