Business professionals who want to bring technology-based solutions to market for both startups and established companies alike may consider pursuing an MBA with a specialization in Innovation and Technology Commercialization.
That’s a mouthful. But what does this particular MBA specialization mean? Who is a good fit to earn a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Innovation and Technology Commercialization, and what might you be able to do with this degree once you earn it?
To find out, we talked with Luis A. Rios, who is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Management at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management and teaches a number of Technology Strategy courses. He spoke about why this specialization is great for innovation.
What Is Innovation and Technology Commercialization?
Technology commercialization helps transition scientific and technological discoveries into new business opportunities, whether “lean startup” ventures or new lines of business. These innovations generate new sources of enterprise and create new jobs.
Technology commercialization and innovation are outgrowths of entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur, you solve problems, seek opportunities and build a sustainable future through innovation. An online MBA with a specialization in innovation and technology commercialization can build these skills.
Who Is a Good Fit for an MBA With a Specialization in Innovation and Technology Commercialization?
“Among the many MBA concentrations out there, this is one that I foresee being among the fastest-growing segments,” Rios says.
The MBA with a specialization in Innovation and Technology Commercialization can be beneficial to those who wish to:
- Pursue a career that involves managing technology or innovation, whether in startups or mature firms
- Learn modern innovation theory and practice, such as managing complex collaborations and how firm strategy is affected by network and the digitalization of value
- Explore the financial, legal, and regulatory issues of new technologies, including venture capital strategy, due diligence, and “lean startup” principles
“This is definitely the best degree for somebody who wants to go into technology,” Rios says. “For example, it would benefit somebody who has worked in investment banking or consulting and is interested in a career in Silicon Valley, but doesn't understand the technology development process. It could also help an engineer who is thinking about launching a startup.”
What Can You Do With an MBA Focused on Innovation and Technology Commercialization?
This MBA specialization enables you to lead existing technology commercialization efforts inside a company, come up with innovative business ideas that leverage the power of information and technology, and assess the potential of external innovative opportunities, whether merger and acquisition targets or funding candidates.
“Technology innovation and commercialization is about understanding how firms leverage either new or existing technology and translate that into value,” Rios says. “This means fulfilling some unmet market demand, and often driving new market demand.
“If you think about firms like Apple and Tesla, that's what they're doing. They’re managing huge portfolios of existing and emerging technologies with a focus on identifying combinations that are actually useful and valuable.”
Among the positions available to those with an MBA specializing in Innovation and Technology Commercialization are:
- Business Intelligence
- Commercialization Engineer
- Data Science
- Intellectual Property Commercialization
- Marketing Manager
- Product Development Specialist
- Product Management
- Technology Commercialization Manager
- Work From Home Commercialization Engineer
What Is the Value of an MBA?
Almost nine in 10 alumni (87%) report a positive return on investment (ROI) from their graduate business education, according to the 2021 Graduate Management Admissions Council survey. The majority of alumni in the survey also say that their professional situation (88%), personal situation (72%), and financial situation (70%) are better or much better since obtaining the degree.
“A quality MBA generally gives you a knowledge base that can help your career accelerate or change direction,” says Rios. “It opens up job opportunities, qualifies you for leadership roles, helps you build credibility, and connects you to new networks.”
Take the Next Step
“A key takeaway from a technology commercialization degree is understanding the difference between an invention and an innovation—they’re not the same thing,” Rios says. “Invention is just coming up with new ideas. To make money out of a technology, to actually make something that people want—that is innovation.
“That's what this degree teaches: How to understand what people need, what problems need solving, and how they can be solved.”
Purdue University’s specialization in innovation and technology commercialization introduces you to startup principles; innovation theory and practice; managing complex collaborations; social network and media usage; and the financial, legal, and regulatory issues of new technologies.