ITMB – IT Management for Business bachelor’s degree that forms the basis for future e-leaders

Around 2003 e-skills UK, the country's Skills Sector Council for the ICT industry, together with a number of employers, discussed measures against the skills gap in ICT. The priority was to adapt the relevant academic curriculum to industry needs. Particular emphasis was placed on the need for employees with sufficient competence to be able to blend into the workplace without extensive additional training and education. To address this need for instantly work ready graduates who are able to immediately contribute to business, employers

There was strong interest from ICT supply companies (and vendor certification providers) such as IBM and Cisco alongside ICT user companies such as Procter & Gamble and Sainsbury’s to cooperate in creating a new degree meeting these needs.

The result is the ITMB Degree programme, managed by e-skills UK, which coordinates the collaboration between universities and companies. The ITMB (Information Technology Management for Business) bachelor degree education programme has been running since 2005 and is today available at 14 universities across the UK. The ITMB does not simply merge existing vendor education with publicly recognised education curriculum; it reverts to basics and establishes a highly innovative approach to building a curriculum based upon industry needs. Industry partners worked together to create a fresh curriculum unbounded by the constraints of vendor certifications or existing ICT bachelor degree programs.

The unique feature of the ITMB is that the conceptual roots were based upon industry requirements with programme content created by the ICT industry. Universities then provided the disciplines and structures necessary to formulate a formal publicly recognised degree.

The ITMB is designed to supply graduates with the technical capacity to perform in an enterprise ICT function and to develop the business acumen that allows them to engage with clients, understand business needs and network successfully. It also provides opportunities to regularly meet and network with industry leaders from over 60 leading organisations though structured network events.

The format of the ITMB contains a number of features that add value to the student experience: Guru Lectures from industry experts (at least 10 employer lectures per academic year); Team-­‐based work overseen by business mentors; and a significant amount of project work.

Available evidence suggests that the degree program is producing graduates that are in high demand. According to an investigation by e-skills UK in 2011, 85% of ITMB graduates found employment within six months of leaving university, with the remainder continuing with more higher education. Since it was developed, the number of applications to the programme has risen on average by 24% every year. Awareness of the ITMB degree is rising with nearly 50% of current ITMB students stating that they applied to ITMB at more than one university. 33% of the current students are female – more than double the amount of females across all computing degree courses. Student satisfaction amongst ITMB was found to be significantly higher than the national average. In 2012, the number of active ITMB students was 1,029.