An Insider View into Mastercard’s NYC Tech Hub

  • Allison Morgan , Associate Professor and Chair of the Information Systems and Supply Chain Management department at Howard University School of Business

  • 11.07.2017 10:45 am
  • undisclosed , Dr. Allison J. Morgan is an Associate Professor and the Chair of the Information Systems and Supply Chain Management department at the Howard University School of Business. She is one of only 50 African American Female Information Systems Business School Professors in the entire country. Her research focuses on online health information, human information searching behavior, diversity of the information technology workforce, and the socio-cultural impact of technology. She has published articles on the impact of individual differences on user behavior, diversity in the global workplace, information searching behavior, and gender and information technology with specific focus on social networks and work-life balance among women. She has received grants from Facebook, The National Science Foundation, and the GM Foundation. She continues to coordinate technology initiatives including the annual #HUHACKS Hackathon at the School of Business. She has a true passion for teaching and for students, and loves nothing more than to be in the classroom. She was formerly employed as a technology consultant at Accenture and as a Usability Engineer at the United States Census Bureau. She is a member of the KPMG PhD Project, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Association for Information Systems.

“We do well, by doing good,” is a quote from the CEO of Mastercard, Ajay Banga, that was repeated many times in conversations with several people in the organization from senior-level executives to new college hires. It is obvious from my 3-week tenure at the New York City Tech Hub at Mastercard, the organization is very much doing good.

The energy in the organization around innovation is infectious. During my time in the Tech Hub, my faculty externship allowed me an insider-view into the way work is done, the goals and objectives of the organization, the focus on human capital, and the shared mission of progress and growth.

My goal for the externship was twofold: to learn about digital transformation at Mastercard from the individuals working through it; and to understand and evaluate the talent acquisition and recruitment process to look for opportunities to grow the minority talent pipeline. My time at the Tech Hub was organized around three key organizational areas: User Experience, Innovation and Labs, and Technology.

In short, Mastercard has the benefit of an established brand, global reach, and dynamic resources, with the agility, forethought, and enthusiasm of a start-up.  The focus on the opportunities in digital are far-reaching and the motivation for the company is grounded in helping all people become members of the digital economy.  Innovation, which happening in all facets of the organization, has an incubator in the area of the organization called Mastercard Labs. With the insulation and flexibility to be able to research, evaluate and test new products and processes, Labs is the place where the magic happens.

In terms of talent, I have witnessed an extremely high rate of individuals in Mastercard that are well aligned with their roles in the organization. I view it as a testament to the organizational climate, leadership and opportunities, that allow people to be very self-directed in their career trajectory. The attributes of people who are successful at Mastercard share the characteristics of intellectual curiosity, passion, emotional intelligence, adaptability, and a love for learning. These attributes are very much shared across each of the business units and across all regions. In terms of diversity, MasterCard is well aware of the work that needs to be done. They have made strides in some geographical locations, but there is definitely opportunity for growth across the entire organization, and it is my hope that the outcome of my externship will help the organization to better understand how to engage with diverse talent at all levels of the company.

Three weeks flew by very fast, but they say “time flies when you are having fun.” I have very much enjoyed my opportunity at Mastercard and thank all of the many people who volunteered their time, interest, and expertise with me.  This has been an amazing experience, and I hope to see a flourishing partnership between Mastercard and Howard University grow and develop in the very near future.

Other Blogs