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Aspire to be a technology strategist, whatever your title says
In today’s business landscape, IT is not only the CIO’s domain. Today’s MBA students may not need to aspire to being CIO, but they have to aspire to being a technology strategist in whatever role they wind up in.
Technology savvy is now a requirement for any C-suite position. You have to understand how to exploit technology to grow and maintain your business. Similarly, CIOs have to have a deep understanding of their business and not just the technology. They have to get their organizations to shed the order-taker and cost-center mentality and become true partners helping their business to capture innovation, think through corporate strategy, and put technology to work in achieving it.
CIOs of today are in a unique position to help companies bridge the gap between the business and technology worlds, which I think makes it an even more desirable role. Technology now has a much more prominent role in strategy, so CIOs have a more important voice at the table than ever before. They have to champion technology and the digitalization of their business.
So whether or not IT professionals or MBA students aspire to be CIO – they should certainly aspire to develop technical excellence, deep business acumen, and leadership skills that can capitalize the value of technology to their business. Those skills will serve them well in any senior leadership role, because technology is often at the core of innovation today.
John T. Marcante is Vanguard’s chief information officer and managing director of Vanguard’s Information Technology Division. Vanguard is the world’s largest mutual fund company with more than $2.6 trillion in global assets under management. Marcante oversees all aspects of Vanguard’s worldwide technology agenda to serve clients and manage investments. Mr. Marcante, with more than 26 years of experience in the business and technology fields, joined Vanguard in 1993. After serving in a number of leadership roles throughout the company, he returned to the IT division in 2012 and was named Vanguard’s chief information officer and managing director. Marcante holds a Bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University and an M.B.A. from Saint Joseph's University.