Hidden MBA Gems: How These B-Schools Have Embraced The STEM Surge

Tennessee Haslam, the No. 48 B-school in P&Q‘s latest ranking, offers two dual degrees and a Master of Business Analytics with STEM designation. Haslam photo

2020

P&Q RANK

SCHOOL NAME

STEM PROGRAMS/PATHWAYS

#40

Texas-Dallas (Jindal)

MS in Business Analytics, MS in Energy Management, MS in Finance, MS in Financial Technology and Analytics, MS in Information Technology and Management, MS in Management Science, MS in Supply Chain Management, MS in Systems Engineering and Management

#41

Michigan State (Broad)

Master’s in Business Analytics, Master’s in Finance

#42

Boston University (Questrom)

None

#43

Maryland (Smith)

Master of Quantitative Finance, Master of Science in Marketing Analytics, Master of Science in Information Systems, Master of Science in Supply Chain Management

#44

Arizona State (Carey)

Entire Full-Time MBA

#45

Texas A&M (Mays)

MS Finance, MS Management Information Systems

#46

UC-Irvine (Merage)

Entire Full-Time MBA; Analytics in Digital Leadership Concentration

#47

UC-Davis

Entire Full-Time MBA

#48

Tennessee-Knoxville (Haslam)

MS-Business Analytics (MSBA)Dual MBA/MSBA; Dual MBA/MS Engineering

#49

Utah (Eccles)

Master of Science in Finance, Master of Science in Business Analytics, Master of Science in Information Systems

#50

George Washington

Entire Global MBA, Accelerated MBA, Master of Science in Business Analytics

No. 44 Arizona State University W.P. Carey School of Business

Entire Full-Time MBA

The STEM designation announced by the Carey School shows its “continual focus on the growing worldwide demand for well-rounded, analytical thinkers in the workforce,” Dean Amy Hillman says. “As companies and our business partners rely more on analytics, we evolved our programs to stay future-oriented, making sure our students graduate with the technical skills employers need.” The designation applies to all five Carey MBA platforms: Full-time, Professional Flex, Executive, Online, and the new Fast-track MBA. At Thunderbird School of Global Management, meanwhile, which in 2017 became part of the ASU system, Dean Sanjeev Khagram has overseen a $100 million facelift that includes the groundbreaking on a new state-of-the-art facility. The school, once left for dead, is on the rebound; its new building is slated to open in fall 2021. Capping a year of expansion in multiple programs and partnerships with schools and companies worldwide, the school’s flagship Master of Global Management degree earned STEM designation in three pathways: Global Business, Digital Transformation, Data Science — in late 2020.

Sanjeev Khagram. Thunderbird photo

It’s a renaissance in the desert for a school that less than a decade ago was an afterthought in graduate business education.

“Obviously we’re all pivoting, but we’re quite confident in the kind of digitally enhanced delivery that we’re doing,” Khagram told P&Q in 2020. “Our faculty and students have really adapted, because of ASU’s digital innovation capacities for Thunderbird. As part of ASU, we’ve been able to transition to what we call ‘digital enhanced,’ digital face-to-face learning, rather than online learning. And that’s gone really well with our current programs.

“We are very strong believers that the world will open up again. Getting STEM is critical, because there’s lots of students from around the world who of course want to stay here and get work experience. But we’ve been very active with our regional centers of excellence around the world in Tokyo, in Nairobi, in Seoul, and soon we’re going to launch in Mexico City, in Sao Paulo, to create opportunities — job opportunities, internship and employment opportunities — for our students, to either go back to their home region or city or go to a different home city or region. Or for our American students to get out into the world. That’s really what makes Thunderbird unique.

“We have a two-pronged strategy for STEM that we’re going to keep advancing, so that we can support those who really do want to stay here, but also working with our alumni and our centers around the world to generate more employment opportunities — so that a student from India doesn’t have to just stay because they think that the United States is the only place. They can actually go to another part of the world.

“We are still continuing to believe that our global strategy has to complement the domestic STEM strategy to create job opportunities for our students.”

No. 46 University of California-Irvine Paul Merage School of Business

Entire Full-Time MBA; Analytics in Digital Leadership Concentration

Merage School of Business specifically redesigned its MBA curricula, course content, delivery modes, and co-curricular programs “to create unparalleled learning experiences with a single goal: preparing you to propel your career and lead your organization to success in our digitally driven world.” The Merage FTMBA degree is now fully STEM-designated, “dedicated to deepening student’s knowledge and leadership of Management Science and Quantitative Methods. The new Analytics in Digital Leadership concentration “has been designed for MBA students interested in deepening their knowledge of specific coding languages and analytical tools such as Python, SQL and Tableau. It was built to be aligned with managerial functions in data analytics, data science, business intelligence and strategy.

No. 47 University of California-Davis Graduate School of Management

Entire Full-Time MBA

UC-Davis’ STEM designation reflects “the quality of the nationally ranked program and a rigorous curriculum emphasizing quantitative analysis and data-driven decision making. Innovative application of data in business decision making has become a highly valued skill demanded by employers — especially here in Northern California and Silicon Valley,” the school says. “There is strong demand for UC-Davis MBA graduates in STEM-related roles.” Dean H. Rao Unnava compares his school’s MBA curriculum to Rochester Simon’s.

No. 48 University of Tennessee-Knoxville Haslam College of Business

MS-Business Analytics (MSBA)Dual MBA/MSBA; Dual MBA/MS Engineering

The curriculum at the MS in Business Analytics at the Haslam College “emphasizes small cohorts, career coaching, and team building to reflect real-world business dynamics,” according to the school. Students learn to use advanced analytical techniques, develop skills in R, SQL, and Python, and maximize learning through professional case studies and presentations. The 62-credit MBA/MSBA “brings the full power of mathematical, statistical, and computer-based models to the world of business, developing graduates who can successfully bridge the sizable gap that currently exists between the practical aspects of business and the analytical capabilities enabled by information systems,” the school says. “The analytic skills taught encompass four overlapping areas: business intelligence, data mining, process optimization and applied statistics.” In the 60-credit, MBA/MS Engineering, grads learn “to take a leading management role in companies that must react quickly to a dynamic market where forces of competition require rapid changes via short cycles in design, manufacturing and product development.”

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