Interview: Ken Dovey, Director of UTS Master of Business in IT Management

Associate Professor Ken Dovey is the Director of the UTS Master of Business in IT Management (MBITM) and its associated courses.

University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

He has over 30 years experience in academic roles in South African and Australian universities, leading to professorial appointments in the area of strategic leadership. He has consulted to a wide range of global businesses, governments and non-profit organizations since 1981; work that sees him engaged as a leadership coach to senior executives. He lectures regularly on executive education programs at business schools around the world. Ken teaches the subjects Leadership & People Management and Management Research Methods.

The UTS MBITM was created in 1994 to address the burgeoning IT market at that time. It was conceived as a boutique flagship program for UTS, aiming for a high quality student intake to enhance the UTS brand in IT.

There is a rigorous selection process which results in 1 in 3 applicants being accepted. To come into this program which is offered on part time basis you must have 5 years IT management experience; be based in Sydney; and be able to complete work-based assessment tasks. These assessment tasks are deliberately designed to assist students to transform their work practices through critical reflection on those practices.

Dovey explained that “to deliver a quality flagship program as promised to students, we appoint industry-based people with excellent academic qualifications as lecturers”. This is because they experience the same reality as students on an everyday basis and are capable of theorising their practice and teaching it effectively through an interactive process.

He mused that “over time the IT world has changed, there is a lot of IT that can be commodified; that is open to offshoring overseas”. In response, he has shifted the MBITM focus from producing CIO’s to producing business leaders who understand the strategic value of technology.

The MBITM course has become a very specialised boutique MBA for people with a technology background.

UTS is a CeBIT exhibitor at Stand J14. Register Now to find out more about the UTS Master of Business in IT Management (MBITM) and ensure you learn about the latest technology innovations and business leadership practices that are game changers for business, government, and third-sector organisations.

Its new direction is grounded in the assumption that innovation is the critical strategy of the future. Thus all of the subjects have an innovation flavour.

Dovey said “we try to develop our students so if they’re going to work in large organisations they can be an ‘intrepreneur’, someone who can champion valuable ideas and guide them through the highly political process of realisation into new products, services or practices”.

On the other hand some of the students want to start their own business as entrepreneurs, and the MBITM guides them through the process of creating a start-up – the raising of venture capital and the commercialization of their ideas into viable new businesses.
Another thing the MBITM has done in recent years to support those strategies is to make explicit its value proposition to students. This has three dimensions:

1. The offering of a world class postgraduate education

2. The offering of a transformational personal experience – one that is not purely academic but which will facilitate the critical scrutiny of themselves and their mission in life. This, according to Dovey, is a real differentiator – no other similar program has this.

3. Connecting them with a group of like-minded knowledge-rich individuals. Dovey says that in a knowledge economy, the resources that will be the most important are the intangible capital resources that are embedded in relationships. Resources such as trust, commitment, resilience, and morale will be critical to organisational success. The program has created a community of alumni, students, lecturers and research/industry partners that is over 500-strong. It has a a very active Linkedin group and its own Toastmasters club. The group regularly holds industry-relevant events and academic seminars, and publishes research papers.

UTS MBITM Alumni Case Studies

Bettina McMahon – Head of Policy, National e-Health Transition Authority
Bettina McMahon
“I was working as an IT project manager but wanted to become a more effective manager when I found out about the Master of Business in IT Management (MBITM) at UTS.

This Masters had subjects like effective people management, managing organisational change, and leadership, but they were delivered by industry executives who came from an IT background. The lecturers were able to put these management theories into an IT context, which was much more relevant and really brought the content to life for me.”

Stuart Penny – Senior Program Manager, Strategic ICT Department of Family and Community Services

Stuart Penny

Stuart Penny

I started the Master of Business in IT Management Program (MBITM) at UTS with unclear expectations on the benefits it might bring over “on the job learning”. I left transformed as a confident strategic leader with a new appreciation of the focused learning experience that this level of Masters Program can provide to a manager who is looking to take the next step.

The balance of subjects that are relevant, current and research based coupled with passionate lecturers that can interpret using their own real world perspectives and above all the immersion in peer level debate and interaction was simply perfect. Through this program I have come to understand the value of self reflection in all aspects of my life, the real benefit of courageous leadership and the wonderful outcomes that effective people management can bring to an organisation.

Stefano Bianchini – Solution Architect Wealth Management at NAB MLC and Chairman of the UTS:MBITM Guiding Coalition
Stefano Bianchini
Through the MBITM, I developed the business skills and awareness necessary to confidently articulate the benefits of using technology as a strategic asset that can be used to ‘unlock’ business opportunities.

The MBITM has given me the confidence to start my own company and provide consulting services to large corporations with enormous personal and professional rewards.

Looking back, I can confidently say that this has proved to be the best investment that I’ve made in my life!

UTS is a CeBIT exhibitor at Stand J14. Register Now to find out more about the UTS Master of Business in IT Management (MBITM) and ensure you learn about the latest technology innovations and trends that are game changers for business and government