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Data is the new oil of the digital economy. That’s one of the reasons new-age businesses should possess the skills to leverage data to compete in the digital economy. That’s why tech and business should go hand in hand and managers should have the ability to leverage tech and data to run cross-functional teams. Considering these demands by businesses, business schools have been adapting their curriculum to keep up. Business schools have been doing so by offering STEM MBA programs.

stem mba

What are STEM MBA programs?

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. 

Technically, a generic MBA program does not fall in the STEM category.

MBA programs come in all shapes and sizes. But what if you’re interested in a career in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM)? Do you have to choose between an MBA and a specialized STEM degree? Not anymore. There are now STEM MBA programs that allow you to focus on these specific areas while also getting the benefits of a traditional MBA. So what are they, and what can they offer you? Read on to find out.

Benefits of STEM MBA programs

Career opportunities

Employers value MBAs because they demonstrate high-level business skills. MBA students gain valuable experience, possibly through capstones or internships. STEM-focused networking opportunities with partner companies, peers, and alumni are also available to degree candidates.

Extended 36-month OPT

STEM MBA graduates in the United States are eligible for an extended period of OPT. This means that they can stay in the country and work for up to 36 months after graduating, instead of the standard 12 months.

This is a huge advantage for STEM MBA graduates, as it gives them plenty of time to gain work experience and establish themselves in their chosen field.

The extended OPT also makes it easier for STEM MBA graduates to find jobs that are a good match for their skills and interests.

In addition, the extended OPT allows STEM MBA graduates to continue to contribute to the US economy by working in high-skilled jobs. STEM MBA graduates who take advantage of the extended OPT are able to make a real difference in their chosen field, and they are an essential part of the US workforce.

STEM MBA programs

S. NoSchoolSTEM MBA Program
1.Harvard Business SchoolManagement Science Track in Full-Time MBA
2.Stanford GSBEntire Full-Time MBA, MSx Degrees
3.WhartonMajors in Full-Time MBA: Actuarial Science; Business Analytics; Business Economics & Public Policy; Business, Energy, Environment & Sustainability; Operations, Information & Decisions; Statistics
4.Chicago BoothEntire Full-Time MBA
5.MIT SloanEntire Full-Time MBA, Sloan Fellows MBA, Sloan Executive MBA
6.Northwestern – KelloggManagement Science Major in Full-Time MBA
7.Columbia Business SchoolEntire Full-Time MBA; Executive MBA
8.UC-Berkeley HaasEntire Full-Time MBA, Evening & Weekend MBA, Executive MBA
9.Dartmouth TuckManagement Science & Quantitative Analysis Track in Full-Time MBA
10.Yale SOMManagement Science Concentration in MBA, Master of Advanced Management; Entire Master of Asset Management
11.Michigan RossBusiness Analytics Track in Full-Time MBA
12.Virginia DardenSpecialization in Management Science in Full-Time MBA
13.NYU SternEntire Full-Time MBA, 1-Year Andre Koo Technology and Entrepreneurship MBA
14.Cornell JohnsonOne- and Two-Year Management Science MBAs
15.Duke FuquaMBA With Track Credential in Management Science and Technology Management (MSTeM)
16.UCLA AndersonFull-Time, Fully-Employed, and Executive MBAs
17.Carnegie Mellon TepperEntire Full-Time MBA
18.Texas-Austin McCombsMS in Finance, MS in Marketing, MS in Energy Management
19.USC MarshallSpecialization in Management Science in Full-Time MBA
20.UNC Kenan-FlaglerBusiness Analytics & Management Science Concentration in Full-Time MBA
21.Washington FosterTechnology Management MBA, MS in Business Analytics
22.Emory GoizuetaMS in Business Analytics
23.Georgetown McDonoughManagement Science Major in Full-Time MBA
24.Indiana KelleyFive Majors In Full-Time MBA: Accounting, Business Analytics, Finance, Marketing, and Supply Chain & Operations
25.Rice JonesAll Master’s Programs

STEM MBAs vs. STEM Degrees vs. MBAs

STEM MBA programs prepare students to be business leaders. Technology, engineering, and mathematical principles are used in programs to improve marketing, management, and sales skills. General MBA programs, on the other hand, present the core curriculum through the lens of business analytics, business forecasting, and other quantitative methods.

