Businesses around the world are beginning to wake up to the power of data.
A business that can harness data science has a huge advantage over competitors who can’t. But business expertise and technology expertise have so far been mutually exclusive skill sets.
That’s the gap that a STEM MBA looks to bridge.
STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM MBA programs have been specifically designed to cater to the career aspirations of STEM professionals who are interested in business and management.
In this article, we will discuss:
- What is a STEM MBA? How is it different from an MBA and a Masters in Business Analytics?
- Current Scenario of STEM Designation
- STEM MBA Careers
- Top STEM MBA Programs in the US
Let’s dive in!
What is a STEM MBA and How is it Different?
STEM is a designation given by the US Government’s Department of Homeland Security to a select few programs across the country. Non-American students who enroll in courses with this designation are allowed to live and work in the US without an H1B visa for up to three years after graduating. In any non-STEM degree program, the average time students can stay and work in the US without an H1B visa is one year.
Academically, think of a STEM MBA as a hybrid between the traditional MBA and an MS. A STEM MBA graduate can perform the business functions of an MBA role while implementing data processing and analytical skills that are expected from MS holders.
Unlike the traditional MBA, a STEM MBA requires candidates to have a strong technical background. It is designed to build on existing STEM knowledge, to help students understand how to put this knowledge to use in a business setting.
In essence, a STEM MBA opens up opportunities that were hitherto closed to MBA graduates.
Current Scenario of the STEM Designation
There are two simultaneous conditions that are affecting STEM designated MBA courses in the US.
First is the fact that the US is not producing enough skilled STEM professionals to fulfill the requirement created by its domestic job market. This means that the government is under pressure to produce more STEM professionals than it currently is.
Secondly, international admissions into US B-Schools are hitting an all-time low in the year 2020. This is mostly due to the anti-immigration policies of the Trump administration and the growing social hostility towards immigrants within the US. The drop in international admissions adversely affects B-School revenues, simultaneously adding to the first problem.
The extendable 3 year OPT period following a STEM MBA is highly attractive for international students. Furthermore, the STEM designation provided by the US Department of Homeland Security has proven to boost the number of international applications. As a result, the American government is under tremendous pressure to increase the number of STEM MBA programs in the country.
This goes to say that you can safely expect the number of STEM MBA programs in the US to rise in the coming years.
STEM MBA Careers
STEM fields are integral to the progress of humanity as a whole. From making advancements in machine learning and AI to developing alternative, renewable sources of energy, STEM professionals are at the forefront of it all.
Can you imagine what would happen if these STEM professionals also possessed strong business acumen?
That’s exactly what a STEM MBA looks to do; it imbues STEM professionals with advanced business skills. This leads to the creation of the next generation of professionals capable of meeting the requirements of a whole host of new professions.
Here are some of the industries you can expect to work in after gaining a STEM MBA.
- Data Science
Known also as ‘Business Translators’, STEM MBA graduates with a specialization in data science are in high demand as organizations of all sizes look to turn into data-driven enterprises. The general idea is that the greater an organization’s ability to harness data is, the better it will do on all fronts.
STEM MBA graduates have a powerful edge over pure STEM candidates because of their added understanding of what will work best for the business. They are specialists in comparison to pure STEM candidates.
- Environmental Energy
World War III will be fought over natural resources. Lifestyles all over the world have developed around the use of oil, water, and other natural resources – but now, we’re running short of them all. Environmental Energy looks to discover the energy-creation potential within alternative resources that are far more abundant than the ones we use now.
A trained professional who can not only understand the science but also the business angle of Environmental Energy is critical for most businesses in this field. A STEM MBA with a suitable background in engineering makes you exactly that.
- Internet of Things
We live in the age of smart-everything. From cell phones and watches to entire homes and vehicles, everything is rapidly becoming automated and interconnected. There’s no better example of the limitations this interconnectivity can help us break than this video.
If you have an academic background in computing and software, a STEM MBA is all you need to become a highly coveted professional for any business looking to automate or implement AI into its products or services.
- Cyber Security
In the age of information, data is everything. From national security information to financial records and data, there is a lot of stuff that is highly valuable and therefore susceptible to hacking attacks. National governments and business of all sizes are equally at risk of cyber-attacks aimed at stealing sensitive data.
In such times, professionals are needed to identify the greatest threats and proactively take measures to protect the most susceptible areas of a company’s online presence. A professional who understands the business knows exactly what data matters most – and there’s nobody better than a STEM MBA graduate.
The highest demand for STEM MBA graduates comes from the tech sector. We believe it’s easy to understand how valuable a business professional with a STEM specialization is to an industry seeking to use technology to bring about the best results for businesses around the world.
Tech professionals have gone in for MBAs in pursuit of career advancement since many years now. The STEM MBA takes the advancement one step further by utilizing and furthering their existing STEM knowledge to sharpen the edge they have over traditional MBA as well as MS candidates.
In truth, there is no limit to the number of industries and professions in which a STEM MBA graduate can find success. The five mentioned industries are good examples, but in no way do they encompass the possibilities that open up after completing a STEM designated MBA from the best universities in the US.
