STEM MBA in USA | Top Programs and Requirements

Home » STEM MBA in USA | Top Programs and Requirements
Stem MBA in USA

STEM MBA in USA is basically a designation that is afforded by the US Government’s Department of Homeland Security. This is given to a select few programs based on the specialty and focus. With the addition of a few or more courses that focus on technical skills, a regular MBA program is converted into a STEM-Certified one.


What is a STEM MBA Program?

Simply put, the STEM MBA program can be classified as a hybrid between the MS and a regular MBA program. Owing to the way these programs are designed, candidates signing up are required to have a strong technical background. Further, the curriculum is designed so it builds on the existing technical knowledge that the candidates possess. At the end of the program, students will be equipped to execute managerial functions while exhibiting the analytical skills expected of MS degree holders.


So, why the sudden interest in such certified mba programs?

Work Visa: Currently, there is a huge amount of stress around graduation time for regular MBA students. When you graduate from a regular MBA program, you are given 12 months to find an employer who will sponsor your stay beyond that period. However, with a STEM MBA in USA, students can take advantage of the fairly lenient rules and work for up to 3 years after graduation, before requiring the H1-B visa. With such a lenient period (36 months) to work with, graduates can try to secure an H1-B visa up to 3 times instead of the one chance (with the regular MBA). This extended period makes it convenient for employers to decide if they like the employee as well.


Better Opportunities: Consider the report published by the Director of Immigration and Trade policy- Jacqueline Varas. According to this report, the US will see a shortage of 1.1 million STEM workers by the year 2024. This presents a wonderful opportunity for such professionals. The US is doing its bit so it stays ahead in the race to attract the best talent from the world over. The relaxed visa formalities are probably their attempt to attract the best candidates.

Further, in a scenario where you are trying to stay ahead of the competition and acquire the best skills, the STEM MBA offers the perfect solution. The world markets are dynamic and therefore, possessing the ability to analyze and strategize can set you apart from your peers. Those with a STEM degree display technical competence, unlike the regular MBA counterparts. Such candidates are able to balance soft skills with technical know-how making them far more attractive to employers.


How is it different from the regular MBA?

According to a report published by McKinsey Global Institute in 2016, most of the companies across the world are lagging behind in multiple dimensions of Data Analytics. While organizations have been placing their bets on Big Data, the transformation to a data-driven company has not been easy for many of them. While some struggle with business processes, the challenge has been hiring the right talent.

The STEM MBA is being considered as the perfect solution to this challenge. While the regular MBA program equips candidates for managerial positions, the STEM program arms them with the knowledge required to analyze critical data while making the right strategic decisions.

Consider the MSTeM (Management Science and Technology Management) program offered by Duke- FUQUA School of Business as an example here. Apart from the regular curriculum, taking an additional 8 courses (data-driven, technical), will result in a STEM-Certified MBA degree. The program offers electives such as Data Analytics for Business, Supply Chain Management, Innovation, and Crypto Ventures. An in-depth study in these areas will equip you with tools, methodologies, and models to make better decisions for your organization.

Consider the MS/MBA (Engineering Sciences) program offered by Harvard Business School.

Background: The cohort generally consists of people with undergraduate degrees in computer sciences, engineering or a related field. With about 2 years of work experience in technology-intensive industries, they sign up for the program with aspirations to lead/launch such firms.

Course: The course delves into subjects related to mechanical/electrical engineering, computational sciences, Applied Math, Physics, and Mechanics. The goal is to provide proficiency in the technical and mathematical fields while addressing application in practical technologies.


Schools Offering STEM certified MBA programs

Here is a list of STEM MBA programs offered by US business schools (with more schools applying for such a designation, the list continues to grow):

  • MBA (All programs) –Simon Business School, University of Rochester
  • MBA in Operations and Technology Management (MBA specialization) – Wisconsin School of Business
  • MBA in Supply Chain Management (MBA specialization) – Wisconsin School of Business
  • MBA/MS in Business Analytics Dual Degree – the University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business
  • MBA – Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Foisie Business School
  • Management Science and Technology Management (MSTeM), Duke University Fuqua School of Business
  • MBA in Business Analytics- UMass
  • MBA, Management Science- Marshall School of Business, University of SC
  • The University of Rochester- All their MBA programs are STEM Certified (the first school to have all their programs STEM certified)
  • 2 Programs- MS/MBA- 1. Engineering Sciences and Business Studies, 2. Biotechnology- Life Sciences Program- Harvard Business School
  • Leaders for Global Operations- Dual Degree program- MIT Sloan
  • MBA- Business Analytics and Information Management, Marketing, Global Supply Chain Management- Krannert School of Management, Purdue University
  • Berkeley Haas- As of November 2019, Berkeley Haas has received a STEM designation in all of its 3 MBA programs.


What will STEM MBA courses in USA cost?

Most schools have STEM-based ‘Masters’ programs, but the STEM MBA programs are fairly new. For instance, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business added a specialization in Management Science and Technology (STEM-Certified) to its full-time MBA program in 2017. However, the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business is the only (and first) school in the US where all the specializations are STEM-certified (in the year 2018).

The good news is that almost all of these STEM-MBA programs feature the same cost as that of a full-time MBA program. Here’s a look at some of the best schools.


SchoolFull-time MBA/STEM MBA FEESPeriod
Duke University-Fuqua96,850/Same24 months
University of SC Marshall School125,000/Same24 months
University of Rochester94,000/Same24 months
HBS110,000/125,00024 months
MIT Sloan148,000/Same24 months
Purdue University- Krannert84,368/Same21 months
  • The fees are an approximate figure merely to give you a broad picture


STEM MBA Prospects

There is no hiding from the fact that ‘DATA’ has become critical for every business- small, medium or large. With more companies waking up to this reality, those with the right skills are definitely going to be in demand. On the one hand you have those with leadership and business skills (MBA), and on the other, you have those who are technically strong (Masters). STEM-MBA graduates fill this gap perfectly well which is why companies such as Mastercard, Financial Service Firms, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and other Fortune 500 are actively hiring them

An example of the kind of impact the STEM MBA is having on recruitment can be seen at Duke University- Fuqua Business School. Russ Morgan is the senior associate dean (full-time programs) at the school. According to him, since the introduction of the STEM-designated track (MSTeM) technology has taken over from consulting as the dominant industry as far as recruiting is concerned. What must also be stated is that three-fourths of this (STEM MBA) class are from the international community.

Mastercard would serve as a great example in understanding how the demand for STEM MBA graduates is steadily on the rise. They hired about 2400 people in the year 2018 and 70% of them came with extensive technical knowledge (read cybersecurity, AI, Blockchain and so on). Sarah Gretczko is the senior vice president (Organization Development and People Insights). She says, when they hire, they are not looking for whizzes but candidates who embrace new-age technology with ease.

With data being considered as the new ‘oil’, it is time to consider a program that helps you ride this new wave!


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