STEM MBASTEM DEGREEMBA
Credits~30-52 credits~30-36 credits~30-52 credits
Timeline1-2 years1-2 years1-2 years
Typical Career PathsIT manager, management consultant, financial manager, marketing manager, sales engineerVaries widely depending on the program; examples include architects, statisticians, web developers, computer programmers, sales engineersGeneral and operations manager, chief executive, management consultant, financial manager, marketing manager
Admission RequirementsAccredited bachelor’s degree, with or without business experience. Some programs require 2+ years of work experience. Materials often include a resume, GMAT or GRE scores, essays, and an interview.Accredited bachelor’s degree, often in the area of study. Materials often include GRE scores, recommendations, and a minimum 3.0 GPA.Accredited bachelor’s degree, with or without business experience. Some programs require 2+ years of work experience. Materials often include a resume, GMAT or GRE scores, essays, and an interview.

Who should do a STEM MBA?

STEM MBAs are ideal for business school candidates who want to lead data-driven and tech-driven teams in fast-paced environments. International students who want to work in the United States after graduation can take advantage of the OPT extension at STEM-designated institutions, which allows them to work for three years without the need for business sponsorship.

In their current form, STEM MBA programs combine business and analytics studies. They are concentrating on developing business abilities through data science. However, not every MBA applicant will come from a technical academic background, making this program less appealing.

Furthermore, some applicants will be looking for a more general management degree, and a STEM MBA may not be the best fit for them. As a result, before enrolling in a STEM MBA program, make sure you are familiar with the technical and science-based curriculum.

“At Fuqua, we have both international and domestic students pursuing the STEM MBA,” says Russ Morgan, Senior Associate Dean for Full-Time Programs at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, which offers a track credential in Management Science and Technology Management (MSTeM) as a part of the Duke MBA. “For any graduate, it not only provides a path that focuses more heavily on the underlying analytical tools and applications but also makes a clear signal that the student has chosen that path.”

What types of jobs can you get with a STEM MBA?

Graduates with a STEM MBA enter the job market with in-demand abilities. Management occupations had median annual compensation of $109,760 in May 2020, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, making them the highest-paying occupational group.

Many specific management positions pay even more. Financial managers, for example, make $134,180 on average, while computer and information systems managers make $151,150.

MBA degree holders can use specific talents to impress potential employers, as STEM professions are a fast-developing segment of the labor market.

Engaging with admissions staff and asking what types of firms recruit from their programs and what types of roles their graduates often fill should be part of determining your match for individual STEM MBA programs.

Then you must assess if this is in line with your objectives. While some programs specialize in connecting students with STEM industry companies, a STEM MBA can prepare you for long-term career success in a variety of fields and does not restrict you to one industry or job function.

“STEM MBAs don’t just provide a unique set of skills for some specific careers, but complementary skills from the breadth of the program,” explains Duke’s Russ Morgan. “That combination is the value driver. We have heard from alums in fintech, consulting, tech, marketing, and more who are grateful for the depth of exposure they had within our STEM MBA track.”

STEM MBA FAQs

What does STEM stand for?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Is MBA a STEM degree?

MBAs are not STEM degrees. However, due to the MBA’s focus on business analytics, decision theory, finance, economics, information technology, law, marketing, management, statistics, and strategy, a few MBA programs are STEM-designated.

Is a STEM MBA better than an MBA?

A STEM MBA can be an excellent choice for business professionals wanting to hone their skills in data mining and analytical business strategy or apply technological solutions to business problems.

Which business schools have their full-time MBA programs STEM-designated?

These business schools’ full-time MBA programs are STEM-designated:
Stanford GSB
Chicago BoothColumbia Business School
NYU Stern
UC Berkeley Haas
CMU Tepper
Simon Business School

What is the OPT period for MBA students?

The OPT period for MBA students is 12 months. However, if you’re a graduate of STEM MBA programs then your OPT would be 36 months.

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