Higher education is gearing up to supply what e-businesses desperately need: IT professionals and executives who understand how Internet technology can support business goals.
"There will be very few non-e-businesses five years from now, so the content is changing across our entire curriculum," said Richard Baskerville, chairman of the Computer Information Systems department at Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, in Atlanta. The changes—most notably, giving graduate students with undergraduate technical degrees a solid foundation in business management skills—are aimed at producing IT professionals whose breadth of business knowledge will make them invaluable employees, Baskerville said.
"These students may ultimately work as IT managers, CIOs or consultants, but what theyll have in common is the ability to discern how they can help the IT department support the overall business," he said.
For example, Robinson College of Business students working toward a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems degree must take classes in e-commerce strategy, process re-engineering and change management, and security and privacy of enterprise computing systems management.
Students in Robinson Colleges Master of International Business program must take courses in Technology and Global Competition and in International IT Issues and Policy.
Other universities are offering similar programs. At Northwestern Universitys Kellogg Graduate School of Management, in Evanston, Ill., students in the Technology and e-Commerce program study "the linkage between business strategy, organizational strategy and IT strategy from the general managers perspective," according to the schools Web site. Requirements of this program include courses in intellectual property strategy for e-businesses, managing e-business technology projects and Internet marketing.
But its not just wet-behind-the-ears 20-somethings who are getting the benefit of cross-disciplinary e-business education. Some schools are also offering continuing education programs for IT professionals and managers who have been out in the working world and feel they need to brush up on their skills.
At Columbia University, in New York, students in the Advanced Information Technology Management certification program are required to take courses on "Behavioral Challenges in the Management of the IT Organization," which, according to the schools Web site, focus on "the importance of clear communication between developers, implementers and users" of enterprise applications; IT project management; Internet marketing; and telecommunications and network management. (For more on the curriculum, see www.ce. columbia.edu/aitm.)
Students in this program may have bachelors or masters degrees; since they are earning certificates rather than additional academic degrees, the only requirement for admission to the program is that they currently be working as IT professionals or managers in e-businesses.