Day in the Life of an MBA Grad Specializing in Technology

Day in the Life of an MBA Grad Specializing in Technology main image

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management is ranked in first place in the QS TopMBA Rankings by Specialization 2019: Technology. To find out more about the career outcomes for Sloan students specializing in technology, we spoke to Christopher Reichert, a 2004 graduate of the Sloan Fellows/Management of Technology Program.

Christopher Reichert was speaking to Francesca Di Meglio.

My background

Since 2014, I have been the chief information officer at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston, Massachusetts in the United States. This is a special place, where visitors are greeted as though they are US senators. They experience digital exhibits that have them learning about the role, power, and responsibility of this important chamber of Congress.

Often, I turn to Sloan’s training. As an active member of the local alumni community (I serve on the boards of the MIT Sloan Boston Alumni Association and the MIT Sloan Alumni Board), I am continually refreshed and reinvigorated by the Sloan School’s mission and local activities.  

In particular, the words “to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world” echo with me all the time. I always ask myself if I am modeling that behavior.

Beyond the essential mechanics of managing a complex business, financially and strategically, for which Sloan prepared me well, as a member of the senior executive team I’m conscious I need to ensure the Kennedy Institute’s mission is first and foremost in my work. In addition, I put my work through the Sloan mission as a guide.

Discover a typical day in my life:

Morning

I arrive at work between 8:30 and 8:45am. I sometimes need to arrive earlier at seven or 7:30 if we have a morning event with an early start or required technology elements, such as audio or visual. 

The first task is to ensure the exhibits are all up and running. With 30 projectors, 445 linear feet of projected content and 750 Android tablets running a custom exhibit software build, there’s a lot to check and prepare before the doors open to the public at 10am. It’s not uncommon to have to adjust and align the projectors to remove blurriness. 

Sometimes, we have a school group participating in our award-winning Senate Immersion Module (SIM), a 2.5-hour program for students in eighth through 12th grades.

 In those instances, the group arrives between nine and half past nine. For that latter group, we prepare up to 100 tablets with the legislative bill they will be building and debating and distribute them in our replica of the US Senate Chamber.

Midday

I try to schedule meetings with staff or vendors in this time period.   As a member of the executive team, I have a weekly meeting with my colleagues to discuss strategy, upcoming initiatives and programs, budget and staffing matters. These are the medium- to long-term business matters that need to be raised, explored, and eventually resolved.

Also, I meet with my team as a whole once a week to ensure we are all on the same page with priorities, resolve any blocking issues, or discuss new initiatives and responsibilities.

As is typical in an IT-driven digital museum, there is always a new idea that needs to be unpacked and explored, or an urgent fix on the website, or matters that need our assistance with staff documents, laptops, or printers.

With 33 MacPros running our exhibits, scores of Wi-Fi Access Points connecting it all to miles of infrastructural wiring, and racks of complex AV equipment to maintain – ranging from wireless microphones and expensive projectors to image blending equipment, amplifiers and the like – we are never short of work. 

Lunch

I typically eat on the run. The notion of a lunch “hour” is not a reality. We have an in-house café that offers some healthy (and not-so-healthy) food options.

The IT department is also responsible for managing the menu technology, updating it with new items and removing old items. So, sometimes as I’m getting my lunch, I’ll have a conversation with the food staff about upcoming changes or issues with the cash register system.

Mid-afternoon

By now the museum has been open to the public since 10am, if not earlier, so my team and I will attend to tablet connectivity issues or assist with the SIM ending. 

We need to clear and plug in the 100 tablets in anticipation of the next visiting school. If the museum is quiet, we will take the opportunity to tweak exhibits, perform a new software build, and deploy to the walls and tablets.

Day’s end

The museum typically closes at 5pm but if we have an evening public program, or a private rental, the IT team may have another few hours of work. If the evening is quiet, we will push out a software update to the exhibits.

If an update is deployed, I will use the time between five and 6:15pm to reboot some systems and run through the experience with a tablet to ensure all went well with the new code. I could potentially deploy three to five new builds in that time span if tweaks are needed.

If there is an evening program, my team will work with the public program’s team and any external vendors, such as videographers, speakers or staff who will be present, to ensure the Chamber and Institute are ready for when we open to the public for the evening program. 

This process typically involves a sound check for the microphones and ensuring the live stream is up and running and the lighting is correct.

If there is custom content for the exhibits, we may change the screens to reflect the new visual identity and cue the chosen background mood music. Once the program starts, IT will monitor all the systems and be at the ready to ensure the program runs smoothly.

Once it’s completed at 7:30 or 8pm, we will shut down the exhibits in anticipation of the next day’s activities. If this is a private event, we may be required to staff until as late as 11pm.

Francesca Di Meglio

Francesca Di Meglio has written about higher education for two decades. She covered business schools and all aspects of management education for what became Bloomberg Businessweek from May 2004 to December 2013. Di Meglio was the consultant editor for the book Admitted: An Interactive Workbook for Getting into a Top MBA Program (85 Broads Publishing, 2011), which was written by admissions consultant Betsy Massar. In addition, she is a family travel and parenting blogger at the Italian Mamma website

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