A 2016 report by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) followed up on their previous study, from 2011, observing the impact of analytics – The Age of Analytics: Competing in a Data Driven World. In their study, they found that most organizations and companies have captured only a fraction of the true potential of data and analytics.
The greatest progress having been made in location-based services and US retail. Sectors like manufacturing, the public sector in advanced economies and health care, are still lagging behind in a whole-hearted adoption of the data and its analytical possibilities.
More than anything, now, businesses need to equip themselves with the four main aspects of stepping into the analytics realm.
- Understand the use of data analytics and how it will drive value and strategies.
- Build the capability to harness and collect the vast amounts of data. This includes massive digitization.
- Find the talent to derive insights from the data.
- And, orient business processes to incorporate these insights.
The way businesses are run is changing. The race to embrace data analytics is on and so is the increasing demand for analytics talent. Not just data experts but also experts who understand the impact of the insights on organizations – the business plus analytics experts.
Read Newbie’s guide to career options in analytics
So, what is a STEM MBA Program?
Several MBA programs and specific MBA Specializations have begun to appreciate the demand and incorporate analytic skills well within the daily curriculum.
Many of these programs, or specific MBA specialities, have the stamp of approval by the US government to be certified, or designated, as STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) courses.
In this article, we will talk about the motivation and some of the Business Schools in the US that have adopted this designation.
What are the advantages of a STEM MBA Program?
It is true that many business schools have active Master’s programs which incorporate the goodness of technology and business education. However, MBA programs have only started scratching the potential that comes from a STEM designation. Here are some of the motivators working towards such a cause.
The demand for Business Translators and Leaders
It is estimated that the number of data science programs could increase by over 7% a year but still not compensate for the excess of 12% increase in demand. The above report also predicts that there could be a shortage of nearly 250,000 data scientists and analytics experts, in the next few years.
But even with their expertise, companies will need Business translators to bridge data savvy and organizational, and industry, functional expertise. There is a growing demand for such human resources who are experts in business as well as in the STEM fields to meet the expectations of a role which is as well-versed in Business as it is in Analytics and Technology. This is where STEM MBA Programs step in.
The extra edge
University of Rochester’s Simon Business School recently became the first full-time MBA program to be assigned as fully STEM MBA. This is regardless of the MBA specialization. What this means is that their program focusses on building data driven decision making capability and sound quantitative skills among its students, to become future business leaders with strong analytical acumen.
“A STEM MBA option is a reflection of today’s business needs. The ability to pause and analyse data, and make better business decisions is increasingly important in all levels of an organization, all the way up to the c-suite,” says Andrew Ainslie, Dean of Simon Business School in this video.
The STEM MBA stamp acts as an added credential over the already rigorous business curriculum that their graduates undergo. Employers, with one foot into the future hold such quantitative skills in high regard and STEM MBA graduates will have that recruitment advantage.
In fact, more than 85% firms, according to a NewVantage Partners survey among 50 Fortune 1000 or industry leading companies, have already begun transforming into data driven organizations. Hiring patterns will certainly reflect that culture.
Read Business Specializations in demand by recruiters – MBA and other Business Masters
Work Permit advantage to International Students
One of the biggest drawing points, targeted at the massive crowds of international students flocking American business schools each year, is the employment opportunity upon graduation.
Average salaries, in the US, are among the highest within the MBA cohort. North America is somewhere in the vicinity of an average of $124,000 starting salary. Whereas, Asia Pacific hovers around $90,000.
Given that a majority of international students waltz in from China, India, and other international boarding points with comparatively lesser average RoI on an MBA, it is safe to assume that work opportunities play a big role in their decision to travel the seas.
With a STEM designation, these MBA programs have gained the government approved status of a STEM extension on their OPT. This makes their student F1 to work H1B visa transition comfortably cushioned, with 12 months OPT plus 2 years of additional OPT – a total of 36 months.
This is a big biiig advantage to international students. Read Optional Practical Training (OPT) on F1 Visa in USA
List of Business Schools with STEM MBA Programs
Not many schools are there in the brotherhood yet. In fact, except for Simon Business School, pretty much all the other MBA programs have adopted a STEM designation/certification for certain specialities.
Here is a list of the schools and the respective specialities.
- University of Rochester, Simon Business School: STEM designation for all specializations in full-time MBA
- Cornell University, SC Johnson College of Business: The Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program is STEM-designated.
- University of Wisconsin Madison: STEM designation for full-time MBA with a specialization in Operations and Technology Management and Supply Chain Management
- University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Charlton College of Business: STEM designation for Charlton MBA with a specialization in Business Analytics
- University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business: MBA/Master of Science in Business Analytics Dual Degree is STEM designated
- University of Connecticut, School of Business: STEM designation for MBA with concentration in Business Analytics, Digital Marketing Strategy, and Financial Management and Investments
- University of Georgia, Terry College of Business: One year STEM MBA option for University of Georgia undergraduates majoring in STEM discipline
- Duke University, Fuqua School of Business: MSTeM concentration offers STEM OPT benefits for international students
- University of Virginia, Darden School of Business: Offers a new specialization in management science that’s STEM designated
- University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business: Full-Time MBA students at USC Marshall as well as IBEAR students can pursue a STEM certified Management Science specialization.
- UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School: Launched a new concentration in business analytics and management science in 2019 that’s STEM designated
- Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business: CMU Tepper announced in November 2019 that its MBA program became STEM-designated
- MIT, Sloan School of Management: MIT Sloan, which has already been a strong player in STEM for a long time, added its MBA program to the list
- University of California (Berkeley), Haas School of Business: UC Berkeley Haas, another top MBA, embraced STEM in 2019.
- University of Michigan, Ross School of Business: After a 6.2% drop in applications in 2018 and 2019, Ross joined the list of elite universities that offer STEM MBA programs. Students much complete 18 credits of STEM-specific electives.
- University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management: A 3-year application slump prompted UC Davis to jump onto the STEM bandwagon.
- Indiana University, Kelley School of Business: The worst hit among the lot, with a 40% drop in applications, it was about time Indian Kelley turned STEM too.
- Stanford University, Graduate School of Business: It’s MBA and MSx programs have joined the party.
- The University of Iowa, Tippie College of Business: STEM designation in full-time MBA for The Business Analytics Academy [Iowa Tippie informed MBA Crystal Ball that their Full-time MBA program has closed. The last class of MBA – Business Analytics students graduated in May ’19.]
Clearly, the list is still very small and many famous business school MBAs are yet to jump on the STEM certified bandwagon.
MBA Crystal Ball asked Professor Robert F. Easley – John W. Berry Sr. Department Chair IT, Analytics, & Operations, Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame – a few questions to undersand what STEM programs have to offer.
MBA Crystal Ball: How is the format of a STEM MBA different from a regular MBA?
Professor Easley: To be precise, the MBA itself is not a STEM degree here, it is the MSBA that is designated as a STEM degree in all three of our MS level Business Analytics programs.
The students in the MBA/MSBA dual degree program apply to and are accepted by both programs (though with a single application), and end up with the STEM-related extensions to their OPT due to the MSBA degree.
We offer an MSBA program in Chicago for working executives which does not attract international students, though if they are working in the US they could apply.
We have an on-campus residential MSBA program that is attractive for recent graduates, including international students, because it can be completed in 9 months.
The dual degree students take the MBA core curriculum and then most of their elective courses are taken from the MSBA program, so they accomplish the full 30 credits required for the MSBA. They also (more than) complete the MBA Business Analytics concentration in the process, which fulfills the MBA requirement to complete a concentration.
They have enough elective space to complete one other concentration (Corporate Finance, Investments, Marketing, Consulting, Business Leadership, or Entrepreneurship) if they want to do so.
The other two-year MBA students, who are not in the dual degree program, often complete two concentrations, with about half of them electing the Business Analytics concentration as one of them.
MCB: What reactions have you seen from international and domestic applicants after this change?
Professor Easley: Our first cohort of dual-degree students numbered 25 and our second 26, which aligns well with our targets for admission. They make up approximately 20% of the full two-year MBA cohort. The composition of each cohort is about 80% international, 20% domestic.
MCB: Is the bschool taking steps to educate the hiring community? What kind of responses have you seen from recruiters?
Professor Easley: Our Graduate Business Career Services office recently added an associate director position dedicated to serving the needs of the MSBA graduates across all three programs. The first cohort of dual-degree students all had internships, with about 1/3 each in finance, marketing, and consulting positions.
For our Chicago program, where the students are already employed, we look at promotion either within the firm or by switching firms, and have results ranging from 69 to 95% in enhanced roles over the year or two post-graduation.
The market for business analytics graduates spans all virtually all business domains, so the corporate relations piece is wide-ranging and will continue to be a focus of development for some time.
The general response from employers to our MSBA offerings is uniformly positive, but at this stage we find many firms still working out how they will respond to the growing supply of business analytics graduates.
Although, many business schools do already have Master’s programs, offered by their department, in specializations that qualify as STEM certified. Master of Business Analytics, Master in Supply Chain Management, Master in Operations Management, Master in Financial Risk Management, Master in Business Analytics and Project Management, and more, have already gained the status of STEM in many business schools across America.
Read MS in Business Analytics (MSBA) vs MBA: Pros and Cons and MS in Big Data Analytics: Hot trend in B-Schools
The exceptional, and outstanding quality, that a combination of MBA and a STEM designation, provides, is in extracting the goodness of the MBA degree and combining it with a training to think analytically, at the same time.
Perhaps, with coming years, we will see many more names added to the above handful list. Do let us know if you come across one. Until then, good luck in your data-driven scientifically appreciated program decision.
Sources:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13