Speaking of which, let’s now take a look at the best STEM designated MBA programs in the US.
Top 7 STEM MBA Programs in the US
- Texas Tech University, Rawls College of Business: STEM MBA
A standard MBA program built specifically for students with an undergraduate degree in any STEM field, the Rawls STEM MBA is one of seven such programs available in the US. The program lasts two years and includes courses on accounting, business analytics, decision theory, finance, economics, information technology, law, marketing, management, statistics, and strategy, along with STEM-specific electives.
There is also an accelerated program option which only requires 42 credit hours. The class schedule for this accelerated course can be condensed so that you can finish your STEM MBA in one year.
Fill out this form to receive more information about this program.
- University of Rochester, Simon Business School
The Simon Business School is ranked at #83 by Financial Times for its Global MBA. It is the first institution in the US to offer a STEM MBA irrespective of the concentration you choose.
At Simon, you can pick any subject as your concentration to get your STEM designated MBA. Most other schools have acquired the STEM designation only for a select number of subjects. At those schools, your MBA will hold a STEM designation only if you major in those specific subjects, whereas at Simon, the entire program is focused on analytic frameworks and quantitative analysis.
Take a look at the details provided on the official Simon website.
- University of Wisconsin, Madison: Operations and Technology Management, Supply Chain Management
The University of Wisconsin at Madison offers two MBA concentrations that hold the STEM designation: Operations and Technology Management (OTM), and Supply Chain Management (SCM). Both these courses are full-time, on-campus, two-year MBAs.
Supported by the Erdman Center for Operations and Technology Management, the MBA in OTM is made for students with a background in engineering or any other areas of technology. There are focused courses on Healthcare Management, Entrepreneurial Management, Technology Product Management, and Production Systems Management within the OTM specialization.
The specialization in SCM is delivered through the Grainger Center for Supply Chain Management. Industry-standard tools like SAP’s Enterprise Resource Planning system, and Lean Six Sigma training (culminating in Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification), are integrated into the curriculum to give you the skills employers seek.
You can explore more about this program and the University on the University webpage.
- University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Charlton College of Business: Business Analytics
The Business Analytics specialization of the MBA program at the Charlton College of Business is certified with the STEM designation by the US Department of Homeland Security. The University of Massachusetts, a.k.a. UMass, is the parent University of the Charlton College of Business.
Whether you take the STEM concentration or something else, the course will require you to complete 30 credits from 10 courses. 3 of these courses are electives while 7 are core subjects. The College assesses applications to see if any of the applicants need foundation courses in business before they commence their MBAs. Those who do can opt for the extra courses at Charlton.
You can find more information on this program on the University website.
- University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business: MBA-MSBA Dual Degree
The Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame offers a unique dual-degree MBA-MSBA program. This program is STEM-designated from the US Department of Homeland Security.
The MBA-MSBA dual degree program is designed to build on a student’s existing knowledge in any of the STEM fields in a more enhanced manner than most STEM MBA programs. It is a standard program that requires 68 credits to be completed in two years. The MSBA electives are Emerging Issues in Analytics, Marketing Analytics, Marketing Research, SAP Predictive Analytics, Social Media Analytics, Sports Analytics, Strategic Business Technology, and Supply Chain Analytics. Interestingly, the program also offers a special optional course in Integral Leadership Development to further enhance students’ skills in a business environment.
You can fill out this form to request for more information directly from the university.
- University of Connecticut, School of Business:Business Analytics, Digital Marketing Strategy, and Financial Management and Investments
The STEM MBA at the University of Connecticut can be attained through three specific concentrations within the MBA program: Business Analytics, Digital Marketing Strategy, and Financial Management and Investments. The UConn School of Business offers a variety of other concentrations which do not carry the STEM designation for its MBA students.
The Financial Management and Investments elective offers three further specializations within it: Portfolio Management, Real Estate, and Healthcare Finance and Insurance. Both, the Digital Marketing Strategy and Business Analytics concentrations offer a variety of electives to help enhance different aspects of the students’ skill sets and personalities. All three concentrations require students to go through the full two years of the MBA program.
More information on this course is available on the University’s MBA webpage.
- University of Georgia, Terry College of Business: One year STEM MBA
This is one of the only programs in the country to provide a one-year option along with a STEM designation from the US Department of Homeland Security. The only catch is that this program is only for current students studying in any of the STEM undergraduate programs within the University of Georgia.
In addition to 8 Business Core subjects, students are expected to undertake one course each in experiential learning, business intelligence, and an additional elective of their choice. The Terry College of Business also offers an optional course in Communications and Career Effectiveness to help STEM-based students to overcome any inhibitions they may have in this regard and outperform their peers in the business arena.
For more information, contact MBA Admissions at 706-542-5671, firstname.lastname@example.org, or attend an Admissions Event to learn more.
The biggest takeaway from this is that your chances of getting into a STEM MBA program are the highest they can be this year. The competition among international candidates is lower than ever, and colleges value international applications more than ever, too.
Make the best of this opportunity! Reach out to us for help with choosing the right B-School for your STEM MBA today!