Students from across the country have given a ringing endorsement to an IT degree they believe will make them more employable than other technology students.
The IT Management for Business degree teaches real world management skills that are valued highly by employers, students on the course told CIO UK sister title Computerworld UK. These skills meant they would be able to offer technical knowledge and also promote their ideas to senior managers, presenting them in clear business terms, they said.
Kathryn Richards, an Oxford Brookes student taking the course, said: “I like the mixture of things we do, it’s not just IT. The employer involvement is vital to us learning what the jobs will be like.” Students regularly meet high-level staff from real employers, both at talks and at e-skills events dedicated to them.
Richards was speaking at the ITMB Student Event, hosted by course creator e-skills - the UK's IT sector skills council - and held last week at management software firm CA’s UK headquarters in Slough.
Lauren Garcia, an ITMB student at University College London, said the mixture of management, business and IT skills made her choose the course. “It has real business management stuff and not just technology,” she said. “It’s a really challenging course and I think it makes you ready for the real business world.”
“I like what they’re doing with the course,” said Ravi Patel, a student from Loughborough University. “I hope they go even further and get people like us to go into schools, so the kids get interested in it.”
One of the most appealing aspects to prospective pupils was that students were not being turned into “techies” but instead into people who could create broad business strategies, said Sarah Collins, an ITMB student at Exeter University. “IT is a great enabler for all business functions, and the lecturers are keen to help you learn how technology applies to the real world.”
Collins said she is “not that concerned about pure IT” but more about how it helps businesses become more efficient.
Ray Dawson, leader of the knowledge management research group at Loughborough University, said businesses were looking for “hybrid IT managers”, and that was the type of person the course was developing.
“Somebody has to be able to understand the technical side of things, but also have a full range of interpersonal skills,” he said. “Employers have really come in, helped shape this course to get the people they need, and right up to their top executives they’ve supported us.”
Large numbers of students who visited universities to assess IT courses chose ITMB, as opposed to pure IT, based on its wide remit and direct employer involvement, said Dr Kevin Doyle, senior lecturer at the University of the West of England in Bristol. “Conversion rates are very high,” he said.
ITMB is taught at 13 universities across the country.