Akiba’s Corner: Data Center Engineers + an MBA = A Bright Future

Akiba’s Corner is a weekly series of thoughts on the MBA admissions process and the MBA itself by MBA Mission Senior Consultant, Akiba Smith Francis (HBS ’05). 

The recent heat waves across the country increased demand for air conditioning, not just for people, but for computer data centers, which house servers and storage devices. These centers generate so much heat that half of the energy they consume is used for enormous air-conditioners.

Why is this important for MBAs? The engineers who design and run data centers are in incredibly high demand as companies overhaul old data centers and build new ones to make them not just more energy efficient, but also better able to perform more complex functions.

According to Jonathan G. Koomey, a consulting professor of environmental engineering at Stanford, “it (the data center problem) has an economic importance that far outweighs the electricity use.” Surveys indicate that 30 percent of American corporations are deferring new technology initiatives because of data center limitations.

Engineers who have the skills to design and manage data centers as well as the business foundation provided by an MBA will be well positioned in the future. They will be able to add value by planning for a firm’s computing needs in a way that holistically addresses a company’s larger business needs.

New York Times: Demand for Data Puts Engineers in Spotlight

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