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STEM Careers Are In Demand—Here’s 5 Skills You’ll Need To Succeed

STEM careers are in high demand in the US, with companies keen to hire MBA graduates with STEM skills. Find out which skills you'll need to build a successful career in STEM

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Thu Dec 19 2019

BusinessBecause
There’s never been a better time to pursue jobs in STEM. STEM salaries are 12-to-30% higher than salaries in non-STEM professions. And STEM careers are in high demand, with over two million jobs predicted to need filling by 2025. 

This is particularly good news for graduates from STEM MBA programs, with big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon continuing to increase their MBA hires each year. 

For business professionals eyeing up these sought-after careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), here are five skills you need to succeed:


1. Creative problem solving

Whether it’s a STEM, or non-STEM field, approaching problems with a creative mindset continues to be one of the most sought after skills for MBA graduates. The increasing digitalization of business is creating new, more efficient technological tools for dealing with problems. 

“Employers are looking for the same core skill of problem solving, but through the lens of technology,” explains Sheryle Dirks, associate dean for career management at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. 

“Leaders have more technology, more data, tools, and resources than ever before.”

The Fuqua MBA’s management science and tech management (MSTeM) designation offers students the chance to grasp these tools for addressing problem solving. Courses in programming fundamentals and data analysis all demonstrate how typical cores of business, like marketing and finance, have been changed by technology. 


2. Big data analysis

Mastering big data is becoming a key skill in the age of digitalization, and employers are finding it particularly difficult to find in employees. 

Google product manager Ran Mor, and Fuqua MBA graduate, illustrates how data is helping businesses to understand their customers better, and how they use it to refine their products. And it’s not just up to data analysts to understand it. 

“You can’t make wider decisions if you don’t understand the data. It’s important to be able to look at it yourself and know what to do with it,” Ran explains.

He particularly benefited from the data analytics class on the MSTeM, an introduction into the cores of data, as well as how to practically apply it. As part of Google's Mobile App Ads team, Ran deploys and analyzes data to help mobile developers promote their iOS and Android apps across Google's various platforms.


3. Ability to bridge the gap 

The diverse nature of tech companies makes them a particularly unique challenge for business leaders looking to get involved. Unlike industries like finance or consulting, where knowledge backgrounds are fairly similar, tech brings together a variety of industry professionals. 

This makes it even more important for STEM leaders to be able to bring together roles to make sure everyone’s pulling in the same direction.

Ran, from a software engineering background, remembers the conflict between engineers and managers from his former role as a mobile developer. Part of his MBA was learning how to bring together these different sides of the business. 

“Data analytics is a good example. It’s not just about coding, it’s not just about marketing, it’s about how you bring together both worlds for the benefit of the company,” Ran stresses. 


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4. Adaptability

The fast-evolving wave of digitalization means that employers are looking for leaders who are going to be able to adapt to change and progress. 

“While having hard skills, such as those in specific programming languages, can be an asset for an MBA candidate, the higher order benefit is being able to demonstrate to an employer that you can learn quickly and adapt to change in a rapidly moving environment," Sheryle underlines.

This is the key behind the course in programming fundamentals, which teaches the underlying competency that leaders will need to learn new web languages. 

This applies to many technologies, which are likely to undergo several changes even over a short career span. 

“You should show employers that you have the ability to learn new technologies that might be specific to each workplace and those that will emerge in years to come,” Sheryle insists. 


5. Strong leadership

All these skills are secondary to strong, confident leadership.

Leaders can’t be purely engineering focused, nor solely concerned with the management of the company. The “hybrid leader,'' Sheryle explains, can “bring together the technical and focused skill set [of the STEM world] with broad strategic mindset of the MBA”. 

With a STEM shortage in the US at the moment, programs like the MBA at Duke, with a STEM certification, offer significant benefits to international students who can demonstrate this hybrid leadership. This includes an extension on their visa, which increases the number of times they can apply for an H-1B (international work) visa. 

