Combining Tech and Biz – Harvard Launches A New Joint Degree

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When I was a computer science undergraduate student at Harvard in the late 80s/early 90s, it was a decidedly uncool and obscure field. We were buried in the basement of the Science Center, coding in LISP and C++ on a UNIX minicomputer. The few of us who survived the brutal problem sets and all-nighters graduated with a strong foundation in software but zero insight into the technology business. Four years later, when I graduated from Harvard Business School in the mid-90s, we learned a ton about business, but nothing about technology.

As a tech entrepreneur, venture capitalist and Harvard Business School (HBS) professor, I have spent my 20+ year career trying to blend these two disciplines:  business and tech. Thus, I was thrilled with this week’s announcement that Harvard is creating a joint master’s degree between HBS and the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). Simply put, the new degree will focus on teaching geeks and techies the business of innovation and tech company management.

This program came together very, very quickly. My colleague, Tom Eisenmann, was one of the main driving forces and somehow managed in less than six months to design, create and secure approval for the program from both faculties and the Harvard board. The fact that SEAS is nearly doubling in size (thanks, Ballmer) and moving next door to HBS in Allston (thanks, Paulson), makes the collaboration between the two schools all the more appropriate and fitting. The benefits of teaching and inspiring future leaders at the intersection of these two important disciplines are immeasurable. I am so glad Harvard and its faculty chose to vigorously innovate in this area.

To learn more about the joint MBA/MS degree, which is accepting applications starting September 6th (!), go here.