Placing the Correct Emphasis on Technology and Business

The MSIT curriculum and experience are built on these two crucial areas of study

Dr. Ed Malthouse understands the value of cross-disciplinary education.

The Northwestern professor teaches in the Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program, as well as in the University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Malthouse specializes in applied statistics, market research and media marketing, and he develops statistical models and then applies them to large data sets of consumer information to help managers make marketing decisions.

Malthouse was asked what differentiates the MSIT program, and it was that combination of multiple areas of interest that stood out to him.

“The program teaches a unique combination of technology expertise with business acumen and data skills,” Malthouse said. “This combination is unique. MBA programs teach the business part, but fall short on the technology part. EE/CS programs teach the technology side, but fall short on the business and data sides.

“This combination is exactly what students need for today’s world where interactions between organizations and consumers take place in digital environments.”

The MSIT curriculum is divided between technical (70%) and business management (30%) coursework.

Technical courses focus on fundamental engineering principles as well as newer, emerging technologies. Business courses in finance, marketing and management help provide a framework for students to understand how to better translate their technology ideas into practical business solutions.

“While most programs in the engineering school at Northwestern are technically inclined, the MSIT program is a good blend of both business and technology ecosystem,” said Ruma Anand (MSIT ‘18). “The degree requirements are carefully spaced out to maintain a strong balance between management courses like Marketing (or) Financial Management for IT professionals and technical courses like Data Mining and Probability/Statistical Methods.”

It was the unique split of business and technical acumen that appealed to Akanksha Gupta (MSIT ‘18) when she was first considering graduate programs. Gupta knew she wanted a career in digital analytics and marketing strategy, and she thought the emphasis on both technology and business would help set her apart after graduation.

Gupta was correct. Earlier this year, she was recognized with the Illinois Technology Foundation’s Fifty for the Future award.

“This program is a good mix of business and technical field of study,” Gupta said. “(It) gives us leverage to build our careers in both segments.”

More than 500 alumni have benefited from this unique curriculum setup and now have the ability to bridge the gap between fundamental technologies and business strategies — ensuring that they bring impactful value to their organizations.

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