Strong leadership also stresses the importance of vision. While top employers like Google, Facebook, and Amazon want people with soft and hard skills, they want people who are going to drive innovation and bring the business forward. The Tim Cooks and the Sheryl Sandbergs of this world. 

“Somebody who can harness the power of technology and think about how it can serve our customers better, help us operate it more efficiently, and help us be a better business,” Sheryle underlines. 

Student Reviews

Duke University Fuqua School of Business

Student

Verified

31/10/2023

On Campus

Supportive atmosphere

The professors at Duke university exhibit exceptional commitment to the success and well-being of their students by ensuring their academic growth and fostering a supportive social atmosphere. Moreover, the entire community is recognized for its amicability and inclusiveness.

Maxwell

Verified

30/03/2023

On Campus

Diversity

The people or the students are without a doubt Duke's greatest asset. While all students are driven to succeed, they are also enthusiastic about a variety of hobbies. You run across a huge lot of diversity. It is the ideal example of a school with well-rounded students and the ideal balance of campus life in a metropolis.

Anabelle

Verified

27/02/2023

On Campus

Happy to school

All I could ever hope for is Duke University. That really epitomizes the "work hard, play hard" philosophy that elite colleges frequently pursue. Even though you'll have a lot of schooling to complete over the week, it's simple to keep focused because all of your friends are putting in similar amounts of effort. Many events taking place on and around campus on the weekends provide a great way to unwind. The combination of demanding academics and traditional college fun strikes the perfect balance.

Monica

Verified

27/02/2023

On Campus

Good schooling

Living, eating, learning, and developing who you want to be as an adult are all fantastic at Duke. I participated in student athletics, and I couldn't have asked for a better interaction with the faculty and other students. I appreciate all of the help I get from the Duke community more than anything. Furthermore, the teachers take the time to get to know you, and the lectures are diverse and demanding (if you do the same). I'd give it a 10 out of 10.

Aline

Verified

26/11/2022

On Campus

Beautiful School, Nice Classes

DU remains one the greatest and best universities that I have ever stepped in. The school is beautiful and neat. The classes are spacious and also very nice. I enjoyed attending my Lectures in those lecture halls. I also loved the Lecturers because of the good work they did. The university also has very good dorms that are given to students on first come first serve basis and they are affordable

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

Blended

Amazing experience

I received my B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Global Health with a minor in Chemistry from Duke University. I was able to grow as a student, scientist, and global health advocate with the help of my friends, professors, and other mentors I met along the way. A lot to learn if you look and ask, a great place to learn for those who want to learn.

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

Blended

whirlwind of growth and change

An amazing 2 years, with covid and everything else happening Duke has been a place of growth for me. The courses , classes were one of a kind, online and on campus. But the valuable lessons learned in the classes are irreplicable. The students are amazing here, so much diversity , I had no problem fitting in. The teachers are down right brilliant and so helpful. Don't be afraid to ask them anything. Graduated with my MBA with Duke and now my future awaits.

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

On Campus

One of the best for Business students

Graduated with an MBA. The classes were very insightful and engaging. The staff are very easy to deal with. The teachers and students, are truly amazing people. Grateful to all the people I've met along the way at Duke. I've learnt a great deal that will help me in my future endeavors. The campus itself is a marvel, it is beautiful.

Student

Verified

16/06/2022

On Campus

The university campus is awesome

I graduated with a masters degree in Religious Studies from Duke University. One thing I really liked about the university is its huge campus. It is spread in a large area with a lot of greenery and also have the facilities of reading rooms for single person also. My department building was very well taken care of. The library is immensely populated with books for all your needs. The faculty is very nice to students. The classes are equipped with latest technology to cater the needs of students. The University also provides room rentals for international students. They are very well maintained and priority is given to the International students for a comfortable stay there. There are weekly events conducted by the University as well as Student clubs for the entertainment of students. Anybody can take part in them and show their talents. I enjoyed my degree and I graduated in 2021 and was very happy that I had graduated from a reputed University.