As per the World Economic Forum, over 100 million new jobs will emerge as the workplace becomes more digitized. To fill the gap for business leaders capable of understanding and leveraging technology in a tech-driven world, many universities across the globe have started offering STEM MBA programs. STEM MBA programs are designed to simultaneously provide you with business fundamentals as well as technology and analytical skills. It helps business leaders make decisions in a dynamic environment by leveraging data analytics tools while leading cross-functional teams.
But before we deep dive into the benefits of a STEM MBA program, let us first understand exactly what a STEM MBA program is.
What is a STEM MBA?
STEM is an acronym for “science, technology, engineering, and mathematics” and generally relates to technical careers. Meanwhile, a typical MBA program covers the foundations of a business and touches a broad range of subjects, including finance, marketing, economics as well as technology. Thus, business and management degrees don’t typically fall under STEM.
A STEM MBA or a STEM-certified MBA offers a curriculum taught with an emphasis on STEM applications in addition to the management fundamentals. The program typically includes specialized courses on accounting, decision theory, economics, technology law, statistics, etc., while providing the necessary management science and leadership skills to occupy companies’ leadership roles.
What’s the difference between STEM MBA and MBA?
The traditional MBA courses focus on building learners’ business and managerial skills.
Meanwhile, STEM MBA also focuses on learners’ technical skills. The current trend suggests that employees with capabilities of making decisions using technology and analytics are more employable than traditional MBA graduates of similar profiles.
In terms of courses, the STEM MBA program offers courses in the category of Business Analytics, Accounting with Statistics and Mathematics, Management in Information Systems, etc. It also covers other domains like Financial Management and Investment Banking, Digital Marketing, Operations and Technology Management, and Supply Chain Management. At the same time, the traditional MBA programs focus more on Hospitality and Facility Management, Human Resource Management, Sales and Marketing Management, Entrepreneurship, Hotel Management, etc. To see which programs rank the highest, check out our list of the top MBA programs in 2022.
If we speak from students’ profiles perspective, many STEM MBA courses are open to STEM undergraduates or people working in STEM roles. In comparison, traditional MBA courses are available to students from all fields.
One of the other primary differences between the two is the extended OPT program for STEM MBA. This brings us to the next topic – the benefits of STEM MBA programs
What are the benefits of STEM MBA programs?
OPT Program for International Students
With visa restrictions coming into play, the STEM MBA course provides international students with more extended Optional Practical Training (OPT). With a typical program, global learners can stay and work in the U.S. for 12 months after graduation. However, since there is a need for STEM-trained professionals in the country, learners who graduate from STEM-designated programs are allowed to apply for a three-year OPT.
Eligible students have an option to apply for an extension of OPT after the initial period of 12 months. Refer to the US DHS page for STEM OPT for more details.
STEM MBA Students Are Equipped With Career-Ready Skills
As per Emerson’s report, increasing STEM skills shortage in the US will leave two million jobs empty by 2025. Almost every business is incorporating technology in its core value proposition. For instance, the rise of e-commerce, FinTech, and Social Media companies in the past few years has meant that technology is woven into the everyday tasks of most modern managers.
More Scope for International Students
Getting an H-1B visa has become very difficult for international students. Given the gap in talent pool in the STEM domain, students with STEM-MBA stand a better chance at getting hired and securing visas.
This creates a unique proposition for both local and international students looking to become equipped with career-ready skills in the US.
STEM MBA Programs in the US (2022)
These are the top STEM MBA programs in the US for 2022.
|MBA Program||STEM Designation||Program Length (months)|
|Arizona State: W.P. Carey School of Business||STEM designated MBA||21|
|Carnegie Mellon: Tepper||STEM MBA||24|
|Chicago Booth||Full-time MBA||24|
|Columbia Business School||MBA program||16-20|
|Cornell: Johnson School of Managment||Tech MBA||12|
|Harvard Business School||MBA with STEM specialization||24|
|Indiana: Kelley School of Business||STEM designated Majors ||24|
|Michigan Ross School of Business||MBA program||24|
|MIT: Sloan||MBA program||24|
|Northwestern University: Kellogg||STEM designated Majors ||24|
|NYU Stern||Full-time MBA||24|
|Rice: Jones Graduate School of Business||Full-time MBA||24|
|Stanford Graduate School of Business||MBA program||24|
|UC Berkeley: Haas||MBA program||24|
|UCLA: Anderson||Full-time MBA||24|
|UMass Dartmouth: Charlton||MBA program||12|
|UNC Kenan Flagler||Full-time MBA||24|
|University of Connecticut (UConn)||STEM-designated MBA concentrations||21|
|University of Georgia: Terry||Pathway MBA program||12|
|University of Rochester: Simon||MBA with a STEM designated option||24|
|University of Texas: McCombs School of Business||STEM designated concentrations||24|
|Wharton School of Business||STEM designated Majors ||24|
|Wisconsin School of Business||STEM-designated MBA||24|
|Worcester Polytechnic Institute: Foisie||Online MBA program for STEM professionals||32-64|
With almost all top US school incorporating multiple options for aspirants to pursue STEM designated MBA programs, the importance and popularity of these program is only going to increase in the future. With the dual benefit of teaching a highly relevant and in-demand skill as well as providing international students a way to stay and work in the US for three years after graduation, the program hits a sweet spot for all aspirants.
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