Why Notre Dame Mendoza Is ‘Sunsetting’ Its STEM Dual Degree Program

The Mendoza College MBA/MSBA dual degree allowed students to blend a values-based business education at Notre Dame with a love of data. But the school has eliminated the program and offered 2022 admits admission to the full-time MBA instead. Notre Dame photo

Notre Dame has eliminated a dual-degree program that served as a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) pathway.

The Mendoza College of Business is “sunsetting” its MBA/Master of Science in Business Analytics dual degree program, which was included in Poets&Quants‘ comprehensive list of STEM programs at top business schools published in January, says Mike Mannor, associate dean for the Mendoza MBA program. The MBA/MSBA is a four-semester, 68-credit program that conferred two degrees and promised students they would learn “everything you need to know about business and analytics.”

The program admitted 10 students last year and eight this year, Mannor says. Those who have been admitted will have the option to complete the program or enter the full-time MBA instead, he says.


Notre Dame’s Mike Mannor: MBA/MSBA is being ‘sunsetted’

Colin Haran, a recently admitted MBA/MSBA dual-degree student at Notre Dame, says he and his classmates were given no warning or explanation for why Notre Dame “pulled the plug” on the program, which had been slated to start in early June. Instead, Haran says, they were informed that they would be admitted to the Mendoza full-time MBA program, which gets underway in August.

“With my upcoming matriculation date scheduled for the first week of June, I have just been informed today that Notre Dame is pulling the plug on the MBA/MSBA dual-degree for this upcoming year, despite having admitted dozens of students into this program already,” Haran writes in an email to P&Q on March 30.

Haran says for those who do enter the full-time MBA after preparing for the dual program, the financial hit will be significant.

“Students have already signed summer leases in South Bend and have left their places of employment sooner than they originally would have planned,” he says, estimating his personal cost after leaving his job two months earlier than necessary and paying two months’ additional rent to be around $20,000.


However, Mannor says “we are sunsetting the program, but we are not ending it immediately, so students who are already admitted to the program are able to start that program and complete it, but we will not admit more students going forward.” Mannor says the school will meet with each admit to the MBA/MSBA to discuss whether they want to complete the program or enter the full-time MBA.

Notre Dame now has five STEM majors in the full-time MBA: Business Analytics, Corporate Finance, Digital Marketing & Marketing Analytics, Investments, and Supply Chain & Operations Management. With these, having the dual-degree STEM option became unnecessary, Mannor says.

“This program was created to have a STEM option because we did not at the time have a STEM MBA,” he says . “In those days, around 2018, there were questions about ‘How do we even get a STEM MBA?’ There was really strong resistance among academic councils at universities and provosts to calling what we do in the business school a STEM degree, and that obviously changed quite a bit in the last two years.

“It’s certainly not the case that there isn’t still need for STEM business programs. There is.”

The school’s other dual degrees are a three-year J.D./MBA; a four-year J.D./MBA; an MBA/science dual degree; an MBA/engineering dual degree; and an MBA/Master of Global Affairs dual degree. Mannor adds that for students who still want to get both the MSBA and MBA, “we will still have that available to them, we just won’t have it as a package program. They would have to do it sequentially, and we would work with them to do that.”


At the MBA/MSBA program site, Mendoza described its the program as including “a solid introduction to business analytics in the spring” of the first year, giving students “a foundation for your internship experience.” Returning for a second year, “you complete MSBA and MBA required courses, and then select from a wide range of elective offerings to suit your career objectives.”

Each of MBA/MSBA students’ four semesters consisted of two seven-week modules, separated by a one-week interterm intensive “focused on developing and applying your analytics skills.” Electives in the program, which was operated in partnership with Mendoza Executive Education, included Sports Analytics, Social Media Analytics, Strategic Business Technology, Supply Chain Analytics, and Healthcare Analytics.

On the MBA/MSBA curriculum page, the Mendoza College includes a passage titled “Integral Leadership Development,” in which it describes the program as a “signature leadership experience.”

“Our dual-degree MBA/MSBA students will not only master truly data-driven decision-making, but will also have a unique opportunity to combine this with strong leadership skills to advance their careers,” the school says. “Leadership skills are highly sought after by recruiters, and often most elusive to find at business schools. Every business school claims to teach effective leadership, but what does that really mean?

“At Mendoza, it means leading with confidence, from your core values, and being authentic. We want our students to understand their own strengths and weaknesses – then turn those into effective leadership skills that are as unique as the individual, and as applicable at any organizational level.”


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