Careers in Digital Media (for MBAs with Tech background)

So, I was talking to a guy who’s just about to finish his MBA and is interested in making a career in digital media. He wanted to know what kinds of career opportunities are available in digital media for MBAs with tech background.

The simple answer is – way too many!! Your IT background may not have worked in your favour while you were tyring to get into a b-school (we all know how difficult it is to differentiate yourself with  IT experienceJ) but here’s the good part - your IT experience is the best thing that has happened to you if you want to make a career in digital media. Of course, you are going to have to be a lot more specific and creative in your pitch.

Roughly speaking, I think there are three career paths that one can explore.

Career with agencies:
Almost all traditional Marketing/PR/Advertising agencies have opened digital shops and they need people with technology background. Look for agencies that offer digital marketing services, SEO, SEM, social etc. Trust me…it doesn’t matter how big a marketing/advertising star you are, if you don’t have hands-on tech background, you’ll have a lot of difficulty appreciating digital. I’ve talked to so many people with non-tech backgrounds and they all seem to either under-estimate or over-estimate the complexities involved with digital technology. This is where you can make a difference. Digital agencies usually ask for some agency experience but you should be able to work-around that with your marketing/consulting (if you have any) experience. The important part of you pitch here is to explain how your tech knowledge combined with MBA is a deadly combo for them. Remember to keep a few media jargons in your repertoire for the buzzword lovers; agencies are full of such people!!

Career in consulting:
Besides regular consulting companies, almost all software factories have started their consulting divisions and digital media consulting is a big part of these consultancies. The names are usually camouflaged - customer experience practice, marketing consulting, user experience design, etc... So, whenever you see words like customer, relationship, experience, social, marketing, even eCommerce and mCommerce...jump right in and clarify. Consulting companies have a thing for MBAs..your really don’t have to go overboard in selling yourself to them; just make sure they put you in right vertical.

Apparently, digital media analytics (web analytics, social media analytics, social network analysis, social CRM) is a very big deal too. For those who are interested in marketing analytics, media analytics consulting can be a great career path.

IBM interactive and Sapient interactive are two popular digital offshoots of parent technology companies. They fit in somewhere between pure digital agencies and digital tech consulting firms. Perfect places for exploring consulting and even interesting delivery roles!

Career with clients:
As part of an agency or a consulting firm, you’ll work with clients (retail, cpg, eCommerce, mobile service providers, telecom etc.) but you should know that most clients keep quite a few key in-house digital media positions. In any case they need people to liaison with digital media consultants and agencies. Clients usually always ask for some agency experience but the supply is limited, so you do have a reasonable chance even without an agency experience. This is also the place where you can play your domain-experience card. Say, you have domain experience in telecom. Now, combine that with your MBA + marketing + digital media knowledge/exp and pitch yourself as a guy who knows what telecom customers want and who also knows how digital media can be used to reach out to them. You’ll hit a home run with that one. eCommerce companies are the most knowledgeable clients of digital media agencies and consultancies and you'll get the best experience/exposure working with them. 

Having a tech background doesn’t necessarily mean your experience is going to be relevant for digital media career but it’ll certainly help you pick things up quickly. If your experience has been limited to IT delivery and consulting, you’ve probably missed out on action from digital marketing and media perspective. Consider spending some time reading digital media/marketing related literature.

If time permits, I’ll update this post later to add names of a few popular companies under each category and maybe add some interesting resources/books on digital media.


  1. Thanks for sharing this Tauqueer. I am a 2nd year MBA student and have some more queries. Can u plz share ur contact details.

  2. Rajesh - pls drop me a line tali62 at gmail dot com

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