M.B.A. Programs Rush to Add STEM Degrees

Patrick Thomas:

Business schools are racing to add concentrations in science, technology, engineering and math to their M.B.A. programs as they try to broaden their appeal to prospective students overseas who want to work in the U.S.

Several schools, including Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, have unveiled STEM-designated master’s in business degrees in recent months. The University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business recently reclassified its entire M.B.A. program as STEM.

A STEM degree or concentration in a field such as data analytics or management science can be particularly appealing to international students, especially those with visa worries. The designation allows foreign graduates of U.S. universities to apply for a work-authorization program that can extend their stay in the country by two additional years versus a more traditional business degree.

“If I’m an international student, going to a school that will give me the extra years would be a big deal,” said Georgette Phillips, dean of Lehigh University’s College of Business. The school unveiled a 15-credit, STEM-designated business-analytics concentration for its M.B.A. program in December.