The battle for international students among U.S. MBA programs continues. In late February another business school announced that it has designated its four MBA programs as science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs. The Full-Time MBA, Flex MBA, Online MBA, and Executive MBA at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business are now all STEM-designated in a move school announced as “recognizing the analytical, data-informed nature of the curriculum.”
The designation acknowledges the value of the degree for those seeking to work in business analytics and technology-driven enterprise, says Rosellina Ferraro, Maryland Smith’s assistant dean of MBA programs.
“The Smith School STEM-designated MBA program prepares future business leaders to make better business decisions by offering a curriculum focused on technology and data analytics techniques and complementing them with skills in leadership and strategic thinking,” Ferraro says.
NOT THE FIRST ALL-STEM MBA IN THE STATE
STEM designation has another major appeal for B-schools: It gives them a way to attract international students, who are drawn by the fact that a STEM degree makes them eligible for a 24-month extension of their Optional Practical Training — and therefore a three-year work window in the U.S. during which they can continue trying for a visa while making U.S. salaries.
Maryland Smith joins a large group of business schools that have established STEM pathways since 2016, but it also joins a much smaller group whose entire MBA is STEM-designated. An unofficial count puts the number of such schools in the U.S. at 11, with Maryland’s immediate predecessor being a B-school located in the same state: Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in Baltimore. To make an entire MBA (or other) program STEM, more than 50% of the program’s required courses must meet STEM designation criteria. The University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business was the first school to achieve this distinction in 2018.
“A STEM-designated MBA is one more way that we offer our students the innovative Carey advantage,” Alex J. Triantis, dean of Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, said when Johns Hopkins made their announcement in January. “It’s part of a list of forward-thinking ways we design programs to give our students and alumni an edge. It lets them advance their careers and their leadership in the increasingly collaborative business world.”
ANOTHER PATH TO ACQUIRING TECH SKILLS
Infused throughout Maryland Smith’s coursework are issues around integrating AI, according to the school’s announcement. Courses include Data-Driven Decision Models, Data Analytics, and Strategic and Transformational IT, helping students to “build a strong foundational expertise.”
The Smith School has another way for students to to pick up in-demand tech innovation skills: Full-Time and Flex MBA students at the school can also take the Smith Graduate Certificate in Technology Management as a second-year elective track. “The program prepares public and private sector leaders to identify, transition and leverage emergent technology into and across their organizations and markets,” according to the school’s announcement. “Students explore the practical challenges of technology development and adoption, learn best practices in R&D management and innovation, understand the interface of public policy and private enterprise in science and technology, and craft strategies to cultivate emergent technology from concept to commercial use.” The certificate may also be taken as a stand-alone academic credential.
“Our STEM designation signals to employers that graduates from our program understand how to uncover data-derived insights to drive value creation,” says Neta Moye, assistant dean of career services for Maryland Smith School. “This is a skill valuable to any organization whose competitive advantage depends on data analytic capabilities, organizations well beyond the technology sector including consulting, finance, retail, and consumer products.”
DON’T MISS THIS B-SCHOOL IS NOW ONE OF ONLY 10 IN THE U.S. TO MAKE ITS ENTIRE MBA PROGRAM STEM and ALL THE STEM PROGRAMS AT MAJOR U.S. BUSINESS SCHOOLS
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