Another top-10 business school in the United States is embracing STEM — but not only in its MBA program. Yale School of Management announced Monday (March 16) that it will offer a concentration in Management Science in both its MBA and Master of Advanced Management programs that will earn graduates longer stays to work in the U.S. after school. Additionally, all students in Yale SOM’s new Master in Asset Management program, which will welcome its first students this fall, will qualify.
Under current federal rules, designating a business school program, track, concentration, or major as STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math — allows foreign graduates without a visa to work in the U.S. for up to 36 months, 24 months longer than otherwise. Yale SOM’s MBA Class of 2021 that started school last fall numbers about 345, of whom 44% are internationals; the Class of 2020 that graduates this spring, numbering 347, is 45% foreign.
“We are delighted to have created this optional concentration in Management Science for our MBA and MAM students,” says Anjani Jain, deputy dean for academic programs and professor in the practice of management. “Yale SOM offers a large selection of leading-edge courses covering all aspects of data analytics, mathematical modeling, and optimization. The concentration signals the student’s depth of knowledge in this domain of great importance to leaders of organizations.
“All of our STEM-eligible programs will provide a rigorous course of study in one of the most vital aspects of business today, with instruction by leading researchers in finance, operations, economics, marketing, and related fields.”
APPLICATION DOWNTURN OBSCURES RECENT HISTORIC LEVEL OF INTEREST
The three-year downturn in application volume to MBA programs at U.S. business schools is largely — though not altogether — attributable to persistent losses among international applicants. Those losses have been credited to many factors, among them the high cost of residential MBA programs, the time required to complete them (during which most are unable to work and earn), and strict U.S. visa rules that make finding long-term work after graduation difficult. Schools have responded to that last factor by designating all or part of their MBAs as STEM programs, thus making graduates eligible for as much as three years’ employment without a visa per current federal rules — an attractive possibility for foreign applicants on the fence.
At first glance it seems Yale SOM could use a turnaround. The SOM MBA lost 15.6% of application volume between the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 cycles, and 22.1% over the last three years. But a closer look reveals that the year before (2016-17) was a historic peak for the school that reflected a 60.5% increase over the preceding five years. “This occurred during a period of either stagnancy or decline in applications at almost all top tier schools,” Jain points out to P&Q.
Jain says this year’s application volume is on pace with last year’s. He hopes and expects that the school’s new offerings, which “received widespread affirmation from students, employers, and alumni” during the year-long process of attaining STEM designation, can make a difference.
“In the last several years, our elective curriculum has added substantial depth and breadth in data analytics, mathematical modeling, optimization, and statistical methods for the analysis of big data,” Jain says. “This has been the result both of considerable growth in our faculty and the growing student interest in the STEM-designated discipline of Management Science. In parallel, the launch of our new master’s program in asset management has led to the creation of several new courses in financial mathematics, which is another STEM-designated field. Both of these developments — the creation of a concentration in Management Science in the MBA and MAM programs and the launch of the master’s in asset management — were faculty-led curricular initiatives that began about a year ago and have received widespread affirmation from students, employers, and alumni.”
NEW CONCENTRATION AVAILABLE FOR CLASSES OF 2020 & 2021
Yale SOM joins a growing number of schools across the U.S. (see chart above) that offer STEM-designated graduate degrees; read our reporting on the rationale behind B-schools’ embrace of STEM and the realities behind the designation. Schools’ chief motivation is that STEM, in addition to benefiting international students who may want to work longer in positions related to their studies at U.S. firms after graduation, helps all students — foreign and domestic — remain competitive in a marketplace where analytical and other quant skills are increasingly sought. But not everyone is convinced it’s a good idea.
Yale’s new MBA and MAM Management Science concentrations “will draw on the Yale SOM faculty’s broad expertise in applying quantitative methods to challenges in business and management,” according to the school’s announcement. Students will qualify for the concentration by completing a minimum number of credits in eligible courses, such as Data Analysis and Causal Inference, Speculation and Hedging in Financial Markets, and Big Data and Customer Analytics. Students must take a minimum of 16 credit units of eligible courses; for MBA students, 6 credits of the requirement will come from the MBA core.
The new concentration will be available to currently enrolled students in the Classes of 2020 and 2021 who complete the required coursework, as well as incoming students. The typical MAM cohort is around 65 students each year; the MMS Asset Management, seating its first class in the fall, will have an undetermined number, with the school saying only that interest has been very high.
“The Management Science concentration is a signal of the student’s depth of knowledge in a field of growing importance to organizations in all sectors of the economy and all regions of the globe,” Anjani Jain says. “We believe that the body of knowledge in this field will continue to grow rapidly and that our curriculum gives our graduates the foundation upon which they will continue to learn as they assume roles of greater leadership and responsibility in their organizations.
“Similarly, the newly designed master’s program in asset management builds on Yale SOM’s extraordinary record, in partnership with David Swensen and the Yale Investment Office, of producing leaders in asset management and stewards of large endowments. We expect this program to prepare the next generation of leaders in asset management.”
DON’T MISS STEM MBA PROGRAMS AT U.S. B-SCHOOLS
AND SEE P&Q’s COVERAGE OF TOP B-SCHOOLS’ EMBRACE OF STEM: