Laurier University launches technology Masters program

Canadian senior IT executives will be among the candidates considered for the first participants in a Master’s degree program in technology management launched by the Laurier School of Business and Economics.

The Executive Masters in Technology Management (EMTM) began accepting applications earlier this month and classes will formally begin in September. Though there will be some online components, most of the classes will take place live on campus at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., on alternate weekends.

Core curricula for the EMTM will consist of three modules: strategic and technology “roadmapping,” building innovative organizational capacities and fostering organizational renewal.

According to Dr. Hamid Noori, director and chair professor of the Laurier EMTM, those who enrol in the program will most likely be C-level managers at the director-plus level who are the up-and-coming leaders in their organizations.

“When you get into of this program, you are subjected to many of the topics you need to know as a leader to run a fast-moving company,” he said, adding that CIOs may not be the only managers to benefit from the EMTM. “Although we will have people from R&D and engineering groups, this is not only for individuals who are developing technologies. They’re coming from marketing and finance areas, too.” 

Courses are spread over the full year, Noori explained, which means that students (or “learners,” as he prefers to call them) may touch upon innovation, roadmapping and sustainability at different points of the 11-month program. At the end of each term, an integrated session will pull together what they learned.  

“We’re hoping to start with about 15 (people), partially because the program is new and to make sure we do it right,” he says. “We’ll be able to address any possible issues, which is easier with a smaller cohort.”

Although Ryerson University and other schools have graduate programs in technology management, Noori said Laurier may be the first in Canada to offer a Masters of Science in this area. “But we don’t want to scare off the audience to think they need mathematics,” he added. “It is focused on practical issues of how to build an innovative organization.”

Jennifer Perrier Knox, lead analyst with London, Ont.-based HR consultancy McLean & Co., said Laurier is taking advantage of it’s physical proximity to Research in Motion and the Perimeter Institute to help market their particular program as special or different.   

“The truth is that a lot of executives don’t really need these expensive programs — there are focused, less expensive courses that will give them the targeted skills and knowledge they may be missing. In terms of what it does for an individual’s career, executive management programs can be a huge waste of time and money, especially if you’re over the age of 40 and are hoping to get a decent ROI out of it,” she said. “Laurier offering a new technology management program seems a bit late to the game in my opinion.”

Noori is actively recruiting instructors for the program, who he said may come from a variety of disciplines.

“Some could come from consulting companies – we might do something on intellectual property that would be run by a lawyer, for example, who will have the expertise in this area. Others might be experts in mergers and acquisitions,” he said. “We want a blend of expertise, skills and knowledge from the outside world.”

Perrier Knox advised that those who earn credentials like the EMTM should be working with their employer to plan how they will make use of their new credentials, and to be realistic about what it will mean.

“The organization they’re currently working for is not going to cough up a salary increase, let alone one large enough to offset the cost of the program if the exec is paying out of pocket. You need to be prepared to go to another organization to get the salary gains you’re looking for,” she said. “Attending one of the programs should always be part of targeted, broader and longer-term career plan as opposed to a, ‘Everyone else is doing it, so I might as well’ strategy.”

The EMTM will cost $65,000 and applications need to submit their academic transcripts, a resume, references and a 10 to 20-page writing sample that could be related to their job, such as a project proposal.

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