How the MSTC works with your MBA

By Rod Lee CSU MBA ‘13/UTexas MSTC ‘17

I know a lot of people have considered the MSTC program, but have asked the question: “Why do I need this business degree if I already have a MBA?” Well, since we are past the halfway point in the program, I can now make an honest depiction of my MBA experience, my MSTC (to this point), and how they can complement one another. I started my MBA a year after I finished my bachelor’s degree, while still serving in the Air Force with the intent of learning business practices to start my own venture. However, what I learned was how to go about doing business in a variety of climates and in fully-functioning corporations. I learned a lot about global economies/markets, business law, operating a business, etc.

In the MSTC program we’ve learned how to go out and gauge technology value and whether or not it has a feasible business opportunity. That is something that I don’t think many get the opportunity to learn or even knew existed if they do not come from this world. My eyes were opened to a new way of becoming an entrepreneur. I always thought I would have to create something new and innovative or an improved version of something popular. While that is a portion of the MSTC, the first thing we learn about is true tech commercialization and how to make money off of others’ ideas (which sounds a lot easier than it is). From the ‘Quicklooks’ process, to building a marketing plan, to new venture creation…I feel like I’ve learned so much pertinent information that can be used in my current job as well as venturing off on my own. My MBA gave me a lot of insight and ideas of how run my business, while I feel the MSTC gave more background on how to get to that point.

Now I am not saying one is dependent upon the other or that it is necessary to have both. I am just stating that they both have takeaways that complement the other, especially if a new venture is what you are looking to pursue. I’m not sure that there is an order in which you should do them if you decide to pursue both, that really depends on your entrepreneurial spirit I guess. I know that I feel my order has worked best for me. My MBA has helped me advance quickly through my industry in the last three years, from product line rep to a Sr. Product Line Manager. Now that I have my experience, I feel that the MSTC will assist me in going out and starting a business with confidence.

My MBA colleagues ask me about the MSTC program and why I would go towards another Master’s program rather than pursuing a doctorate. I give them a tidbit of information and they are instantly drawn to wanting to apply or at least attend an info session. Many of my associates have shown interest in the MSTC now more than before. I really feel like the MBA/MSTC combo gives me an all-encompassing view of the business world and how these huge corporations that started in garages came to be. My friend and I were talking intensely about the UT EMBA program that is taught in Dallas down the street from our old office, since it was conveniently located and I felt a better in with the McCombs name to it compared to my previous MBA. After being in the MSTC program a week, I knew I was in the right place and that the 195 mile drive down to Austin would be well worth it. HOOK ‘EM!


Rod Lee is a graduate of the MSTC Class of 2017. He is an accomplished Product Manager, with proven leadership and supervisory skills in the operations, flight line, and back shop environments. He is currently managing parts procurement, trading, sales and people in numerous capacities.

150 Patents Later, What One Female Inventor Learned About Innovation

Originally posted on Forbes by Lisa Seacat DeLuca

Software engineer. Inventor. Mother of toddler twins. Nerd puller of late night coding jags. And, at 32, the most prolific female inventor at IBM with more than 150 patents in areas such as mobile, data, and cloud, to my name.

I’m one of the faces of innovation at IBM. One of my patents is U.S. Patent #8,694,777: Securely identifying host systems, which enables more secure identity control in cloud computing environments.

The patent was among 7,534 patents filed by IBM last year, making it the first company to exceed 7,000 patents in one year and marking the company’s 22nd consecutive year as worldwide patent leader.

Patents are key to my company’s strategy, not just because they’re proof of unique ideas, but because they’re the platform for the future inventions that drive the success of our clients, business and industry. Because none of us work alone. Innovation comes from the spark of an idea. Yet, we all build on top of the innovations that other tinkerers before us have come up with.

As I said in my TED@IBM talk last fall, “The speed of invention in the future will be as fast as we can dream up ideas. We’ll be able to use each other’s innovations to test drive ideas and find inspiration to keep solving everyday problems.”

Which is why we’re all encouraged at my company to become inventors and why there is such a buzz around creativity.

As a 22-year-old new hire at a large multinational company, I was definitely intimidated when it came to getting started. But the excitement of becoming an innovator, and the contagious feeling I got from my colleagues that I could do just that quickly turned me into one. I was hooked. There’s not a better feeling than coming up with creative solutions to real problems that other people find valuable.

And in fact, all of us can experience that feeling these days. With open source, crowd funding, and easy-to-use apps for developing software and electronic gadgets, we’re seeing a massive leveling of the playing field when it comes to innovation. Staying curious, supporting other makers, and taking a risk on our ideas will make those napkin ideas a reality. I encourage everyone to share their ideas with the world.
I’m an inventor, a brainstormer, a tinkerer. And I’m proud to be part of one of, if not the, most innovative companies in the world. The creativity of my colleagues inspires me everyday. And the wave of inventiveness online sparks my imagination. More innovation will help all of us have more productive, more fulfilled lives. And it’s just plain fun.

Watch Lisa Seacat DeLuca’s TED@IBM video.

Lisa Seacat DeLuca is an IBM Master Inventor and Mobile Software Engineer and member of the Texas MSTC Class of 2010