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Every MBA Needs Tech Skills—Not Just Those Headed for Silicon Valley

B-schools are helping bridge the gap between managers and data scientists.

Chenjie Ding, a senior program manager at Amazon.com.

Chenjie Ding, a senior program manager at Amazon.com.

Source: UCLA Anderson School of Management

It’s notable that Chenjie Ding works in technology. Two and a half years ago, Ding was a journalist and would have been the first to tell you that she wildly lacked the skill set to work at a tech company. “When I started at Anderson, I was not good at data, and I was very conscious of that,” she says. (Anderson School of Management at UCLA is No. 12 on Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2019 ranking.) “I launched a plan to develop my data skills.” She sought out data projects in her externships and logged extensive coursework in data, analytics, and technology management.

On Monday, Nov. 4, Ding hosted 117 technology-focused MBA students from her alma mater at Amazon.com Inc., where she works as a senior program manager. Amazon is one stop on a weeklong, two-dozen-company itinerary for the students, exposing them to potential employers in Seattle and San Francisco. Well over one-third of Anderson students now go on to work at technology companies, up from 14% a few years ago. Ding arranged a keynote talk, a panel discussion, and one-on-one meetings for the students.