Yasmin Kasmikha came into the second class of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business’s Master of Management program straight from college at the U of M. She’d majored in international studies and Middle Eastern and North African studies, and studied Arabic, in which she’s now proficient. Ross began offering a Master of Management degree in 2014. For Kasmikha, 21, the decision to apply to the program marked a pivot onto a new path. Though interested in international business, she had been planning on law school as a first step. Then she saw advertisements for the Ross master’s program, and researched it. “I really felt that this was a good fit,” Kasmikha says. “I just felt like I could get a solid foundation in business right out of college and kind of get the master’s out of the way while I’m still in school mode.”
She’s accepted a job in consulting with Deloitte, and will start in the fall at a salary of $70,000, with a $10,000 signing bonus.
Kasmikha says she feels well prepared for the job by the case-based, teamwork-oriented education in the program. “That’s basically what I’ll be doing as a consultant is working with a team . . . going into businesses to dissect problems and find solutions,” she says, adding that in the MM program.
THE VALUE OF INTERDISCIPLINARY TEAMS
Of particular value in class was the interdisciplinary makeup of the teams – professors built teams joining liberal arts graduates such as herself with graduates of engineering and science programs to facilitate problem-solving and promote peer-to-peer learning.
The program gave her a strong edge in the job market, she believes, and she praises Ross’s career services and the school’s industry network, which brought a ceaseless parade of recruiters through from early September till the end of October. Kasmikha plans to push her career in the direction of international trade, likely in the Middle East, and has been accepted into a Global Practicum course at Ross that will take her to Morocco over spring break.
Kasmikha’s program launched in 2014 with 41 students, and the second year drew a 32% increase in applications and a 30% boost to class size. “The growth is really coming from the demand side,” says Amy Dittmar, senior associate dean of graduate programs at Ross. On the U of M campus, and as they traveled around the country, school officials were hearing from prospective students that they wanted more business education options, Dittmar says.
Ross had consulted extensively with employers before launching the program, including those which often hired low-experience graduates from the school’s business bachelor’s program, to assess the job market for graduates. Employers, she says, “had a lot of enthusiasm,” and consulting firms said they were interested in graduates from liberal arts backgrounds who’d been brought up to speed on business, because they would bring “fresh ideas,” Dittmar says.
THE JOB MARKET TEST
The actual test of the job market came from the first class through the program – 94% had job offers within three months, she says. “We were very pleased,” Dittmar says. Graduates who went into the service sector, including commercial banks and consulting firms, were starting out at $56,000 (the consultants on their own averaged $62,000), and those going into manufacturing were getting $55,000.
Google-search data analysis by Eduvantis business education consulting indicates that interest in master’s in accounting programs is rising. At Ross, that interest has gone up along with demand in general for business education, Dittmar says. In response, the school has expanded its accounting program to 101 students in the current class, from 76 in the previous class. Dittmar expects the class size to climb to around 130 over the next couple of years.
Much smaller than the accounting master’s is Ross’s “niche” program in supply chain management, aimed mainly at students with several years of work experience. For many years, the program had around 25 students, and the current class has 29. Students average around six years of work experience, mostly in jobs that had some relation to supply chain work, Dittmar says. “There’s a pretty large demand from employers for students who have a very deep knowledge of the technology and operations in supply chain,” Dittmar says. “There are a lot of companies that have a shortage.”