How important is having an MBA (or a master’s degree generally) for serving in a CIO/ CTO role? Currently a software engineer, interested in doing a CS masters if I can get into a top school/get funding, but am reluctant for a lot of reasons (lost salary, family reasons, etc.) Goal is to become an architect and maybe eventually a CIO/CTO. Thoughts?

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CIO here - If you want to be a business facing CIO, get the MBA. If you want to be a product facing CTO, get the CS masters. It will def help in the long run.

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It’s not important. What’s important is your leadership experience, people skills, EQ (CIO is a GM), and functional/technical expertise.

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It definitely helps but hard to quantify by how much...

If I had to rank them (which is hard, given all the “each case is different” scenarios) I’d say this is the order of likelihood of becoming a CIO/CTO: 1: CS bachelor with MBA and 8+ years in tech project management 2: CS Masters with 10+ years experience in project and team management 3: CS bachelor with 15+ years of project and team management and proven leadership skills This is in terms of taking over (or promoted within) as CTO in an established business, rather than getting that lucky position at a start-up firm and then moving to an established business in a few years. And obviously the X+ years of experience is part of the equation. You can move earlier or later depending on performance, but you’re not going to be CTO at an established business 2 years out of B-school unless your parent owns the company.

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