Skip to Content

What Is an MBA-STEM And How Is It Beneficial To You? – Purdue Krannert

Monday, August 5, 2019

The word “STEM” is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. Any program that falls into any of these four areas is categorized as a STEM program. But what makes an MBA program -- something that is traditionally not categorized as a STEM field -- a STEM-designated program? Unlike the traditional format of an MBA program that focuses on sharpening an individual’s business intellect, the MBA-STEM program is a new full-time program that develops both business skills AND technical expertise.

Here are just a few of the major benefits you can receive by obtaining a STEM-designated MBA degree:

1. STEM-OPT Extension for International Students

All international students who received their bachelor’s, master’s, and/or doctoral degrees from universities in the U.S. with an F-1 visa are eligible to apply for OPT, which allows them to work in the U.S. for 12 months. Students who majored in STEM fields from accredited and SEVIS-approved U.S. institutions, however, may be eligible for an extra 24-month OPT extension on top of their regular 12-month authorization. Graduates of STEM designated MBA programs are also eligible to apply for a STEM OPT extension, resulting in a total of a 36-month OPT authorization period. Employers are not required to provide sponsorships to graduates with OPT for the duration of the OPT period, and this gives international graduates a huge advantage over many other international graduate job-seekers in the U.S. job market. To learn more about STEM OPT extension, click here.

2. Increased Marketability

According to Forbes, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of companies adopting big data into their operations in 2018 is an astounding 36%. With technology now playing such a vital role in business, more and more companies covet those who have commanded both the technical and business languages.

MBA-STEM graduates are being trained to bridge the gap between knowing how to make things work and how to make money off of making things work.  They are armed with practical industrial skills a typical business graduate doesn’t have —technical proficiency, analytics, procedural skills and so forth.

Students who come from a STEM background can also cultivate skills that their peers might lack such as business acumen as well as leadership, strategic thinking, communication skills, teamwork, and tech-commercialization – all of which are crucial to successfully land in corporate careers.

3. Expanded Alumni Network

When it comes to job searching, the value of a university’s alumni network cannot be emphasized enough. MBA-STEM programs, especially the ones in high-ranking STEM universities, attract high-caliber engineers and other science-based professionals destined to go on and become leaders in a wide range of industries. This not only dramatically expands the potential of your networking opportunities coming out of business school, but it also opens up an extremely valuable resource when it comes to tech-commercialization and entrepreneurship opportunities.

An MBA program with a smaller class size encourages close-knit relationships with a diverse group of students found within the cohort -- resulting in a meaningful life-long network.

4. High Return on Investment

According to PayScale’s College Salary Report, the STEM + MBA combination generates the second-highest early career salary rankings for graduates. Employers are looking for talents who can render solutions to their business challenges by interpreting a large amount of complex data as well as being able to balance their technical knowledge with soft-skills such as communication and leadership. An MBA-STEM degree offers the perfect intersection between those two demands, making graduates highly valued, therefore potentially highly paid by employers.

To calculate and compare ROI between different MBA programs, check out Purdue’s MBA ROI Calculator.

The high-tech industry will continue its rapid growth, and the demand for the right talent will continue to increase as well. Whether you are a business student who is considering to sharpen your technical side or a STEM student who is looking to cultivate soft-skills, a STEM-focused MBA program will help you satisfy your career needs.

Find more details about our new MBA-STEM program here.