Ask any international MBA student (or aspirant) about their top concerns about studying in the United States and you’ll find two that pop up frequently. At the pre-MBA stage, it’s financing. During and after the MBA, it’s about (not) having enough time in the U.S. to search for the right job.
For many years, the Fuqua School of Business (Duke University) has offered generous scholarships to deserving students. Now they’ve taken steps to address the second concern as well.
Fuqua MBA students are now allowed to take a second major in Management Science and Technology Management (MSTeM) adding the program to the club of STEM MBA programs. This certification offers all the benefits of a STEM certified masters program, including an extension to the Optional Practical Training (OPT) duration.
Varun Vaswani (on the right in the pic above), a second-year student in the Daytime MBA program at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, shares more about how the MSTeM certification has helped him.
Varun is a computer science engineer from BITS Pilani in India. He spent 3 years at Morgan Stanley’s Investment Management business in Mumbai before going to business school. He’s a huge soccer enthusiast, having both played and coached in India. After graduation, Varun will start work with the prestigious Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Atlanta.
It is no secret that there is a lot of interest in the tech industry. When Fuqua’s Career Management Center released its latest careers report, showing a record number of tech hires at Fuqua, it was great news for second-year students like myself who are getting ready to re-enter the business world.
Little did I know that a few weeks later, Fuqua would announce the exciting news that the Management Science and Technology Management (MSTeM) major received STEM designation.
I have had the opportunity to share with prospective students my experience with the MSTeM major. The only requirement to graduate with the MSTeM field of study is to complete eight electives from a menu of classes.
In general, these classes are focused on the opportunities and challenges related to big data and managing innovation and technology.
As I prepare for graduation and reflect on my learning experience with Fuqua, I wanted to share how the MSTeM major has helped to teach me things I might not have otherwise learned.
What interested me the most about the MSTeM major was the fact that I could take general management business courses and simultaneously learn cutting edge practical tools/techniques that I could take into my workplace to be more efficient and effective at my job.
The classes have been fantastic! There is a broad list of electives across five different business verticals.
The major has exposed me to a variety of business verticals and helped me to customize how in the weeds I would like to go in a particular vertical.
The classes have also helped me to step out of my comfort zone. Courses like the data analytics for business and crypto ventures (MSTeM electives) are more technical than your average business school courses.
If I had not pursued the MSTeM major, I’m not sure I would’ve pushed myself to take these courses, but I am glad I did!
Such courses gave me a basic technical and practical understanding of topics that are at the cutting and bleeding edge of technology that will be helpful in my career.
Besides the exciting classes, MSTeM provides incredible resources post-MBA careers for international students.
By completing the requirements for the major and getting a job in a STEM-related field, I will get 36-months of work authorization, compared to the standard 12-months.
My first application for the H1B visa has been submitted in April 2019. If I’m unsuccessful with this application, I am allowed to submit a second application in April 2020 before my 12 month OPT on my F1 visa expires.
Without the MSTeM certificate (and the corresponding 24 month STEM extension), I would be required to leave the country if I am unsuccessful both times.
The security the STEM extension will provide is that, if I am unsuccessful in both my applications, I can apply for a 24-month STEM extension on my F1 visa. This will allow me to continue working in the US on my F1 visa for an additional 24 months (totaling 36 months on my F1 visa) before needing an H1B.
This translates to two additional chances to apply for an H1B visa after F1 or a grand total of FOUR attempts at securing the visa.
This extra extension will be beneficial for me in going through the H1B / immigration process, allowing me to apply for the H1B visa lottery multiple times.
Having that extra time helps to ease the stress of finding an employer that sponsors the H1B visa and allows international students like myself to look for their dream job with more freedom.