The world is facing a digital skills gap. According to the World Economic Forum, there will be at least 133 million new roles that require science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills by 2022. 54% of global employees will require significant re-skilling. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is looking to bridge this gap, introducing a new STEM-designated major in Management Science for its students.
Alongside the school's current MMM program that also carries STEM-designation, the Management Science major gives students the chance to combine a traditional business education with STEM-specific skills.
“We reflected on our students’ need for expertise across different disciplines, such as using tools, analytics, AI for analyzing business and performance challenges,” Kellogg’s senior associate dean of curriculum and teaching, Michael J Mazzeo, says.
Pairing the MBA with STEM electives is giving graduates the best of both worlds when they re-enter the job market, making them ideal candidates to meet the demand for a digitally-minded workforce. They have that strong foundation in core business values, but they also have more to offer––because they have a STEM skill-set, too.
What STEM can add to your MBA
While Kellogg students aren't required to declare a major, they can earn the Management Science major by completing a series of STEM elective courses.
These include courses on Strategy Implementation, Customer Analytics & AI, and Making Business Decisions with Big Data, and are taught by notable professors like former economist Nancy Qian and Kellogg's founding director of the Center for Science of Science and Innovation (CSSI), Dashun Wang.
Arming yourself with both STEM-oriented skills and MBA-oriented skills means you're a more rounded candidate when you apply for future jobs, Michael says.
“Students in the Management Science major will deepen their expertise across disciplines by learning a variety of methods for analyzing business and performance problems. This will prepare them to both manage and direct analysis to improve decisions [in the workplace].”
Pursuing the STEM electives isn't compulsory. The most important thing, Michael emphasizes, is allowing all students the same expanse of choice across programs.
Even if your future career path doesn't need a STEM skill-set, you can still benefit from STEM inclusions just without the formal major alongside your MBA.
Michael emphasizes that having the option to include four STEM electives to secure the Management Science major, without solely specializing in STEM, is beneficial, adding more value to your MBA.
From international to domestic: Working in the US
An MBA with the STEM-designation opens up the job market for domestic students, and gives them the option of securing work in the digital space as demand for those digital skills continues.
For international applicants, having the Management Science major––or choosing to study a STEM-designated MBA––is particularly useful when thinking about career prospects.
If you’re an international MBA student in the US, you can apply to stay and work in the country for one year on a student visa. For many, this isn’t enough time to build up a career or work experience, and sifting through H-1B visa regulations is never easy.
It could end up being a different story if you have a STEM degree. To meet the demand for fresh talent in STEM-related industries, international graduates have benefitted from visa perks.
The Management Science major qualifies as a STEM-designated field of study. By earning this major, international students may qualify for optional practical training extensions to their F-1 visas. If approved, one year in the US can change to three after graduation––so long as you work in STEM-related fields.
Acquiring skills through the STEM major gives you a technological edge. Considering the ever-increasing demand for a digitally-savvy workforce, it's definitely worth considering adding some Big Data, machine-learning or AI components to your MBA. That's where STEM-designated MBAs such as the one Kellogg is offering come in.
“Students will be well-prepared for careers in a wide range of fields, including consulting, technology, finance, and entrepreneurship," Michael concludes.
“Our priority with any curricular innovation at Kellogg is to equip the next generation of business leaders. For those leaders, STEM expertise is a critical skillset that can be applied to business fundamentals across many industries.”